The 30th edition of the annual Wish a Mile bike ride through Michigan raised a record $2.3 million to help grant wishes for children. A total of 46 riders representing “Team Joe’s” from Saint Joseph Mercy Health System joined 1,200 riders and more than 300 volunteers to make this a special and successful weekend!
The WAM 300 started in Traverse City on July 27. From there, cyclists rode about 100 miles each day, crossing the finish line at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). The WAM 50 is a one-day looped ride that joins the 300 route for the last few miles. Both rides travel through a special designated area named the Silent Mile; to honor loved ones lost too soon but never forgotten. Crossing the finish line, riders are greeted by hundreds of cheering fans and families of wish kids.
Follow each stage of the ride –
Riders fuel up for 300 mile WAM (July 27)
Team Joe’s ready to roll at first light (July 28)
Wrapping up stage two of WAM (July 29)
Greg Hodder has a bit of fun with pine cone horns!
Rob Casalou shows a fellow rider how to tag all social media posts with #sjJoinMe
Not surprisingly, the ice cream brake stop was a popular one and a much needed cool down after a long ride.
So thankful for bike mechanics. Patrick fixes Nick Graham’s bike so he can keep on riding.
Throughout the 300-mile trek, riders were escorted by Michigan State Troopers to keep them safe.
A group of Team Joe’s stop for lunch in Stockbridge. The food was prepared and served by our St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea catering staff. The riders raved about it!
Lee Benjamin poses with Wish Kid Lily, who designed next year’s bike jersey for riders who are the highest fundraisers.
Jodi Graham has fun with a Wish Child at Saturday night’s WAMMY event.
Rob was honored for his passion and dedication by his induction into the WAM Hall of Fame as an elite fundraiser.
Rob and his daughter, Julie, who volunteers with the WAM.
David Williams, CEO of Make-a-Wish America, honored the 30th anniversary of Michigan’s WAM by joining Team Joe’s as a rider. David crossed the finish line with the rest of the team.
Every rider dedicated their ride to the honor of a lost friend or loved one. Rob dedicated his ride to the late Bill Fileti, founder of IHA. Here is Bill’s Make-a-Wish Star on the final “silent mile” before the finish line at MIS.
Team Joe’s rode in honor of Wish Child Jaxon. He placed medals around Rob’s neck and every rider of our team.
David Williams (at left), CEO of Make-a-Wish America, Wish Child Jaxon, and SJMHS CEO Rob Casalou.
Jaxon with the entire team from Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.