NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 28, 2014

Biking Grammy raises $3,250 for COA

NEWBURY — The Biking Grammy strikes again!

Hanscom Drive resident Margaret Jerome set a goal at the beginning of last year to cover 2,013 miles on her bike by the end of 2013. But instead, she wound up pedaling 3,531 miles and in the process raised $3,250 for the Newbury Council on Aging — the highest amount she has ever brought in from riding her bike.

“That’s amazing. You are an inspiration to us all,” said Selectman Chuck Bear, when the woman dubbed Newbury’s “Biking Grammy” handed over the check to town leaders on Tuesday night.

Jerome, 81, is working with the COA board of directors to establish an Elder Emergency Fund with the money she raised. The fund would be used to provide short-term services to elders to help them stabilize in crisis situations.

According to the directors, Newbury’s COA has experienced a “dramatic spike” in the need for crisis intervention services over the past several months.

“A property condemned as uninhabitable by the Board of Health, the imminent danger caused by winter storms to the home of an Annapolis Way elder, a flooded basement knocking out a heating unit and compromising an electrical system on Plum Island, an abusive son who had moved into his parent’s home” to enable the elder’s ability to “age in place” — are some examples listed in a memo in the meeting packet for Tuesday night’s selectmen’s meeting.

An emergency fund that is immediately accessible to the COA director will help “pay for the overnight motel room, the electrician’s late-night house call or a home care worker.”

Jerome began her biking fundraisers in 2000 as a way to honor the care her husband received from nurses at the oncology department at Anna Jaques Hospital. In the past 14 years she has covered 29,300 miles and gone through several bikes, a hip replacement and two knee surgeries in the process.

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