Hannah, Business Analyst at EF Education First in Boston, is terrified of bike riding. Before this summer, she had dusted off her road bike maybe five times. Yet, when the opportunity came to join EF on a 40-mile ride to benefit pediatric cancer research at Boston Children’s Hospital, she didn’t think twice.
“I knew that I had to be involved,” says Hannah, who joined 40 fellow EFers on a mission to raise critical funds to benefit children and their families. “I immediately signed on to be an EF Hope Rider for the Hub on Wheels citywide bike ride because I believe in what Boston Children’s Hospital does for kids.”
As a new mom, the cause hit particularly close to home. Hannah explains, “After having a baby in 2017, I joined a support group for new moms run by Beverly Hospital. On my first day, the first people I met were Steph and her son, William. Along with the other moms in our group, we spent the summer asking endless new mom questions, going for walks together, and sharing our struggles and successes.”
When William was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare cancer occurring in the liver, Hannah was devastated. As of January, cancer had already spread to the 10-month-old’s lungs. And while the prognosis was daunting, William’s family never lost hope.
“William courageously battled the disease at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute,” says Hannah. “When I found out that the ride would benefit Boston Children’s, I pushed my fears aside. I wanted to do more for Steph and William.”
Leading up to Hub on Wheels, which EF proudly sponsors in partnership with the City of Boston, Hannah and the EF Hope Riders rallied to raise funds through their personal networks and a bake sale at EF’s Boston headquarters. Through these efforts, the riders brought in more than $12,000 for a good cause and formed close bonds with one another.
“Being part of the team has been a great way to meet new people from different EF products,” says Hannah, who donned her EF cycling gear and headed to Boston’s City Hall Plaza early on Sunday, September 16. There, Hannah, fellow EF Hope Riders, and thousands of cyclists from Greater Boston started their journey through the city’s downtown neighborhoods. With every mile, Hannah pedaled through her fears and anxieties, keeping her reasons for riding top of mind.
“Cruising along Storrow Drive when it was closed to traffic was really cool,” Hannah recalls of her favorite moments. Cheered on by colleagues who flooded Boston’s streets with EF pink, Hannah neared the finish line after about four hours on the road. At the end of the route, she was greeted by her husband and 17-month-old son, who made the day’s events feel even more special.
Altogether, Hub on Wheels participants—including the EF Hope Riders—raised over $77,000. Today, thanks to the tremendous staff and resources at Boston Children’s, baby William is in remission. Through increased research, like that supported by Hub on Wheels, Hannah hopes there will be more positive outcomes like this one.
“There are thousands of heroes like William out there who need our help,” she says. “My hope is that one day, no parent will ever have to go through the heartache and uncertainty that William’s family went through.”