Herrick raises $1,650 to support Ride Janie Ride, a local nonprofit

Herrick students recently raised $1,650 to support the Ride Janie Ride Foundation, a local non-profit that annually helps cancer patients pay for critical life-saving cancer treatments. This year, the organization is helping three children from Downers Grove, Woodridge and Plainfield.

“It was really great to see how open Herrick students were to helping others in need,” said organization co-founder and chairman Janie Bawel. “When (Herrick instructional assistant) Emily Honn suggested the fundraiser to the Herrick Student Council, the students were very receptive and positive about the idea.”

The Ride Janie Ride organization has very close ties to Herrick Middle School. Janie Bawel is a Downers Grove resident and Herrick alumna. In 2005, she was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkins lymphona. She required a stem cell transplant to survive.

When her friends, including Emily Honn, learned of her diagnosis, they organized a motorcycle ride fundraiser to help cover the treatment’s cost. That inaugural ride, called “Ride Janie Ride,” took place in May 2007, and more than 500 motorcycles and 700 people participated.

Fortunately, Bawel’s stem cell transplant was successful and she now lives a healthy, cancer-free life! To show her gratitude, Bawel and her husband, Brandon, started the non-profit Ride Janie Ride Foundation. Each year, they host a spring motorcycle ride to raise money for other community members who need financial assistance to assist with cancer treatments. The event has since grown tremendously, and the group has helped 43 families.

“We decided to turn something really, really bad into something really, really good,” Bawel said.

The Ride Janie Ride Organization visited Herrick Middle School on Friday, April 21 to formally accept Herrick’s donation and share words of thanks. The presentation took place during the 5A lunch period. Of the $1,650 raised, students in 5A raised more than $720!

This year’s Ride Janie Ride motorcycle ride will take place Sunday, May 7. The 50-mile course will start at the Harley-Davidson in St. Charles and end in Shorewood. Visit www.ridejanieride.org for more information.