A Farmington Hills business owner will this week join hundreds of other bicyclists in a 300-mile ride that raises funds to grant wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses.
Ron Elkus, co-owner of The Shirt Box, said he got involved with the Wish-a-Mile (WAM) Tour through his brother, Steve, who is celebrating his tenth year of involvement with the event. The brothers ride with Team Alex, named for Alex Graham, who died of cancer in 1999. Alex’s last wish, granted by Make-a-Wish, was to create a public service announcement about sharing a smile with kids who have cancer and anyone who looks different:
Riders travel 110-115 miles a day, and take rest stops about every 20 miles. Elkus admits he doesn’t do spin classes or special training in the winter months, but as soon as the weather warms up, he hops on his bike, taking shorter rides on the days that he works, and longer rides on his days off.
The challenge, Elkus said, is really more psychological than physical.
“The adrenaline, the energy, and these kids motivate you, they so look forward to their ‘wish’ trips,” he said. “I really do think about the kids.”
Elkus, now 56, started on his 50th birthday with the WAM 50, a one-day, 50-mile trek, and worked his way up. There’s also WAM Jr., a half-mile kids ride for ages 5-13 held on July 31.
Increasing his goal each year, Elkus has so far raised more than $6,000. Team Alex is WAM’s top fundraising team, with more than $322,000 collected toward a $360,000 goal. Since 1999, the team has raised more than $3 million.