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Claire's Climb In Greenwich Benefits Fight Against ALS

Claire’s Climb, which benefits MAC Angels Foundation and ALS, will take place Sunday on American Lane in Greenwich.
Claire’s Climb, which benefits MAC Angels Foundation and ALS, will take place Sunday on American Lane in Greenwich. Photo Credit: Contributed

GREENWICH, Conn. – Crowds of cyclists will swarm a half-mile hill on American Lane in Greenwich on Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon, completing grueling hill repeats, for Claire’s Climb, which benefits MAC Angels Foundation and ALS.

The benefit is named after Claire Gormley Collier, who died on May 4, 2009, from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, when she was just 46. Back when the hill was part of the Westchester Triathalon cycling route, Collier would sit in her wheelchair, along with PALS Jon Blais, at the top of the hill to cheer participants and support each other.

Just five months after his diagnosis in 2005, Blais became the only person with ALS to complete an Ironman race. Collier’s motto was "don’t give up," and Blais’ was "so others may live." After their son’s passing in 2007, Blais’ parents, Bob and Maryann, kept Collier company at the top of the hill. And now, the couple continues the annual ritual.

“There’s a lot of heart, a lot of inspiration, a lot of people doing this for a lot of good reasons,” said Bob of the event.

There is no fee to participate. For each hill repeat completed, the sponsoring Blazeman Foundation, as well as Collier’s mother, Mary Gormley, and sister, Anne Daly, will contribute to MAC Angels Foundation to support PALS and their families. Gift certificates will also be made possible by Greenwich Bicycles: $10 for 10 hills, $25 for 20 hills, $50 for 30 hills and $100 for 40 hills.

Shop owner Rob Koshar’s mother, Harriet, also died from ALS. The certificates carry special meaning and keep the memory of PALS front and center: Koshar’s picture will be on the 10-hill certificate; Roger Petrone, a Greenwich Police Department sergeant who died in 2014 after a 6-year battle with ALS, will be on the 20-hill certificate; Blais will be on the 30-hill certificate; and Collier will be on the 40-hill certificate.

For more information on the climb, which takes place at Greenwich American Corporate Park, contact info@macangels.org .

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