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. To cast your vote, use the social media buttons to share this story, or leave a comment below. If the nonprofit reaches 500 votes, the $5,000 donation they’ve already earned doubles to $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.

Subscribe
Notify of
356 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Michael Cushman
7 days ago

Amazing organization and family I have the privilege to call friends and peers.

Chris Woods
7 days ago

Thank you Safeco & Liberty Mutual for the recognition and for your generosity.

Mac Rosenbaum
6 days ago

vote

Ashley McKenna
6 days ago

Incredible people achieving extraordinary things! Please vote for the New England Parkinson’s Ride!

Linda Morrison
6 days ago

Incredible organization run by the most wonderful people

Mary Higgins-Bucher
6 days ago

Family commitment drove the creation of this event bringing the community together year after year to support this important cause. So proud to call the Woods my family.

Rebecca Sherwood
6 days ago

Such a great family and organization! I really hope they get to their goal of $10,000!

Kerry
6 days ago

Advantage Insurance and the New England Parkinson’s Ride have my vote!

Frank Fermino
6 days ago

I don’t see the icons to click to share but totally will share our story and comment. This is an amazing event with amazing people and energy.
We look forward to the emotions and smiles every year.

Rachel Eames
6 days ago

What a fantastic charity!

Debora Hillier
6 days ago

You guys are amazing! So happy to know you both! 🙂

Laurie
6 days ago

Wow, what a great charity!!

Christopher Fitts
6 days ago

Well done Chris and family! Great work for a great cause!

Meg Foster
6 days ago

Amazing! Great charity!

Kevin Fosman
6 days ago

Great Idea for a great cause!

Laura Strohecker
6 days ago

Amazing work you are doing. Keep it up.

Kathy Flygare.
6 days ago

I rode the first three years for Team Woods. It was a great ride. So amazed by this family.

Diane Gibbins
6 days ago

A wonderful organization and family and I am proud have participated and to see how it has grown into such an incredible event….all starting with a family’s love. Amazing! So glad the Woods family and the NE Parkinson’s Ride are being recognized and have this opportunity to raise even more money for this important cause. Please vote or comment!

Laura Akerley
6 days ago

Amazing non-profit and truly wonderful people!!

Russell S Cannon
6 days ago

Tremendous effort for a incredibly worthy cause. Great work.

Kim Wood
6 days ago

Best wishes for all the great work you are doing.

Katie Bates
6 days ago

Amazing charity that I am proud to support!

Erin
6 days ago

Amazing work!

Daryl Fenton
6 days ago

Thank you to the entire Advantage Insurance team, for their continued efforts to bring awareness and raise funds for Parkinson’s research!

Sam Kirovsky
6 days ago

Keep pedaling!

Sharon Bixby
6 days ago

Have supported the Michael J Fox Foundation as well– a great cause.

Richard Brownell Sr
6 days ago

Good Work!

Christopher Cole
6 days ago

Incredible people achieving extraordinary things! Please vote for the New England Parkinson’s Ride!

Mel Mendoza
6 days ago

Sharing is caring!

Chris Cole
6 days ago

Good luck!

Chris Cole
6 days ago

Great job!

Shelley Toland
6 days ago

Superheroes in action!

Emily Pelletier
6 days ago

What a great cause! Way to go!

Alexander Pratt
6 days ago

I want to add my vote to the others for them

Caleb Haydanek
6 days ago

This is amazing!

Beckie Wasielewski
6 days ago

Fantastic people helping out a great cause. Thank you

Jim Waldron
6 days ago

Great event…great cause. Congratulations!

Leslee
6 days ago

Keep up the great work!

Daniel MacNeil
6 days ago

Awesome cause and keep up the great work!

Kimberley Mondonedo
6 days ago

What a beautiful family story. Sending best wishes and blessings to Chris, Terry, Edna and all who are working so hard for this wonderful project.

James Hillier
6 days ago

Great Job! You have my support!

Cindy Theberge
6 days ago

Thank you Liberty Mutual and Safeco for understanding the heart of our ride!

Tom Lizotte
6 days ago

Advantage Insurance and the New England Parkinson’s Ride have my vote

Rich DiPalma
6 days ago

Great work Chris!

Jeanne Walker
6 days ago

Advantage Insurance is the best! They have my vote.

Guy Daigneault
6 days ago

I have done the century ride three times and volunteered once. Wonderful experiences every time. The NEPR organization from the top, the Woods family and sponsors, to the volunteers at the Ballfield at Old Orchard Beach, the crossing guards and police directing traffic in the towns we ride through, and especially at the rest stops are amazing, encouraging words for the riders no matter how far they are riding. All appreciated. A true bike rider’s family. Thank you and you have my vote

Peter Conover
6 days ago

Great Organization – happy to support!

Mary Licqurish
6 days ago

Truly an inspiring event ! Thank you for all you have done in the fight against this awful disease!

Sean
6 days ago

Love this ride!

Emily V
6 days ago

vote!!!

Make More Happen - How to Vote

  • There are two ways to vote: click the blue social media icons and share the story to your feed and leave a comment at the bottom of their story here. You can do one or all four actions.
  • You can vote on each device too! That’s right: you can vote on your personal computer, tablet and mobile device.
  • For the best voting experience: make sure your browser pop-up blocker is disabled.
  • Your personal information will not be used, shared or sold for marketing purposes.