Support Pedal4Life in Macy’s Shop for a Cause Competition

Summer shopping just got sweeter! Macy’s selected Pedal4Life to compete in the Macy’s Shop for a Cause event that will take place July 11th – August 9th. Donate $5 or more to Pedal4Life (via the link below) and receive a free, exclusive Macy’s savings card in the mail. Non-profits who raise the most money will be awarded large cash donations from Macy’s to support their causes. Since we’ll be up against some large, well-known non-profits, we need YOUR help!

When the site goes live at precisely noon EST (11 AM CST) on July 11th, Macy’s will match dollar-for dollar the first non-profit to receive TEN $100 donations.

Please visit the link below to learn more and consider making a donation. Help us hit our goal of 10 $100 donations and please share this with your friends and family – it’s an exciting opportunity to shop and make a difference!    

HeroInMe Participant Spotlight: Joe Czurylo

Joe Czurylo (left) with wife at HeroInMe Ride rest stop. 

Joe Czurylo proudly served as a member of the US Army Reserves from 1982 to 1995. As a recovering alcoholic, Joe has been an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for 16 years, attending meetings and mentoring fellow veterans. Joe, along with many other veterans, participated in the HeroInMe Ride on May 21st, 2017.  This was Joe’s first exposure to Pedal4Life, but not his first exposure to opioid addiction.

“Many veterans are dually addicted to both alcohol and opioids,” he explained. “I see opioid addicts kind of like ‘cousins’ because a lot of treatment centers also use the 12-Step Rehab Program to help them recover.”

Part of Pedal4Life’s mission is to invite veterans, who have already used bicycling to help them succeed in their recovery from SUD (Substance Use Disorder) and overdose, opportunities to mentor and inspire civilians in drug treatment facilities. Pedal4Life’s partnership with veterans appealed to many of the cyclists participating in the HeroInMe Ride, including Bill Jastrow, a local high school teacher: “I was drawn to the event because I like to do whatever I can to support veterans.”  

Joe stated that having a supportive community is key to the recovery process as well as getting active: “[It’s] an important facet to recovery because addiction steals a lot of that which you love to do like travel, music, and fishing…that’s why I like that word ‘recovery,’ – I feel like I am recovering those things in my life.”

To find out more about how you can help other veterans to recover, please visit the Pedal4Life website and consider donating.


[Blog post and photo by Katelyn Smith, Pedal4Life]

HeroInMe Participant Spotlight: Kayla Koller

Kayla Koller (right) posing with family and friends at the HeroInMe Ride rest stop.

In 2008, Kayla Koller’s older sister, Jenna, died from an opioid overdose. She was 22. Kayla, along with family and close friends, chose to cycle 18 miles at Pedal4Life’s HeroInMe Ride on Sunday, May 2, 2017, to honor Jenna’s life.

Riding in remembrance of her sister, Kayla said it was nice to give some support to those struggling with addiction. “It’s important to recognize that [addiction] is a disease. I think there’s a lot of stereotypes around people who do it, but they’re really just normal, everyday people. It’s a choice to try drugs at first, but [addiction] is a disease.” With a wry smile, Kayla added that Jenna’s birthday would’ve been the Tuesday after the HeroInMe Ride, so participating was a special way for her to remember Jenna’s life.

To learn more about what you can do to support people like Kayla and her family, visit Pedal4Life’s website and please consider donating to its mission. Events like the HeroInMe Ride show people like Kayla – left in the aftermath of grief after losing a loved one to opioid overdose – that they’re not alone and people care about them.


[Blog post and photo by Katelyn Smith, Pedal4Life]


HeroInMe Participant Spotlight: Karen & Kevin Fox

Karen and Kevin Fox posing at rest stop # 2 at the HeroInMe Ride. 

Kevin Fox, 20, is fighting to stay sober after battling a five-year heroin addiction. He and his mother, Karen, an avid cyclist and former college athlete, participated in Sunday’s HeroInMe Ride that drew 60 cyclists from many parts of Illinois’ DuPage and Will Counties. The bicycle fundraiser supported and raised awareness for those who are either struggling with addiction, in recovery, or who have died from opioid overdose or other substance use disorders (SUD).  “The hardest part of my recovery,” said Kevin, “is dealing with my emotions and blocking the cravings.”   

Karen is an active member of the recovery community and Kevin has been a patient at the Banyan Treatment Center, in Naperville, which is how she found out about the event.  As a lifelong athlete, she loves riding her bicycle and was excited for the chance to do something fun with her son. Kevin said he also enjoys biking with his mother and that he could see himself getting into it more as part of his recovery process. Banyan sponsored the HeroInMe Ride; its patients are the event’s beneficiaries.

In his opening ceremony remarks, Pedal4Life President, Ira David Levy, explained the numerous benefits of cycling for someone recovering from opioid addiction, such as connecting with a healthy community, releasing natural endorphins from exercise, and accessing transportation to support meetings and job interviews. Karen said she feels physical and emotional freedom when biking. “It’s my therapy….Biking allows me to get away from it all and gives me time to pray.” She then broke down in tears. “I’m crying from the pain of it all.”

Dealing with an opioid addiction is extremely difficult, affecting both the individuals with the disease and their families. The longest Kevin has stayed sober during the past five years is five months. After surviving a recent overdose, he’s remained sober for one month. He said that he’d just lost his 16th friend to an opioid overdose a few days prior to the HeroInMe Ride.

To learn more about what you can do to support people like Kevin and Karen, visit Pedal4Life’s website and please consider donating. Kevin, like millions of others, are working tirelessly to stay sober and events like the HeroInMe Ride show them that they’re not alone on their road to recovery.

[Blog post and photo by Katelyn Smith, Pedal4Life] 


HeroInMe Ride Hits Home with DuPage and Will County Residents

Pedal4Life President, Ira David Levy, addresses riders during the opening ceremony of the HeroInMe Ride, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Naperville, Ill.

Pedal4Life hosted its first large-scale fundraising event, HeroInMe Ride, Sunday, May 21st in Naperville, Ill. Bicyclists pedaled well-marked 18, 32 or 48-mile routes to support and raise awareness for those who are either struggling with addiction, in recovery, or who have died from opioid overdose or other substance use disorders (SUD). Local teacher and participant Margaret Stokes said, “I had a student die of an overdose. It was years ago, but it kind of stays with you.”

Officer Vince Clark of the Naperville Police Department was one of two policemen providing an escort to the cohort of 60 bikers. He said, “Naperville is an area with money, and [opioid use] is still a huge problem. It has no borders – it affects us, too.”

The HeroInMe Ride is just one of several events that Pedal4Life will host this year in an effort to fund its Pathway2Home program that will offer recovering addicts in treatment centers access to free bicycles, helmets, knowledge about the benefits of biking, and an opportunity to join a community of other riders.

Suzette Papadakis, Executive Clinical Director at Banyan Treatment Center, said, “Learning a healthy hobby helps reduce anxiety, increases [patients’] health, as well as provides reliable transportation for them.” She added that raising awareness is always important, and that Banyon Treatment Center – the beneficiary of the HeroInMe Ride – is especially excited about Pedal4Life bringing its program to their patients and having them directly benefit from it. “Recovery doesn’t suck,” she added, “it can be wonderful. A lot of our patients love to exercise and bike, but don’t have the ability to do that anymore because of the lack of funds or whatever the situation may be.”

The HeroInMe Ride was generously sponsored by several local establishments, including Performance Bicycle, Banyan Treatment Center, Penske, TGI Friday’s, Massage Envy, First Student, Chicago Marriott Naperville, The Home Depot, Catalano, Caboor & Co. and Schiele Printers Group. “This is a good chance to give back to the community and be part of a cool event,” said Justin Marone, store manager of Performance Bicycle: “The community is connecting with it…the opioid addiction issue is a huge issue in our area, especially with teenagers.”

With the help from the HeroInMe Ride and the support of the Naperville Mayor’s office, positive steps are being taken to combat this epidemic. Councilwoman Becky Anderson addressed the riders at Sunday’s event to express how important it is for her office, and everyone, to be doing whatever he or she can to support those with the disease of addiction: “We’ve seen too many deaths in our city and in our county.”

Anderson supports incorporating exercise into the recovery process, explaining, “The confidence [biking] can build in someone and the comradery you can get from the people you’re surrounded with is absolutely brilliant. Those endorphins you’re building in your body while biking, and taking pride [in what you’re doing] can really turn somebody around and help them in recovery.” She also urged all participants and volunteers to “please turn in those unused prescription drugs, no matter what they are, to the local fire department for safe disposal.”

As bikers returned from their routes, they were greeted with the aroma of a healthful lunch donated by TGI Friday’s and the upbeat tunes of the local band, “The Fource.” Overall, the event was a big pedal forward in aiding recovering addicts to reap the bountiful benefits of cycling.

(Blog post and photos and by Katelyn Smith, Pedal4Life)



Our Mission

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We use bicycling to help veterans and civilians recovering from substance abuse addiction to re-enter and remain in their communities as productive, respected, and inspirational members.

We aim to increase access to bicycles and bike infrastructure for those who live in underserved and at-risk communities.