Students rally in Riverhead to support Ride for Life efforts

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Riverhead Student Body president Tim Clement presents Chris Pendergast with a $500 check. Mr. Pendergast thanked the students for their support and said that every contribution is a step in helping to find a cure.

Bishop McGann-Mercy High School in Riverhead served as the starting point Tuesday for the 2012 ALS Ride for Life.

After a blessing by the school’s chaplain, 7th and 8th graders — over 120 students in all — accompanied Chris Pendergast, the organization’s founder, and other Ride for Life team members on the first leg of the ride/march from Mercy to Riverhead High School, where more people joined them.

The group then made its way to Riverhead Town Hall.

Ride for Life, founded in 1998 by Chris Pendergast, is an organization dedicated to creating awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS – a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s Disease), supporting patients with ALS and their families, and raising money toward finding a cure through research.

Mr. Pendergast, a 1966 graduate of Mercy High School, was stricken with this debilitating disease in 1993.

Considered to be a member of the McGann-Mercy family, the school’s 7th and 8th graders have adopted Mr. Pendergast’s struggle and cause as their own.

Throughout the 2011-2012 school year to date, students have raised money for the organization.

The “Mercy Spirit” that pervades the halls of McGann-Mercy embodies not only the willingness of the student to part with their money (via moya at dhead online), but more importantly, the student’s willingness to give of themselves and their time.

In addition to walking with Mr. Pendergast and participating in a kick-off event, students volunteered for his ALS Ride for Life Bike Trek event on May 6.

[email protected]


BARBARBAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Coming down Harrison Avenue approaching Riverhead High.