After three grueling days of riding into the wind, more than 40 Team Trinity cyclists crossed the finish line of the 2019 Wish-A-Mile® where they were greeted by the young wish heroes.
Colleagues from St. Joe’s, IHA, Probility, Mercy Health and Trinity Health rode 300 miles over three days for children battling life-threatening illnesses. They dedicated their ride to the 7-year-old daughter of Mercy Health colleague Ashlee Senn.
Brynlee Senn has a disease known as “Mito,” when the mitochondria of cells fail to produce energy for organ function. Her younger brother, who passed away at four years old, also had the disease.
“I can’t speak enough about how proud I am to work for this organization,” Ashlee said. “They truly care about us as colleagues and especially for the communities we serve.”
Rob Casalou, president and CEO of Trinity Health Michigan Region, led Team Trinity to raise more than $144,000 – the highest total among large teams. The event raised $2.3 million overall.
An avid cyclist, Casalou first rode the course solo in 2011 when he was the president of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. Over the years, more colleagues joined him on “Team Joe’s” to raise support and awareness for children with serious illnesses.
As CEO of the Michigan Region, Casalou changed the group’s name in hopes more colleagues join Team Trinity for future WAMs.
“Team Trinity is more representative of the health ministries that together comprise Trinity Health Michigan,” he said. “We are all proud to display our Trinity colors in an event that embraces our mission to serve the most vulnerable people of our communities.”
Brynlee greeted the cyclists at the finish line and presented them with medals for completing the ride. The Make a Wish Foundation made Brynlee’s wish come true a few years ago, when they sent her and the family to Disney World to meet Jesse from Toy Story, enjoy the water park and go to McDonald’s.
Ashlee knows firsthand the positive impact Make a Wish has on children. She treasures the memories of her son’s wish trip just a few months before he passed.
“Those memories will never go away,” she said. “It’s one of the few times he got to be a kid without doctors and nurses surrounding him. The pictures, videos… We will treasure everything that encompassed that trip.”
Brynlee is “the spunkiest little girl” looking forward to starting second grade this fall as a mainstreamed student in elementary school. Ashlee said she’s excited to be part of the next Wish a Mile ride benefitting wish heroes. “To know these riders are willing to take on this long-distance ride to ensure other kids like Brynlee have opportunities… is huge for us.”