American Lung Association Recruiting Volunteers for Cape Cod Bike Trek

Revere Nurse Practitioner Kathy Savage is Trek’s Lead Medical Volunteer

The American Lung Association is preparing for their 29th annual Autumn Escape Bike Trek presented by Sunovion, which takes off from Plymouth on September 27. Three hundred cyclists are expected to make the 160-mile trek ending in Provincetown on Sunday, September 29. Volunteers are needed for several different positions throughout the weekend.

Kathy Savage photoOne of the key volunteers at this year’s Trek will be Kathy Savage, a nurse practitioner from Revere, Massachusetts, who heads up the team of medical volunteers on site to assist cyclists throughout Trek weekend. Savage, who has extensive experience as volunteer medic at charity sporting events, began volunteering at the Trek five years ago after being approached by a friend who works at the Lung Association.  She and her husband, Rick, who is a trained first responder, have been assisting cyclists at the event each year since.

“My favorite part about volunteering at the Trek is interacting with the cyclists,” said Savage.  “I’ve met many cyclists who have lung disease and it’s just inspiring to hear their stories and see them succeed in completing a challenging event like the Autumn Escape Bike Trek (AEBT).  It is an honor to be asked to help out at this event.  As a nurse practitioner I see many patients who suffer from lung disease and I appreciate the opportunity to help and show support for an organization like the Lung Association that does so much good.”

As the lead medical volunteer, Savage is involved in many aspects of the Trek from beginning to end.  She and her husband follow cyclists along the route and handle any medical or support issues that may arise.  Their work might involve helping a cyclist change a flat tire while on the road or treating a case of road rash that a cyclist who has fallen might develop. 

“Our mission is really to support the cyclists however we can and make it as easy as possible for them to enjoy their ride,” says Savage.  “Yes, it involves providing first aid as needed but it also means doing little things like having extra water, Gatorade and snacks on hand in case someone needs them.  I think the cyclists find it comforting to see us on the road.  They know that if they need help, all they have to do is ask.”

To be part of the medical volunteer team, volunteers must be trained as a first responder or higher with current certification. Many team members are either EMTs or registered nurses.  Some team members cycle the route along with event participants while others drive the route or are stationed at rest areas.

Volunteering is a great way to experience the event and help support the Lung Association’s mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Volunteer assignments are varied and can be for the entire three days, Friday to Sunday, or just a few hours. Those interested in volunteering should contact Judy Deane at jdeane@LungNE.org.

During trek weekend, the American Lung Association provides participants and volunteers overnight accommodations in cabins at two summer camps, Camp Burgess in Sandwich on Friday and at Cape Cod Sea Camps in Brewster on Saturday. Breakfast and dinners are provided free of charge to all registered trekkers and volunteers.

In the past 20 years, AEBT participants have raised over $2 million dollars in the fight against lung disease. This year the American Lung Association set a goal of raising $300,000 in an effort to provide educational programs, fund lifesaving research and advocate for healthy air and healthy lungs.

For more information about AEBT, call (781) 314-9001 or email aebt@LungNE.org. To register as a trekker, a volunteer, or to make a donation that could save lives visit Biketreknewengland.org.