The increasing cost of healthcare seems to never cease and for families who have no safety net, hospice can serve as a last chance resort for relief.
For the past nine years Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care has tried to help boost its ability to help those in need by sponsoring the Tour de Mayberry bicycle ride through the Mount Airy area.
The 2009 Tour de Mayberry is set for this Saturday, with registration beginning at 7 a.m. and the ride scheduled to kick off at 8 a.m.
The ride is a charity event, not a race, with riders able to choose between a 19, 44 and 100-mile route beginning at the Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care offices located on Technology Lane off Riverside Drive in Mount Airy.
The 19-mile route stays within the Mount Airy city limits and passes by several Mount Airy landmarks, including downtown, the Andy Griffith homeplace and the Andy Griffith playhouse and has just one rest stop.
The 44-mile route is dubbed the Edwards-Franklin house tour and travels a scenic route out of Mount Airy to the Edwards-Franklin House. The house was built in 1799 and was restored by the Surry County Historical Society in 1973. Riders can take a tour of the house and enjoy a sonker (deep dish fruit pie) before returning to Mount Airy by an alternate route.
The full Tour de Mayberry route has two variations which allow riders to choose between a 92-mile ride or a 100-mile ride which includes a climb up Pilot Mountain.
This route takes cyclists through downtown Mount Airy past several establishments referenced on The Andy Griffith Show, after which riders will continue on to Pilot Mountain.
Sheila Jones, who heads the event for Mountain Valley Hospice, said the main goal of the ride is to help raise money and awareness for the services hospice provides in the community.
“The purpose of the Tour De Mayberry is to do something different in the community to raise money to help us offset the cost for patients and families who do not have what we call a reimburser (private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare),” Jones said. “Doing events like this not only raises awareness about our organization and what we do but it helps us offset some of the cost and enables us to buy medicines for a family we wouldn’t normally be able to do that for.”
The Tour De Mayberry is staffed by 35 to 40 volunteers the day of the event, with each participant receiving a T-shirt and a lunch courtesy of Subway following the ride.
Jones said the needs of the families which the Hospice works with should not be underestimated, adding that the proceeds from the ride go to people who are in a sometimes painful and uncertain limbo.
“We have families that by the time they get to us their savings is usually depleted,” Jones said. “They’ve tried all kinds of treatments and they are in that stage of not getting disability and their insurance hasn’t kicked in but they still need to have care, so we are able to provide that care that way.”
Registration for the ride is $35 and includes a tour T-shirt and refreshments including breakfast foods served before the ride.
All riders must return by 4 p.m.
“It’s about the money, it’s about bringing awareness for what we do, it’s about doing something in our community and also promoting are community,” Jones said.
For more information on the Tour de Mayberry visit www.tourdemayberry.net or contact the Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care at 789-2922.