On September 1, 2019, 72-year-old Brother Shamus McGrenra, a stage 4 colon cancer survivor and Franciscan friar, will take on his 9th Annual #GoBroShamus Charity Bike Ride. All money raised will support the Dorothy Day Outreach Center at Saint Francis University which serves local residents struggling with rural poverty.
The bicycling journey will begin at Point State Park in Pittsburgh. From there, Brother will cycle 700+ miles through Pennsylvania, Cumberland, MD, Washington, D.C., Lewes, DE, Cape May, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA. Br. Shamus will conclude his journey at The Catholic Worker in New York City, co-founded by Dorothy Day.
Brother Shamus has been preparing for this tour by getting ample exercise, ensuring fitness for the long trip. In June, Brother hiked 525 miles of The Camino de Santiago, both a spiritual and physical journey. Since returning to his home Loretto, PA, Brother Shamus opts for the bicycle rather than the car to meet friends for lunch in addition to riding for pleasure.
During Saint Francis University’s Alumni Weekend, Br. Shamus announced the launch of his 2019 #GoBroShamus fundraiser and began collecting gifts toward the $55,000 goal. “As a volunteer-based charity,” says Br. Shamus, “DDOC relies on donor support to provide food and necessities to members of the local community.”
Br. Shamus is collecting donations online at francis.edu/charityride. “Charity for the poor is as consistent a message as any the Church preaches,” says Br. Shamus, “and the Dorothy Day Outreach Center epitomizes this spirit of helping the less fortunate.”
In the eight years of the Charity Ride, Brother Shamus has cycled over 4,000 miles and raised $326,000 for the Dorothy Day Center. With the support of many, it is Br. Shamus’ hope that this year’s $55,000 goal will be met.
About Brother Shamus McGrenra
Born in Philadelphia in 1947, Brother Shamus was the youngest of six children. At the age of 19, he decided to become a Franciscan friar and join the Saint Francis Friary in Loretto, PA. After working for several years in higher education at various universities, Brother Shamus returned to his roots at Saint Francis where he now lives. In 2011, he launched the Brother Shamus Charity Bike Ride to raise money for the Dorothy Day Outreach Center, raising more than $326,000 to support local families experiencing poverty. During a routine screening in 2013, he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer which later spread to his lungs. Now, in remission, Brother Shamus continues his annual Charity Ride in hopes of spreading awareness of his community’s plight of rural poverty, and proving that there is hope after cancer diagnosis.
Brother Shamus credits his miraculous cancer recovery to the Saint Francis University Master of Cancer Care Program, the first of its kind in the nation. “I wouldn’t have been able to ride one mile without the training and care of the students in the Master of Cancer Care Program at SFU,” he said.
About the Dorothy Day Outreach Center at Saint Francis University
The Dorothy Day Outreach Center, created in 1981, is a volunteer-based agency on the Saint Francis University campus in Loretto, PA that strives to serve the local community while honoring its Franciscan values and by following in the footsteps of its namesake: Dorothy Day.
Through the generosity of the campus community and several local parishes, the center serves local families in need with support, programs, food, clothing and monetary assistance. The DDOC has initiatives geared toward children, the elderly, veterans, the poor, and people with special needs. With the assistance of agencies and volunteers, the DDOC has helped more than 1,500 families in need.