Tom’s of Maine Gears Up for the Lung Association’s Trek Across Maine

Team of 12 will participate in three-day Trek this Father’s Day weekend

(May 22, 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.

Among the many teams riding in this year’s trek will be Tom’s Trekkers, representing Tom’s of Maine. The company may be best known for their cruelty free natural personal care products but, at the Trek Across Maine, they’re well known for their generosity, their eye-catching jerseys and their committed team of cyclists who return year-after-year to make a difference in the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.

As to why the team keeps coming back,  Team captain Jack Kindness says it best:   “We all know someone who has lung disease, or has lost their life to it.”  Jack says he’s glad the team of coworkers, former employees and friends has joined together to contribute what they can toward a cure. The Tom’s Trekkers team has been riding in the event for more than 14 years and each year the team strives to add a few new members. Kindness recruited four team members in April and was recognized by the Lung Association as “team recruiter of the week.”

This year the Tom’s of Maine team is 12 trekkers strong and includes several members whose lives have been affected by lung disease in some way.  Kindness lost his father to COPD in 2010, and a dear friend and "adopted" Grampie to his children, died from emphysema in 2009 after surviving lung cancer. “It was very disturbing to see them suffer,” Kindness says.  “We need to continue to seek out a cure to these horrible diseases.”

Another team member, Marc Gervas, recalls watching his grandfather suffer for the last 20 years of his life because he could not breathe as a result of smoking. And Mark and Brooke Villinski, who had volunteered at last year’s Trek, will join their wife and mom, Jacqueline, in riding with the team for the first time.  Mark and Brooke will be riding in memory of their dad and granddad, Paul Villinski, who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer just two weeks before last year’s Trek and died the week after.  Mark said they were moved at last year’s Trek after seeing a 12-year-old trekker complete the ride in memory of her grandmother who died of lung cancer and became inspired to honor their father and grandfather in the same way.  “He was a great father, a great grandfather and a great friend to me,” says Mark Villinski. “We are excited to be able to do this in his honor as a family.”

Jack Kindness says what the team most likes about the Trek is   the camaraderie of being joined with others toward a common mission: funding lung disease research. He says the physical challenge is also huge.  “You always have goals in life,” he explains, “but they seem much stronger when you have a big event to prepare for and the Trek is certainly a big one in Maine.”

Volunteerism and giving back are also part of the Tom’s of Maine company philosophy. The company donates 10 percent of all its profits to “healthy, human and environmental goodness.”  In their mission statement they vow “to address community concerns, in Maine and around the globe, by devoting a portion of our  time, talents, and resources to the environment, human needs, the arts, and education” and “to respect, value, and serve not only our customers but also our coworkers, owners, agents, suppliers, and community; to be concerned about and contribute to their well-being; and to operate with integrity so as to be deserving of their trust."

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 at 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.  “We are grateful to Tom’s of Maine for their support which will help bring us closer to realizing our vision of a world free of lung disease.”   

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 register for the 29th annual Trek Across Maine or to support Tom’s Trekkers with a donation that could help save lives, visit Biketreknewengland.org.  To learn more about the American Lung Association of the Northeast’s other bike treks including Cycle the Seacoast held each May in Portsmouth, NH and the Autumn Escape Bike Trek presented by Sunovion in Cape Cod each September, visit Biketreknewengland.org.

 Tom's Trekkers 3