Armstrong hosting fundraiserq

ARMSTRONG – An annual event that helps raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will be pedaling through Armstrong this morning.

Armstrong’s annual St. Jude bike-a-thon has been going for at least 25 years. During that time, more than $30,000 has been for the St. Jude facility in Memphis, Tenn., which is recognized internationally for its pioneering research and treatment of children with cancer and other diseases.

Bob Rooney, who has coordinated the event for the past few years, had been an active participant.

“I liked riding my bike,” he said. “And it was for a good cause.”

The event is mostly geared toward children, but is open to any interested.

“Last year, we had about 35 participants,” he said. “This year we could have as many as 60 participate, and it sounds like the weather will cooperate.”

Participants have been raising funds for the morning ride around town.

“It’s a route around the western part of the town; it covers about 12 to 14 blocks,” Rooney said. “They can ride until they’re tired. We’ll have juice and cookies if they need to take a break, and then they can start riding again.”

The ride-a-thon will be from 9-11 a.m. today, with prizes donated by businesses to be awarded to the participants afterward, along with a meal.

The annual goal for the bike-a-thon is $4,000. Last year, the event raised $5,400.

“I don’t have an exact number of what’s been raised in total,” Rooney said. “But I could say it’s easily past $30,000.”

St. Jude relies heavily on donations, as families whose children are treated at the facility never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food.

Donations to the bike-a-thon and St. Jude can be made by contacting Rooney at (712) 209-4530, or Darci Naig at (712) 260-2529.