We are deeply saddened to share that a tragic accident took the lives of two cyclists and seriously injured three others during the Make-A-Wish® Michigan 35th Annual Wish-A-Mile® (WAM) Bicycle Tour. While all of our Team Trinity cyclists are safe, the accident has deeply affected everyone involved in the event.
Trinity Health President & CEO has been journaling throughout the ride and shared a final entry.
I expected to be sitting down tonight to write about the awesome a day we had on day two of the WAM – about the great weather, about the challenging 112-mile route and about us still needing to raise more funds for our wish kids. I had planned to show photos along the way and celebrate our team and our wish kids with you.
But this day took a very tragic and sad turn right before noon on a country road just north of Ionia when five WAM riders from the same team were hit by a car. Two of the riders were killed and one rider remains in a medically-induced coma and on life support. The other two riders were discharged from the hospital with minor injuries.
In the 35 years that this event has taken place, we have never had anything like this happen. We have had crashes between cyclists or some minor injuries but never anything like this. I was relieved that none of our Team Trinity riders were involved in the accident but my heart aches for the families of the victims.
When this happened, we were all in disbelief and shock. To now learn the driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated makes it even more painful. I have already imagined many what-ifs but it won’t change anything. Some wonderful people, who have hearts of gold and were riding 300 miles to raise money for wish kids, are gone due to a reckless person who made horrible choices today.
We met with the WAM CEO and staff, spoke with the families and the team captains that have the ear of all the riders. We made a collective decision to cancel the third and last day of WAM (July 31). This is out of respect for the families. Buses and vans will transport all the riders down to the Eaton Proving Grounds in the morning. We will do a tribute ride of a couple miles around the Eaton Proving Grounds track, and then we will all leave quietly and avoid any of the celebratory events that mark the end of the WAM.
This event raised almost $1.8 million through amazing support of friends like you and others who supported our rides. For this, I am so indebted to all of you. And those dollars will so go to wishes waiting right now. I want to thank all of you who supported Team Trinity. It meant the world to us.
At dawn this morning, 23 colleagues and friends of Trinity Health hit the road for the 35th annual Wish-a-Mile bicycle tour through Michigan. Our cyclists are pedaling 300 miles from Traverse City to the Eaton proving grounds over three days to support wishes granted to seriously ill children.
Organized by the Make a Wish Foundation of Michigan, Team Trinity has raised more than $108,091 for this ride so far, the second highest of all teams riding in this year’s edition of the Wish a Mile.
Team Trinity is led by Trinity Health Michigan President and CEO Rob Casalou, who is blogging his experiences on the ride. We are proud to share his entries with you daily:
(Thursday, July 28, 2022)
The last time that we all gathered for the Wish-A-Mile (WAM) Bike tour was three years ago this weekend. Team Trinity has been a fixture in this challenging and amazing 3 day, 300 mile tour that raises funds for Make-A-Wish Michigan. In fact, this is Team Trinity’s 10th year in WAM and I am so grateful for our team members and all the riders who raise funds and put their bikes and their butts on the road!
The last three years has seen change, challenge, sadness, relief, anxiety and disagreement. But one thing that WAM does is bring people together from all walks of life for the sole purpose of granting wishes. And it a purpose that binds us together as we get on the road tomorrow. For me personally, the last three years has also brought change and I am happy to share this WAM with my significant other, Ashley Sandborn. As an active cyclist and Ironman triathlete, she is made for this tour. And I have not been shy in telling her I will gladly draft off her for all 300 miles…lol
This year, we have 23 riders on Team Trinity including myself. They come from all over our health system and also include a few close friends. The 2022 Team Trinity riders are –
Rosalie Tocco-Bradley, PhD, MD Robert Bunnell Jamie Callison Zach Carter Tom Chouinard Kris Colone Dylan England Kathleen England Matt Griffin, MD Jeff Hamilton Patrick Hoban Christian Hoban Greg Hodder Gregg Kopp Michelle Gordon-LaForest Brandon Lorenz Dean Mengel Russ Olmsted Rob Pavlik Dan Pheps Ashley Sandborn Jack Sylvestre
The team showed up at the Eaton Proving Grounds in Marshall, Michigan this morning for check-in. It’s a 300-mile journey to the Proving Grounds in Brooklyn on Sunday so we come here, drop our cars, put our bikes on trucks provided by Meijer, and load onto buses for the drive to Traverse City. It was so great to see everyone and the energy was palpable. While some of us wish we were better trained for this WAM, there was nowhere else any of us wanted to be.
The bus ride up north is usually uneventful but this year had a slight twist. We had a very nice bus driver who was unfortunately directionally challenged. We ended up taking wrong exits and ending up in taking the scenic tour through Michigan. But we did make it safely to the Traverse City East Middle School where we would leave our bikes for the night and is our starting point for tomorrow morning. As we debarked from our buses, we went through the routine of gathering our bikes and setting them up for the night and morning, grabbing our bags and heading to shuttle buses that would take riders to nearby hotels. Several riders, including members of Team Trinity, choose to stay at the school either on air mattresses in the gym or in a tent they can pitch on school grounds.
By the time we arrived and settled in, it was already 7 p.m. so the rest of the evening was spent having a quick dinner and getting organized for the morning. The alarm goes off at 4:45 a.m. in our room (even earlier with some riders) so going to bed early is a must. And that is where I am heading now at 9:00. I will conclude by saying thank you to all from our Trinity Health family that supported our ride through donations. We could not have done this without you. Tomorrow’s weather forecast is awesome with low temps and even a little tailwind. Please pray for the safety of all the riders who will be on the road tomorrow as we head to Ferris State University in Big Rapids. Goodnight.