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Spinning for a cause
Arms Around Bainbridge has been raising money for islanders in need for six years through various fundraisers.
But this year, a group of cyclists decided they could organize another fundraiser with their unique spin and raise even more money for those hit by medical challenges.
"This weekend is our first spinathon at Island Fitness," said Heather Burger, a board member for Arms Around Bainbridge. "It came about because this year we have new group of people who are raising money for us, AAB cycling."
The cycling team grew out of the island's established cycling community, many of whom take part in the annual Arms Around Bainbridge fundraiser that involves biking, running and swimming around the island.
Arms Around Bainbridge uses the money raised to support islanders facing medical hardships.
"We will provide money to help cover health insurance, or transportation to chemo therapy, for medication the insurance company won't pay for, or for grocery bills," Burger said.
"It can be a crushing burden," she said. "If you have a 20 percent copay and you're faced with a $200,000 bill, that's a lot of money that a lot of us don't have laying around."
The spinathon will help raise the money that islanders need in such situations.
"It started with a group of people in the cycling community who saw what we are doing but thought there was no way they would jump in Puget Sound," Burger said.
"They thought this would be a great way to raise money for people in our community who are in financial crisis, and facing medical crisis," she added.
The event will be from 8 a.m. to noon, Sunday, May 19 at Island Fitness. Riders can choose to spin on their own for $50 per hour, or islanders can sponsor a team.
Eleven spinathon teams are sponsoring a person who is either a recipient of Arms Around Bainbridge assistance, or a champion for the cause.
For example, a team from Town & Country Market is riding for their coworker Laura Thompson.
Another team is riding for Shelley Minor, a sixth-grade teacher at Sonoji Sakai Intermediate School.
Burger's team is riding for Paula Murphy, and islander working at YES Magazine who faces Stage II breast cancer.
Each team has a website dedicated to a chosen beneficiary. Each website can be found through www.aabcycling.blogspot.com/p/support-spin-thon-teams.html.
Further information on how to take part in the spinathon or how to sponsor a team is also on the website.
All the money goes straight to Arms Around Bainbridge. Island Fitness is donating the bikes and the space, riders are donating their time and sweat.
Another fundraising effort is happening alongside the spinathon. Arms Around Bainbridge clothing is for sale online.
A selection of cycling jackets, jerseys, yoga pants and more is available at www.jlvelo.com/page.ArmsAroundBainbridge.html.
Half of the proceeds from sales will go to support Arms Around Bainbridge.