Pedaling for a Parkinson’s cure

The New England Parkinson’s Ride raises money for medical research to find a cure for Parkinson’s and to support those currently living with the disease. They reached their goal of 500 votes and doubled their donation to reach $10,000. 

The New England Parkinson’s Ride has two primary goals. First, to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which supports researchers around the world in their quest for better treatments, and ultimately, a cure for Parkinson’s Disease. Second, to support the hundreds of people in the agency’s local area living with the disease, and their loved ones, by providing a way to be directly involved in working towards a cure. Open to cyclists of all ages and abilities, the ride has created a sense of community among people affected by the struggles of living with Parkinson’s Disease.  

Pedaling for a Parkinson’s cure 5
Chris (left), Cindy, Michael J. Fox and Edna (right). New England Parkinson's Ride is the nation's largest donor to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

A family affair  

 

Advantage Insurance owners Chris and Terry Woods, along with Chris’s parents, Edna and Bob, founded the ride in 2008 because there was no other cycling event supporting Parkinson’s research in the Northeast. It also had a personal dimension for them as Chris, an avid cyclist, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when he was 41 years old.   

 

Pedaling for a Parkinson’s cure 2

Terry Woods (left) and Chris Woods (center), owners of Advantage Insurance, cross the finish line of the 100-mile New England Parkinson’s Ride along with fellow cyclists. 

 

During the Ride’s first year, they recruited 37 cyclists and raised $27,000. Since then, it has grown into the largest fundraising event in the country for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, raising more than $8 million to date. The ride officially became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2013.  

Pedaling for a Parkinson’s cure 6
Riders honor family members who battled Parkinson's disease on the heroes banner.

A year-round effort 

 

Pulling off this impressive event has become a year-round effort. Led by full-time Executive Director Cindy Woods Theberge, who is Chris’s sister, the nonprofit has a part-time supporting staff, a board of nine dedicated officers and more than 250 volunteers. With Cindy at the helm, the team organizes the more than 1,300 cyclists who annually navigate four routes near Old Orchard Beach, Maine, that range from 10 to 100 miles around. Volunteers also provide support at a dozen rest stops. Along with riding the 100-mile route and personally raising more than $10,000 each year, Chris has also served as Chairman of the Board of the nonprofit since 2018. In addition, the agency staff also helps with a wide variety of tasks in support of the cause. 

 

Pedaling for a Parkinson’s cure 1

Chris Woods celebrates with his mother, and nonprofit co-founder, Edna Woods, after finishing the 100-mile New England Parkinson’s Ride.

 

Wheels of fortune 

 

After raising more than $1.3 million in 2019, the ride was forced to change its approach in 2020 due to the global pandemic. Rather than risk losing momentum by taking the year off, Executive Director Cindy Theberge got creative and formed the “Cycling in Sync” program to keep things rolling. This effort included recruiting cyclists from every U.S. state, plus six other countries, to ride on the same day in different places around the world. The result was more than a thousand cyclists coming together to raise more than $1.1 million for Parkinson’s research.  

 

“This year we had the exciting return of cyclists to an in-person event, while, continuing the new tradition of Cycling In Sync across the nation,” said Theberge. “The 2021 ride has raised nearly $1.3 million so far, with fundraising continuing through the end of the year.”

 

This past year, Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance employees, Michael Cushman and Forrest Oberst, volunteered at the event, helping with watering stations and welcoming the cyclists across the finish line. 

 

 

Pedaling for a Parkinson’s cure 3

An early morning start to a ride in September 2021.

 

 

This year we had the exciting return of cyclists to an in-person event, while continuing the new tradition of Cycling In Sync across the nation. The 2021 ride has raised nearly $1.3 million so far, with fundraising continuing through the end of the year.

– Cindy Woods Theberge, Executive Director, New England Parkinson’s Ride  

Pedaling for a Parkinson’s cure
Advantage Insurance employee Ashley McKenna (right) leans on her mom, Betty Arbia, during a long day of directing traffic at the New England Parkinson’s Ride.

Continuing the cycle of giving 

 

In these challenging times, a $10,000 donation from Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance would help the nonprofit reach their annual fundraising goal to give to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research.  

 

To vote, share this story using the blue icons to the left, comment below or both. Every vote or comment gets the New England Parkinson’s Ride closer to a $10,000 donation. To learn more, visit New England Parkinson’s Ride and Advantage Insurance.

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Bob Pack
6 months ago

Fabulous job! Keep on spinning!!!

Chris
6 months ago

Liberty Mutual and Safeco are the most generous companies, and they are among the best insurance companies as well. Great organizations!

Laura Reed
6 months ago

Close to my heart – thank you.

Michelle Ackroyd
6 months ago

wow!

Dave
7 months ago

God bless!!

Linsey Auclair
7 months ago

Love this cause!

George Rancourt
8 months ago

Thank you Liberty Mutual for you participation in a Parkinson’s Fu

Lisa Guertin
8 months ago

i am so inspired by what the Woods family has done and the difference they are making in peoples’ lives!

Brenda Anderson
8 months ago

My first ever ride!!I was impressed with the organization and just the enormous generosity from volunteers and donors like liberty mutual. I certainly will participate in this again.

Anne O’Gorman
8 months ago

Thank you Safeco and Liberty Mutual! With your help we are making a difference for people battling PD! Thank you to the Woods family as well! You are a warm and welcoming family who wore tirelessly to find a cure! It’s a privilege to ride beside you each year! God bless! Annie O’Gorman

Brianna Bowles
8 months ago

Love this Team!

Curt Johnson
8 months ago

Great organization and family. I look forward to the event every year. Thanks to Liberty Mutual and Safeco for your support.

Jack Hathaway
8 months ago
  1. Great effort and a great cause
Holly Stanieich
8 months ago

Such an amazing, hard working team of people working for a great cause! Always proud to support their cause.

Montoya Kim
8 months ago

Great charity run by awesome people!

Amy Brewer
8 months ago

Great Charity!

Jo e Goldman
8 months ago

Another vote YES

Mary O'Brien
8 months ago

This is a wonderful ride. The staff and volunteers make it easy and safe for the riders. I have enjoyed riding in person and in sync to raise money for this important cause.

Jesse brown
8 months ago

Vote

Erikka Brecheisen
8 months ago

Voting for New England Parkinson’s Ride!

Steve Durkee
8 months ago

Best family ever and an event not to miss!

Todd Sherer
8 months ago

Amazing group! Inspiring.

Dave Madden
8 months ago

Amazing ride I look forward to every year, even if riding in sync.

Allan Downing
8 months ago

LET’S DO THIS!

Jordan Tucker
8 months ago

Great cause, amazing work!

W. Fowler
8 months ago

Keep up the amazing and inspiring work!

Remi Fournier
8 months ago

I’ve had the pleasure of being involved and riding in the event for 3 years now. It is truly one of the highlights of my year and all for a cause which is so dear to so many of us. Thank you to the donors, other fellow riders, volunteers, cheering public, family supporters and friends…. and thank you to Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance for continuing to contribute !

Tina Mrazik
8 months ago

What a great event! So well organized and the team also delivered perfect weather! Thanks for the great post event celebration including music!!

Kathie Latham
8 months ago

Love Terry and Chris. They would give you the world.

Don & Eileen Foley
8 months ago

Thank you Safeco and Liberty Mutual for sponsoring the most incredible organization we know. Woods family is amazing and have done an amazing job of raising enormous amounts of money for Fox Foundation and raising awareness of Parkinson’s Disease. Thank you.

Ronny Woods
8 months ago

Thank you Safeco & Liberty Mutual!

Nancy Marchand
8 months ago

I’ve participated in the NEPR for about 3 years, beginning shortly after my mother-in-law passed away. Cecile put a good fight, living with PD for about 12 years. Thank you Liberty Mutual and Safeco for your generous contributions to the NEPR.

Ward Gleason
8 months ago

Chris and Terry along with everyone at Advantage Insurance. You guys are inspirational for this amazing event!

Brianna Bowles
8 months ago

Love this team!

Marie Theberge
8 months ago

Great job Daughter in law! So proud of what you have accomplished.

Troy
8 months ago

Amazing cause!!

Pat
8 months ago

Awesome organization and great people doing an amazing job!

Ward Gleason Jr
8 months ago

Chris, Terry and family at Advantage Insurance – incredible people and a remarkable event!

Jodie Cole
8 months ago

Jodie Cole

Joanne Cole
8 months ago

❤❤❤The New England Parkinson’s Ride and the whole Woods Family!

Claire Cimino
8 months ago

This is a great cause and Chris. & wife Terry have been doing this for several years.

Kelly Retkevicz
8 months ago

Advantage Insurance and New England Parkinson’s Ride have my vote. Good luck getting to your goal!

Holly Hayden
8 months ago

Congratulations, Chris and family. Best of luck getting to 500!

John DiBartolomeo
8 months ago

Inspirational event for a great cause! Congrats to all!!

Jeff Michaels
8 months ago

Awesome organization, so happy to have our team from BlueRock Therapeutics ride in person this year! Thank you to Safeco and Liberty Mutual for your generous support!

Lydia
8 months ago

Amazing family…amazing event.

Matt Brisk
8 months ago

This is incredible work. A deserving agency going above and beyond to give back!

Joyce Baker
8 months ago

Wonderful company

Jeff Lynch
8 months ago

Advantage Insurance and the Woods family have done such an amazing job with this special event and year round commitment!

Kathryn
8 months ago

Wonderful and uplifting!

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