This year has been a challenge as the COVID-19 global pandemic shut down states and forced many organizations to think outside the box of their daily operations.
This was especially true for Make-A-Wish Michigan as they had to figure out how to hold some of their biggest fundraising events of the year, including the 33rd Annual Wish-A-Mile bike tour. The three-day event adapted to the times, creating a virtual ride to help ensure social distancing and the safety of the riders, volunteers, wish kids, staff, and partners.
This virtual Wish-A-Mile bike tour allows riders to still participate in the 300-mile, 50-mile, and WAM Jr. events at their own pace. The riders just need to get their miles in before August 16, 2020.
RetroFoam of Michigan decided to partner with Make-A-Wish Michigan in 2016 and has been a part of the Wish-A-Mile bike tour every year since. Customer concierge and project manager Jacob Stacy said this partnership is important to everyone within the company.
“We all just try to be really inspired and go out there to grant as many wishes as possible,” Stacy said.
The first riders to hit the pavement on their bikes were RetroFoam of Michigan owner Mark Massey and his son Aaron Massey. The duo rides the 300-mile tour each year and decided to do the same this year.
Mark flew to Texas where Aaron lives, and they rode their bikes from Corpus Christi to Galveston in three days.
If you’ve ever been to Texas, then you know the heat hits differently down there, especially at the end of June. While it was hot, those temperatures never deterred Mark and Aaron from their mission because they had made a promise to make this ride to the homeowners who donated to the cause.
“We kept reminding each other that these kids are going through so much more and are struggling,” Mark said. “If they can go through that struggle, we can definitely finish this ride.”
The next team members were participating in the ride for the very first time.
Luke and Nathaniel McFatridge are the two youngest sons of RetroFoam of Michigan’s concierge accounting consultant Jenn McFatridge.
These two understand how important Make-A-Wish Michigan is to sick kids, so they wanted to do their part. The brothers participated in the virtual WAM Jr. event and raised more than $350 apiece.
One Team RetroFoam member decided to ditch the wheels and get those miles in a completely different way. RetroFoam of Michigan marketing director, Ryan Litwiller, decided he would run 50 laps around his neighborhood. That comes out to 31-miles in just one day.
Lastly, Stacy and RetroFoam of Michigan general manager, Eric Garcia, took on the 50-mile ride.
It wasn’t easy as the pair were hit with a broken-down bike and torrential rainfall, but they didn’t let that keep them down.
“The whole point is to raise awareness and funds for this organization so they can grant more wishes for kids in Michigan,” Garcia said.
While things were different this year, the members of Team RetroFoam kept their promise to put in the miles and raise money to grant wishes to sick children. This year the team raised more than $18,000 in their efforts thanks to the support of homeowners and sponsors.
If you want to read up on our other Wish-A-Mile ride experiences, check out the articles below.
About Amanda Ringler
Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from The Society of Professional Journalists - Detroit Chapter and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.