Volunteers to Travel from Florida to Support Family as they Trek Across Maine with American Lung Association

Three-day Trek takes place this Father’s Day weekend

(June 10, 2013)

On Father’s Day weekend, the American Lung Association of the Northeast will celebrate the 29th annual Trek Across Maine, with more than 2,000 cyclists taking off from Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry and finishing up at Steamboat Landing Park in Belfast. The event is the largest fundraiser for the nonprofit organization nationwide, raising $1.8 million in 2012, with a goal of raising $2 million in 2013.

Cathleen and David Ritter will make the trek all the way from Daytona Beach, Florida, to be a part of the weekend. Cathie, originally from Windham, is volunteering in honor or her father, Hamilton Grant of South Portland - known to many as “Ham” - who passed away from congestive heart failure in December. Grant had a passion for helping others. He spent 18 years as the assistant superintendent at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham where he developed programs for prisoners designed to help them in the rehabilitation process. He hoped that each person that passed through there was given a real opportunity to change their lives for the better.

Ritter remembers her father as an active man, encouraging others to live their lives the way he did. Ham loved to ski, swim and cycle and had a great passion for the outdoors. “My Dad passed away around Christmas time last year. Being physically active was important to him,” said Ritter. “We thought what better way than the Trek to honor him as a family.”

The Grants
Hamilton and Nancy Grant, 2012

Cathie and her husband will spend the whole weekend in Maine, cheering on the team that calls themselves “Green Megs and Ham.” On Saturday, the Ritters will be serving food to the trekkers as they cross the finish line on Day Two. On the team’s fundraising page, they explain their unique team name. “The GREEN stands for the money that we are going to raise to help support the American Lung Association. MEGS is representing our team captain, Megan, whose 17th birthday is on the first day of the race! Most importantly, HAM represents a very special Dad and Uncle in the family who loved to bike and be active!”

Green Megs and Ham, a team of seven, consists of Cathie’s two sisters Kristen and Marcia, her cousin Karen Zabenko and her two children, Megan and Nick. Cathie’s mother, Nancy, will also be present on Trek weekend to show her support for the cycling team. The Trek has an added special meaning to the Grant family; Nancy and Ham, who were married for 54 years, met while skiing at Sunday River.

The Ritters hope to join the team on their 180-mile journey next year for the Trek Across Maine’s 30th anniversary. “This year, we just wanted to feel like we were a part of it,” explains Cathie. To make a donation to “Green Megs and Ham,” visit their team fundraising page.

More than 34 million Americans are living with lung disease, the third leading cause of death in the United States. The American Lung Association is not only committed to their mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, but  to reducing the burden of lung disease on all who are affected. “Every dollar raised by the Trek Across Maine helps us prevent lung disease and support people who are living with lung disease,” said American Lung Association of the Northeast President & CEO Jeff Seyler.  “Our vision is a world free of lung disease and the funds we raise bring us closer to realizing that vision.” 

On Friday, June 14, more than 2,000 will leave from Sunday River Ski Resort and make the 180-mile Trek to Belfast. Cyclists from all different walks of life come from all over the country to be a part of Trek weekend. Participants must raise a minimum of $500 to take part in the Trek Across Maine. All proceeds benefit the American Lung Association of the Northeast and help fund valuable research, education and advocacy.

To learn more about the Trek Across Maine and to register for the 30th Anniversary Ride coming up on Father Day’s weekend in 2014, visit TrekMaine30.org. More about the Lung Association’s other bike treks in Cape Cod and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is available at Biketreknewengland.org.