Former patient and his wife will cycle the Northern Tier for Shriners Hospitals for Children
||Jerry and Shirley Smith visit Midian Shriners in Kansas. The Smiths will be cycling the Northern Tier on a tandem bike to raise funds and awareness for Shriners Hospitals for Children.
(St. Louis) Jerry Smith, a Shriner from Newton, Kan., and his wife Shirley are about to embark upon a great adventure – a cross country ride on a tandem bicycle to raise money and awareness for their favorite charity, Shriners Hospitals for Children®.
Jerry, 72, and Shirley (ageless) will tackle what cyclists have dubbed the Northern Tier route through the U.S. Starting May 25, they will cycle from Anacortes, Wash., to coast of Maine.
The mission of Shriners Hospitals for Children is incredibly personal to Jerry, because he is a former patient of the pediatric hospital system.
Jerry was born with a severe case of clubfoot and spent much of his early life at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Greenville, South Carolina.
"I have spent all the time I want to looking outside and watching the world go by," recalls Jerry. "I didn't want to do that as I got older. Without Shriners Hospitals for Children, I would not be walking or cycling."
At age 17 Jerry joined the Navy and was stationed at a military installation in Kansas. That is where he met Shirley, who was raised on a Kansas wheat farm.
Jerry and Shirley are now both retired after fulfilling careers. Shirley taught fifth grade for 28 years in Newton, Kan., and Jerry worked as division manager for a major company out of Wichita.
"We truly enjoy our cycling adventures, and have been blessed with good health to accomplish them," said Jerry. "We enjoy seeing this great country the way it should be seen: from a bicycle seat, and have learned that there is life after retirement!"
Between the two of them they have cycled in two foreign countries and more than 40 states including, Missoula, Mont., to Alaska; San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla.; Mobile, Ala., to Toronto, Canada; the San Juan Islands, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Ireland, Canada, Shenandoah Valley, plus several cross-state rides.
"With these under our belt, so to speak, we want to tackle the Northern Tier this summer," said Jerry. "We would agree with other cyclists who do not feel this is too big a task for 'average' folks to undertake and complete, especially for such a good cause!"
Jerry is a member of Midian Shriners in Wichita and is supporter not only of the hospital in Greenville, where he was treated, but also of the St. Louis hospital, which is closest to his home.
The Smith's trip will take the couple through at least two cities with a Shriners Hospitals for Children: Minneapolis and Erie, Pa.
Follow Jerry & Shirley through their training and on the journey on their journal website and on Facebook.
To help the Smiths on their quest to raise funds for the hospital, find their personal fundraising page at: