Nearly seven years ago, a group of friends who shared a passion for in-line skating challenged themselves to try skating from Moorestown to Long Beach Island. They didn’t even make it half way before rain began pouring down, and they realized the trek was a bit more arduous than they’d anticipated.
The next summer, they decided to give it another go, and they thought if they were going to attempt the 52.5-mile journey again, that they were going to do if for a cause. With that, Shore for a Cure was born. This past July, the group successfully raised its most funds to date, having collected $8,200 for The Cancer Research Institute.
Former Moorestown resident Chaz Briggs, who created Shore for a Cure with his friends Tyler Woyshner and Bryan Rudolph, had been a volunteer with Camp No Worries, a summer camp for children with cancer and their siblings, and as he was taking on new responsibilities with work, he couldn’t donate as much time to the organization. So, he thought why not raise money for them instead?
Briggs’ aunt, Vicky Hynes, had encouraged Briggs to volunteer at the camp, and so, when she was diagnosed with cancer, the ride took on a new meaning. They dedicated the skate to her and subsequently raised funds for the LIVESTRONG Foundation.
Their first year they had only five skaters take the ride, but their group has steadily grown each year. On their July 19 run, they had around seven skaters and 16 bikers join them on their journey. Woyshner and Briggs have since moved from Moorestown to the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia, but they still start their yearly trek down the shore from Moorestown.
Woyshner said there’s not one person in the group who hasn’t had cancer impact their families in the years since they’ve started Shore for a Cure.
“Each year it grows, and you have more and more reasons to do it, and more and more reasons to skate,” Woyshner said.
Woyshner said the ride doesn’t necessarily get any easier each year. He said on a good day, it takes the skaters about three and a half hours to make it from Moorestown to his parents’ house in LBI. The cyclists can usually finish a little quicker, making it down in around two and a half to three hours.
Along the way, their friends and family are nothing short of supportive. Their family members drive a convoy alongside them passing them water, gatorade and other supplies for their journey. Since their first year, they’ve stopped at Hot Diggidy Dog in Chatsworth where the owners have always graciously offered them a place to rest and free water and food midway through their journey. Briggs said the restaurant’s owner has even been kind enough to offer them a donation each year.
“It’s just a really humbling experience to see all of your family members support you,” Briggs said. “It’s a really big deal, and we really appreciate everyone who comes out to support us.”
In the weeks leading up to their journey, they typically hold a Chinese Auction at Dooney’s Pub in Delran. They raised around $4,500 last year for the Fox Chase Cancer Center. This year’s fundraiser, “blew that out of water,” Briggs said.
Before they even stepped into their skates, the group had raised $7,500 for The Cancer Research Institute. By journey’s end, they had run their most successful fundraising campaign to date with $8,200 ready to donate to The Cancer Research Institute. While their journey is over, the group is still collecting through Dec. 31 on its website.
Looking ahead, Briggs said their goal is trying to turn Shore for a Cure into a nonprofit organization. He said as their caravan of riders gets larger each year, they may need to shut down roads, and if they were a nonprofit, they’d have an easier time coordinating with the agencies they need to get their route shut down and have their riders escorted safely down the shore.
The group is also currently looking for a benefactor for next year’s donations. Briggs said they’d love to connect with a local charity or help someone with a specific need.
To learn more about Shore for a Cure or to donate, visit www.shoreforacure.com.