CT Women Will Cycle 160 Miles Next Month in Memory of Friend Lost to Lung Cancer

Rolling for Ralph team Will Ride in Memory of Musician Ralph MacDonald at the Lung Association’s 30th Anniversary Autumn Escape Bike Trek on Cape Cod

(August 28, 2014)

Every fall, hundreds of people from New England and beyond escape to Cape Cod to enjoy the beauty of the Massachusetts coastline while riding their bikes to support the American Lung Association of the Northeast’s mission  to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease .   This year is a special year for the American Lung Association and its hundreds of participants as the Autumn Escape Bike Trek presented by Sunovion, celebrates its 30th anniversary.  The event will be held September 26-28.

For Barbi Hart-Lizak of Monroe, her initiation into the AEBT began in 2011 when she had just purchased the first bike of her adult life and was looking for a way to get back into cycling.  To proceed with that goal, she and her friend, Linda Lauricella (also from Monroe and now a Rolling for Ralph teammate), began searching for charity rides and discovered the AEBT.  The two women signed up as individuals that first year and became hooked on the event. Hart-Lizak explains that what started simply as a way to get back into cycling quickly transformed into a way to help further the mission of the American Lung Association. 

Photo Team Rolling for Ralph
Rolling for Ralph Team members pictured, from left to right, are: Kim Falsetti, Sandy Whalen, Denise Buonocore, Barbi Hart-Lizak, Linda Lauricella and Marina Richeson.

“When Linda and I attended the evening presentation after the lobster dinner that first year, we were so inspired by the stories we heard from other riders  about why they ride , how they’ve been touched by lung disease, and what the work being done by the Lung Association means to them.  At the same time, I had found myself thinking about my friend Ralph MacDonald, who had at the time just been diagnosed with lung cancer, the whole time I was riding that day.  After meeting other teams and hearing people’s stories that evening I knew that I had to form a team the following year to honor Ralph.  He was battling the very disease the American Lung Association was working so hard to fight.”

While Ralph MacDonald was a renowned Grammy Award-winning percussionist and composer, Hart-Lizak knew him as a friend.   For her and other team members who ride in his memory, he is remembered first and foremost as a kind generous man and a fascinating storyteller who had a love for life and for people.  Ralph passed away a few short months after the first AEBT but the Rolling for Ralph team rides heart and soul in honor of his memory to this day.  The team has since grown to eight members.  In addition to Hart-Lizak and Lauricella, the team includes Denise Buonocore, Kim Falsetti, Kim Feroleto, Christine Schopfer, Marina Richeson and Sandy Whalen. All of the women hail from the state of Connecticut, where Ralph lived.  And while not every team member knew Ralph personally, each of them has been personally touched by either lung disease or cancer and all are committed to helping the Lung Association fight all lung disease.  The team hopes to raise $10,000 to support the Lung Association’s mission in 2014.

“We all ride for different reasons and yet we all ride for the same reason,” says Hart-Lizak. “We care and we want to make a difference.”

The 2014 Autumn Escape Bike Trek kicks off at the Hilton Garden Inn in Plymouth on Friday, September 26 and rides along the coast to Provincetown, finishing Sunday afternoon. Trekkers travel 160 miles over three days and experience some of the most breathtaking sights Cape Cod has to offer, and come away with an unmatched sense of pride and camaraderie. Trekkers may also choose a two-day, 105 mile option.


Cyclists are required to raise a minimum of $500; those who raise $1,000 or more become a part of the Winner’s Circle. Members of the Winner’s Circle will receive a one-of-a-kind 2014 Autumn Escape cycling jersey, along with plenty of perks throughout Trek weekend. The 2014 Autumn Escape Bike Trek hopes to raise $300,000 to support the Lung Association’s mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.  For more information on the 2014 Autumn Escape Bike Trek presented by Sunovion or to register, or sign up as a volunteer, visit Biketreknewengland.org. You may also visit the website to learn more about the American Lung Association of the Northeast’s other bike treks in Maine and New Hampshire.  To support Barbi Hart-Lizak and the Rolling for Ralph team visit: http://go.lungne.org/rollingforralph2014