An avid cyclist for more than 20 years, Will Towne rides several times a week in and around the countryside near his home in Kempton, Berks County.
“I am certain this is one of the best places in the country to ride,” he says. “You can find hills if you want them or you can avoid them. This farmland creates a beautiful place to ride.”
Recently retired following a 33-plus year career in the Biology Department at Kutztown University, Will finally has the time for a cross-county journey. Will Towne’s Ride Across America 2019, a 3,695-mile bike ride across the United States from Oregon to New Hampshire, is scheduled for June 23 to Aug. 12. Will and one of his regular riding buddies will be participating in the six-leg, seven-week ride, cycling an average of 80 miles a day.
Will is making the trek in honor of “a compassionate organization” and “an inspiring person.”
Following his mother’s hospice care in 2010 and his father’s service as a hospice volunteer, Will began volunteering for St. Luke’s Hospice in Lower Saucon Township in 2016.
“When my mom was receiving hospice care we appreciated the nurses and aides so much. They were caring, reassuring and uplifting. They inspired me,” he says.
Will visits patients in their homes for an hour or two once a week. Each family’s needs are different, so sometimes he does odds and ends around the house, other times he plays chess with a patient and many times he simply visits with the patient, so a spouse or caregiver can get a break or run an errand.
Will also manages the front desk at the St. Luke’s Brian D. Perin Hospice House once a week. His presence allows the inpatient unit staff and nurses to have an uninterrupted status update meeting between shifts.
Says Juana Van Steenvoort, Volunteer Coordinator for St. Luke’s VNA, “Will is an amazing volunteer! He is always willing to do more to help us, our patients and families, and our program. He truly has a generous heart!”
In addition to St. Luke’s Hospice, Will will be accepting donations to the Joshua W. Wesner Memorial Scholarship.
Josh was an inspiring young man Will taught at Kutztown who passed away in 2000 at the age of 23 after heroic battles with injuries from a car accident, followed by Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The pre-medical scholarship, established in 2000, was created to honor Josh’s dream of becoming a physician and is awarded to a student once a year.
Because Will and his wife Ann are covering the expenses for the bike ride, 100 percent of donations will benefit the recipient organizations.
Donations are being accepted now through the end of the year. To learn more and to donate, visit RideAcrossAmerica2019.com.
Note: This local health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.