NEWBURYPORT — A group of four city residents, from a recent retiree to a recent college grad, is ready for the ride of a lifetime.
On May 15, Jeff and Erica Marcus and their mother, Elizabeth Marcus, along with fellow Barton Street resident Pippa Dorfman, will hit the road on a cross-country bicycle ride to raise money and awareness for bipolar disorder, as well as lung and brain cancer, diseases which claimed the lives of their family members.
"Half of my family was taken away by cancer and bipolar disorder," Dorfman, 22, said. "This is a good way to face it and connect with them on some level."
Dorfman and the Marcus siblings, childhood friends and Newburyport High School graduates, will be traveling along with Elizabeth Marcus to Utah where Erica Marcus, 25, now lives, before heading to Anacortes, Wash., where they will start their bicycle journey back home. With an endorsement from Massachusetts General Hospital for a ride they call "Leave Cancer in the Dust," the four will be raising money for research while keeping their family members' memories alive.
"This is an opportunity to heal as a family, Pippa included, and to get over the hard stuff while deciding what we will turn it into for ourselves," Erica Marcus said.
Jeff Marcus added, "We are each personally affected; this is a beautiful tribute to their lives."
Dorfman lost her brother Jeremy to bipolar disorder and father Ron to brain cancer in the last five years. The Marcuses lost their father and husband, Howard Marcus, in 1999 to lung cancer.
The idea started when Jeff Marcus, 22, was inspired by a college professor while attending Emerson College in Boston. The professor had told stories about a trip across the country by bike, and Marcus was immediately taken by the idea. After talking with the rest of his family and Dorfman, they all jumped in.