It’s not everyday that someone gets to take a bike ride and also raise money for a great cause. On Sunday morning over 300 participants rode their bikes for the 12th annual Hospice Hustle. The Hustle, which is a fundraiser for the Hospice of the Calumet Area, allows bikers and their families to either do a 25, 62, or 100 mile bike ride around rural Lake County. The event gathered the community together to spend a beautiful morning out on the road, and allowed everyone to be able to raise money for the Hospice of the Calumet Area in a fun and healthy way.
“We started the Hospice Hustle initially with a walk, but we wanted to put on something that can involve the whole community in supporting our organization,” Adrianne May, Executive Director of Hospice of the Calumet Area, stated. “We’ve worked with so many families in the area where they’re heart is with us, and we wanted a way to bring them all together with something that everyone can do. We get a lot of families that ride together and ride in the memories of others, and this is a nice way to think about that person while making the Hospice Hustle a tradition while helping out the community.”
The Hustle took it’s riders throughout beautiful Lake County, and even out into Illinois if they took the challenge. Though much of the activity was located at the start of the race, there was one sag stop along the way, which was all due to a dedicated volunteer. Bill Champion, a seasoned biker who has been participating the race for years and created the courses for the rides, set up the sag stop at his in-laws after realizing there wasn’t a great place to take a break during the Hustle.
“With where the house is located it’s the perfect location for a stop and I had been stopping here before to take a break while on the course in years past, and it kind of turned into more, now this is the main hub of activity during the race,” Champion explained. “Everybody loves the sag stop - there’s food, drinks, and a place to sit that’s not a bike seat. This event, though, is so great for the people who have had to use the Hospice’s services. It’s great for everybody’s health, and biking is excellent for getting people out together and enjoy the morning.”
Champion wasn’t the only volunteer that made a huge impact on the ride - forty to fifty volunteers helped out during the morning, a Girl Scout Troop helped to hand out chili after the Hustle, a group from Highland Kiwanis packed up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a group of of students from Munster high school helped round up materials for the day. All of the effort into making the Hustle didn’t slide past the ones taking the morning to ride, and they are equally appreciative of the Hustle and Hospice of the Calumet Area’s services.
A lot of the participants in the Hospice Hustle also have done more for the organization. Many have raised money by being involved in the ride; they make the point to fundraise. The Rothschild family has been involved in the race since the passing of a loved one in 2014, and has since made it a tradition to ride in the Hospice Hustle and to continually raise money for Hospice of the Calumet Area. Greg Rothschild brought along his wife and three sons Sunday morning to partake in their third Hospice Hustle, which he notes as something that’s close to their heart.
“I got involved in the Hustle in 2014, but Hospice of Calumet was there for my dad in 2012 and they were a godsend. Once I knew about this event I got the wife and the kids to get involved with me, and we’ve been making our way to be involved ever since.” Rothschild stated. “We also thought that if we were going to do this right we weren’t only going to do the race, but raise money in any way we can. We’ve collected over $3,000 since then but this race has really been what we’re passionate about. To put an event together like this is so great, everybody’s got a bike and it’s an easy way to support them.”
At the end of the race the bikers made their way back to be welcomed with a band and some great food, but they were surely thinking about next year and how they can continue to make a difference in the name of the Hospice of the Calumet Area.
Hospice of the Calumet Area, a not-for-profit organization has been providing expert, compassionate care to individuals and families in Northwest Indiana and neighboring Illinois communities for 34 years.
For more information regarding Hospice of the Calumet Area, please call 219-922-2732 or visit their website at http://www.hospicecalumet.org.