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Brother Shamus Finishes Historic 11-State Charity Ride For Dorothy Day

October 10, 2017 Tags: Service

Brother Shamus Charity Ride 2017 collage

The Brother Shamus McGrenra completed his 11-state, 900+-mile charity ride to raise money the Dorothy Day Outreach Center. The 70-year-old Franciscan friar, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon and lung cancer, crossed the "finish line" on the Saint Francis University campus mall Tuesday. Students, faculty and staff gathered to welcome him home, cheering him on as he rode his final lap.

The #GoBroShamus Charity Ride began on September 8th in Bar Harbor, Maine. Brother Shamus rode down the northeastern coast, cycling through 11 states before coming to an end in Jamestown, Virginia after 33 days on the road. 

"What motivated me every day was knowing that I was doing this for the poor. It fits into our Franciscan values of reaching out to those less fortunate, and it's something I care deeply about," said Brother Shamus. "That combined with the beautiful weather translated into a very successful 1-month trip."

Brother Shamus started the annual charity ride in 2011 after witnessing a touching moment between a young mother and a worker at the Dorothy Day Outreach Center.  In seven years, he's cycled thousands of miles and raised over $200,000 for the non-profit organization. 

Despite being diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in 2013 and lung cancer in 2014, Brother got back on his bike in the fall of 2014 to resume his cycling mission for the poor. He cycled 5 states in 5 days while undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy treatments. During his 2015 charity ride, he learned his cancer was in remission.

Brother Shamus recounts the 2017 #GoBroShamus Charity Ride as his most challenging ever. While the terrain of the New England states was physically taxing, he says, the roads along the Delmarva Peninsula were among the most dangerous he'd ever encountered.

"There were parts of the road that had no shoulder, so I was sharing the road with an 18-wheeler that was going 55 miles per hour."

Brother Shamus credits the students of the SFU Masters of Cancer Care program for his physical preparedness. 

"After being diagnosed with cancer, I didn't know if I could come back from that. The [Cancer Care] students worked with me to get me back into shape. I couldn't have cycled 900 miles without them."

Happy to be off the road and home at SFU, Brother doesn't plan on stopping any time soon. He's already mapped out his 2018 ride.

"Next year I'll ride 700 to 800 miles around the coast of Florida. The best part about it is: Goodbye hills of New England and hello flat Florida!"

Donate to the #GoBroShamus Charity Ride