GENEVA – Boy Scout Troop 37 will ride 750 miles on bikes to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, this summer to support the Paul Ruby Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
About 17 members of the troop and adults will make the ride from July 21 to Aug. 5.
Geneva High School sophomore Jacob Volk presented the project as a possible “High Adventure Trip” for the year. Volk could not be reached for comment.
One of the adult riders, Jacob Chally, 18, a recent Geneva High School graduate, said he suggested the idea to use the trip to benefit the Paul Ruby Foundation.
Ruby, a Geneva resident and general manager of the Herrington Inn and Spa, started the foundation after he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by tremors, slowness of movement, difficulty walking and poor coordination.
“A few years ago, we did this for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and this time, I wanted to raise money for Parkinson’s research,” Chally said. “It’s a local organization and I wanted to raise it to regional and national exposure.”
The troop’s ride to Niagra Falls raised more than $8,000 for Juvenile Diabetes. The goal for the Paul Ruby Foundation is $12,000.
Sponsorships can be made on the Paul Ruby website, www.paulrubyfoundation.org. The foundation raises money for research projects to find a cure for Parkinson’s.
Chally said he got the idea to support the local organization from one of the board members, Kevin Brouilette, through whom he met Ruby.
“He said bike riding is an exercise that helps him, so I still feel like bike riding is a great way to raise money,” Chally said. “I am real inspired by Mr. Ruby.”
The troop will ride from Geneva to Sandusky, Ohio, where they will go across Lake Erie and then through customs, finishing the rest of the trip through Canada. The troop will take a train home, Chally said troop members do not have enough time to bike it as a round trip.
They will camp along the way, as well as stay in some American Legion halls and churches that opened up their facilities to them when they biked for diabetes, Chally said.
The troop members go on training rides of 30 miles three days a week to prepare for the expected 40 to 80 miles a day they will be biking to Niagara Falls, Chally said.
“We train regardless of the heat,” Chally said. “On Thursday when it was 100 degrees, we did a 20-mile ride. We shortened it a little because of the heat, but we have to do the training rides.”
The trip costs $300 per person, which covers camping fees, food and train tickets home. Each person is paying for his own expenses, so all the money donated will go to the foundation, Chally said.
Ruby said he was honored to have his charity be the beneficiary of the troop’s ride.
“These are a great, great bunch of young adults,” Ruby said. “I look forward to getting updates on the ride with video along the way.”
Dawn Vogelsberg, executive director of the foundation, also said it were honored to be the beneficiary of the Scouts’ ride.
“It’s so cool that these young people want to get involved,” said Vogelsberg, who is also a 3rd Ward Alderman in Geneva. “They could be the first generation not to know Parkinson’s in their lifetime, like we never knew what polio was.”