Cycling from the site of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the twin towers in NYC to the Pentagon in Arlington, VA, The Quell Foundation’s inaugural Ride of Hope raises nearly $225k to fund The Foundation’s first responder mental health preparedness and training program.
“Our nation’s first responders have dedicated their lives to protecting and saving ours,” said Kevin M. Lynch, CEO, and President of The Quell Foundation. “But at what cost? With the sixth-highest rate of suicide, by profession, it is long past the time we provide them with the necessary tools to aid in mitigating the physical and emotional toll that compounded daily trauma takes on their life.”
Traversing six states and nearly 250 miles over a five day period from September 7 – 11, 20 cyclists from across the country, including first responders, suicide attempt survivors, veterans, and mental health care providers carried their message of hope, resiliency, and awareness to firehouses, law enforcement agencies and hospitals down the eastern corridor.
“Some of the most impactful moments of the ride came when team members shared their personal stories of heartbreak and hope with one another along the ride,” said 9/11 Ride of Hope cyclist Bob Gray. “Storytelling and shared experience are two compelling tools in removing the stigma of mental health within the first responder community.”
Gray, Co-Director for the 9/11 Ride of Hope and battalion chief for the Arlington Fire Department during the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, reflected on the personal meaning the event had on him during the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“They say there are only so many events in life that completely change you, your outlook and direction. What happened on that Tuesday in September changed my future forever. However, to know that the Ride of Hope was able to touch so many lives in just a week is a great feeling.”
To view speeches from cyclists along the route, visit The Quell Foundation’s YouTube page.
Along the route, the peloton stopped at various fire and police stations to raise awareness for mental health among first responders. Stops included:
- Rahway Fire Dept., NJ
- North Brunswick Police Dept., NJ
- Trenton Fire & Police Dept, NJ
- Philadelphia Fraternal Order-Police, PA
- Baltimore County Fire Dept., MD
- Baltimore Police Dept., MD
- Anne Arundel County Fire Dept. Station 33, MD
- Earleigh Heights Ranger Station, MD
- Anne Arundel County Fire Dept. Station 23, MD
- Linthicum Volunteer Fire Department, MD
Sponsors for the event include FirstNet®, Built with AT&T, Dell Technologies, K2 View, Morgan Stanley, and MOD.
Special thanks to the 9/11 Ride of Hope rest stop sponsors who hosted the cyclists along the route, including Integrity Health (Princeton NJ), KPMG (Philadelphia, PA), and 4C Health Solutions (Wilmington, DE) Anne and Steve Phelps.
Thank you to the supporting gear, supplies, and route sponsors, including 513 Media, Mars Global, Velofix, East Coast Greenway, Trek Bicycle Madison East, Kit Brix, The Right Stuff, TYR, and the Fireman Rob Foundation.
The Quell Foundation will host its next event, Ride for Peace of Mind on June 6 – 11, 2022 in Tucson, AZ.
Please visit the 9/11 Ride of Hope website for more information, purchase gear, or donate to the event.
About The Quell Foundation, Inc.
North Falmouth, MA – The Quell Foundation strives to reduce the number of suicides, overdoses, and the incarceration of people living with a mental health illness. We work to accomplish this by encouraging people to share their stories, increasing access to mental health services, providing a pipeline of future mental health care professionals, and training first responders to recognize mental health crisis warning signs amongst their own.
Visit https://www.thequellfoundation.org/ to learn more about the Masquerade Ball, the “Lift the Mask – Portraits of Life with Mental Illness” documentary, or for general information about the Foundation. The Quell Foundation, Inc. is a National 501(c)(3) not-for-profit foundation – Tax ID 47-5127883