By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Region – Mohan John is discovering healthy lessons as a seventh-grader at Melican Middle School in Northborough. His favorite class is math, with science ranking a close second. He recently learned the facts and figures of cancer when a survivor visited his science class.
“The experience he had to go through was not very good,” Mohan said of the cancer survivor. “He went through all kinds of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Hearing him motivated me a lot.”
Mohan shared the lesson about cancer with his father, Aju. Around that time, his dad had just heard of Bicycles Battling Cancer to benefit the American Cancer Society (ACS).
“I was looking for a local bicycle ride for us,” Aju said.
They mutually agreed to ride in the fifth annual Bicycles Battling Cancer, to be held Sunday, June 9, beginning and ending at Hillside School in Marlborough. Mohan and Aju will ride the 33-mile loop. Other options are a 70- and 100-mile loop.
The dad and son are both experienced bicyclists and fundraisers. From 2009 through 2012, they rode together in the North Shore Tour de Cure, which benefits the American Diabetes Association. They'se looking forward to riding in their fifth fundraiser, this time much closer to home.
“I like the bonding experience,” Aju said. “I taught Mohan how to ride a bicycle with a lot of people, which requires much more discipline. It's also a way for us to find out about new places and meet new people. And, of course, we'se helping out the cause.”
It's a win-win situation for Mohan.
“It's actually a fun thing to do to raise money because I love biking a lot and it's good exercise,” Mohan said. “Also, we'sl bike through central Massachusetts and see lots of good scenery.”
In its first three years, Bicycles Battling Cancer went from Worcester to Boston. Last year, it began and finished in Lancaster. For the first time this year, the ride's hub will be Marlborough, explained Aaron Ladd, the ACS planning and logistics specialist.
“Marlborough is a great location for us and Hillside School has been a great partner,” he said. “It's on a quiet, back country road on Robin Hill, which will make for a nice finish. Changing it to a loop ride has added more of a feel of community with everybody together at the start and the finish.”
The 33-mile loop will go from Marlborough to Southborough, Hopkinton, Westborough, Northborough – where the John family lives – and then back to Marlborough.
The 70-mile loop will travel from Marlborough to Berlin, Lancaster, Lunenburg, Shirley, Pepperell, and then cross the New Hampshire state line to Hollis, then back in Massachusetts to Dunstable, Groton, Ayer, Harvard, Bolton, Hudson and finish in Marlborough. Cyclists doing the 100-mile ride will complete the 70-mile loop and then the 30-mile loop.
Last year, over 200 riders raised more than $175,000.
“The ride has grown every year with more participants,” Ladd said.
Among those participants are some parents riding with their children.
“I don's know if we'se had anybody as young as a seventh-grader,” Ladd noted, “but we'se had some high school and college kids do the ride with their parents.”
“Hopefully, we'sl raise a lot of money to find a cure for cancer,” Mohan said.
Online donations toward Mohan's goal can be made at main.acsevents.org/goto/mohan. A form is available for checks sent by mail.
Riders can register the morning of the event at the packet-pickup location. Online registration closes Wednesday, June 5. Fundraising will continue through Sunday, June 30.
For information, visit cancer.org/bicyclesbattlingcancer; email [email protected]; or call ACS at 800-227-2345.