Pedal power

Turning Leaf Tour is ride to help breast cancer survivors

The Turning Leaf Tour bike ride Robby Wallace and Randy Hatfield are planning for this coming weekend in Townsend won’t help cure breast cancer, but it will help make life more bearable for those who dealing with the disease.

Wallace and Hatfield are organizing the ride as a fundraiser for Casting for a Cure, a nationwide program based in Vermont that organizes fly fishing retreats for women dealing with breast cancer.

The men, avid bicyclists, work at CVS Caremart in Hardin Valley in Knoxville.

“We ride quite a bit and have participated in several charity benefit rides, and we wanted to put one on ourselves,” said Wallace. “We started partnering with Casting for Recovery.”

Lindsay Long, program coordinator with the Casting for Recovery - East Tennessee Program, said Hatfield was touched by cancer. “He lost his mom to breast cancer, and he approached us about the possibility of having a bike ride for this year’s retreat,” she said.

Wallace described the method Casting for a Cure takes. “Rather than just raising money to fight the disease itself, they take women who have had cancer, currently have cancer or are going through recovery and work with them through a retreat, and they take them fly fishing, which is what the retreat is based on,” he said. “The exercise of fly fishing strengthens chest muscles and helps aid in healing.”

Wallace said they hope to simply have a good, safe ride. “If we draw between 60 and 75 riders, that would be great. We just want to have a ride that would be around year-after-year and would achieve some notoriety as a good ride,” he said. “Obviously, the bigger picture is to continue raising funds for casting for recovery.”

Founded in 1996, Casting for Recovery has been offering free fly fishing retreats across the country to help women move forward in their recovery. The organization relies on local volunteers and organizations to support the community-based retreats which provide an avenue for social support and group interactions.

“This is for any woman who has cancer. They just have to be willing to get out of their comfort zone and be treated like a queen,” Long said. “Breast cancer knows no economic boundaries. Every woman can get hit with breast cancer.”

Cost for the Turning Leaf Tour is $60 and registration is on Sunday at the Townsend Visitor’s Center. Participants get a T-shirt and meal by Full Service Barbecue and will be eligible for door prizes. Blount Today is the media sponsor for the event.

Check-in starts at 11 a.m., and the ride begins at 12 p.m. There will be 10-, 30- and 46-mile rides and all routes will run throughout Townsend and Walland. For information call 865-742-4143 or email turningleaftour@gmail.com.

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