, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 10, 2014

Answering a wake-up call

After health scare, Merrimac man will pedal cross-country to raise money for charity, AJH


It made him want to give back to others in need, and to those who gave to him, Harris said.

“It made an impression on me,” he said. “I didn’t make it through to go back to my regular life. I wanted to say thank you to the people who helped me, and I wanted to do something and to reach out to others. I wanted to live every moment to the fullest.”

As he healed, he turned to exercise, including cycling. Last fall, Harris completed a triathlon, and he didn’t stop there. He started making plans for his second “once in a lifetime experience.” After all, 21 years ago, one year before got married, Harris completed his first bicycle trip across the country, during which he raised money for Alzheimer’s research.

Now, he’s doing it again as he spends 7 days a week training for his grueling trip. Through his ride across America, Harris wants to give back, and he is hoping to raise $25,000 for the Rotary Foundation, which serves 170 countries around the world through its service projects, and $2,500 for Anna Jaques Hospital, as a way to express his gratitude for the care he received during his illness.

“Anna Jaques was great through the entire process,” Harris said.

Harris will start his journey in Seattle, where he’ll spend a few days touring the Olympic Peninsula before heading East. In total, he plans to visit 14 states, averaging about 75 to 90 miles each day. His travels will take hm through eastern Washington, Idaho, the Rockies in Montana, where he will stop at Glacier National Park, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois. Along the way, he’ll visit with family and friends, as well as make stops at Rotary clubs and the Rotary headquarters in Chicago.

The cross-country journey offers a chance for solitude and introspection, Harris said.

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