Therapists on Wheels

Come Ride With Us!

Therapists on Wheels is a benefit bike ride to help three important community non-profits involved in healthcare and wellness in the Berkshires: The Brien Center, HospiceCare of the Berkshires and Moments House.  In 2013, I approached Jim Czarnecki of Taking Shape via Indoor/Outdoor Fitness about co-chairing the event.  He agreed and we were on our way!

At the time, gun violence had spiked nationwide with a series of high profile seemingly random shootings often involving young people.  All of the reports grappled with prevention, gun control and how to improve mental health services.  When I thought about our community, The Brien Center came to mind as a non-profit involved in counseling, violence prevention and providing important mental health services that could stop crime.

Moments House was selected because we strongly believe that families need help in coping with cancer.  Everyone, it seems, knows someone with cancer and Moments House provides hope, grounding and important services for patients and those who love them.  HospiceCare of the Berkshires was selected because we believe that individuals have a right to die with dignity in the comfort of their own home, if they choose, with limited interventions and heroics.  It is our life; not the state’s and not the courts.

Beyond this, I believe that non-profits often suffer from a lack of understanding.  What I mean by this, is that government, foundations and other funders, are often willing to fund “sexy” projects — incubators for new ideas — that can be duplicated nationwide.  This is fine, and of course, I understand the drive for this.  Wouldn’t you want to be seen as a pioneer, an innovator in the field if your name was on a given Foundation?

Yet, there are many day-to-day, sort of boring but important expenses that non-profits desperately seek to cover.  They need to pay the bills; keep the lights on; pay staff (creating jobs) and so on.  In short, they are in need of unrestricted funds, which is precisely what Therapists on Wheels offers.  Because we have the solutions; we have the infrastructure; but we don’t always have the resources to make change.

In many ways, massage therapy also seeks to prevent violence.  We calm people down.  We make clients feel good about themselves and others.  We send a loving signal or message to the body and take them out of a defensive mode.  We stop the clenching and stress and fight/flight/freeze mentality.  It may be a far cry to say that massage prevents crime, but think about it.  Anger, stress, aggravation–eventually people reach a breaking point, unless there is some kind of intervention, mental or physical.

Therapists on Wheels is a way for us to acknowledge that the therapeutic community is broad and diverse.  Additionally, we know that all of the ‘helping professions’ can become burn-out jobs, and cycling is a great method to help stave this off.  We have to take care of ourselves in order to have the energy to help others.  It’s a fun day of biking, camaraderie, exercise and coming together for common cause.  We finish the day with a raffle (items donated by local businesses) and healthy lunch.

We invite you to participate next year.  There are so many ways to get involved.  Join the advisory committee to help solicit gifts, find riders and conduct media outreach.  Or, ride in the event yourself!  Registration is $25 and all proceeds are divided among the three non-profit partners.

Best,

Todd Fiorentino, Co-Chair

Pictures from 2013 Ride in August