AUGUSTA, ME | July 20, 2020
The Trek Across Maine and the American Lung Association have announced this year's virtual event raised $550,000 from April 13-June 30. The funds will be used for COVID-19 research and to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through research, education and advocacy. This year, 1,261 cyclists from California to Maine registered for the 36th annual event that was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In going virtual, event registration increased by 13 percent and the American Lung Association used new fundraising ideas including the use of photos and videos on social media that have paved the way for other nonprofits to continue with fundraising during the pandemic.
"For 35 years, the Trek Across Maine has been our biggest fundraiser. When COVID-19 hit, we knew our staff and volunteers would need to shift gears to pull off this virtual event in less than three months. This year's event was a huge success despite unforeseen circumstances. We certainly weren't going to let a lung-related virus stop our event, so we all came together in the spirit of the Trek. Much like our riders, we are eager to start planning ahead for next year," said Jeff Seyler, chief division officer of the American Lung Association.
This year, the virtual event allowed more participants across the U.S. to get involved, including 303 new participants from states that included, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, New Mexico, California and others. Since the event was spread out over multiple months, more people were able to participate including the youngest rider at age 7 and the oldest at age 84. Shawn Sabine of Lexington, Mass. was the top individual fundraiser raising $15,232 and top fundraising team was L.L.Bean raising $36,194.
For the first time in the history of the event, organizers created a Virtual Volunteer Award for the hundreds of volunteers who typically volunteer for the physical three-day event. The award is given to the volunteer who raises the most funds for the event. Rick Smith was named the recipient of the inaugural Virtual Volunteer Award, raising $610. Since 1985, the annual event has raised more than $30 million and is the largest fundraising event in the country for the American Lung Association.
"We missed seeing everyone in person this year to celebrate the spirit of the Trek. In a unique way it challenged us all to push the envelope and get creative. It certainly allowed people who might have considered participating in the past to give it a try. While we saw a lot of social distancing, we also saw a lot of activity on social media. The photos just kept pouring in," said Kim Chamard, senior manager of development for the American Lung Association of Maine.
The annual fundraising ride is typically held on Father's Day weekend along a route from Brunswick to Lewiston, Waterville and Augusta. Registration is already open for the 2021 Trek Across Maine and more than 250 people have registered. To participate, volunteer or donate, visit TrekAcrossMaine.org.
Participants can register now for the 2021 Trek Across Maine at trekacrossmaine.org.
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The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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