Brother Shamus Charity Ride and Shuffle

at Saint Francis University

  • Charity Ride

    When: Starting July 26, 2015

    Where: Traveling to 5 Dorothy Day Centers (Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City)

    Br. Shamus Shuffle

    When: August 22, 2015

    Where: Ghost Town Trail in Ebensburg, Memorial Pavilion

    Bike riders depart at 9 am, runners depart at 9:15 am, walkers depart at 9:30 am.

    Donation Information

    For information on how to contribute, see the donation information below.

    Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible. Suddenly, you're doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi

    Brother Shamus Charity Ride

    It was during a visit to the Dorothy Day Outreach Center in 2011 when Br. Shamus McGrenra, T.O.R. felt inspired to do something to help the area poor. He had witnessed an intimate moment between a woman and the center’s staff, as the woman came in a stranger, but was treated as if she were an old friend. She shared her story with the staff, and asked for assistance for herself and her two small children, and she was immediately led to the center’s stocked food pantry. As she filled bags with much-needed goods, she began to cry at their generosity.

    It was at that moment Brother Shamus knew he needed to do something that would enable the center to continue to support people in the local community, many of whom are down on their luck and cannot afford basic necessities such has food and heat. He decided to combine his desire to help the poor with his love for bicycling by undertaking a charity ride that would benefit the Dorothy Day Outreach Center.

    That summer, Brother Shamus held his first ride during which he trekked from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C., a 375 mile trip. His goal was to raise $5,000 for the Dorothy Day Outreach Center, but with the overwhelming support from the community he topped that goal, raising $12,000. That donation allowed the center to provide assistance to more than 400 families throughout the year.

    Humbled by the generosity of the community, Brother Shamus decided to hold a second charity ride the following year, this time increasing both his distance and his fundraising goal. This trip took Brother Shamus 425 miles, from Buffalo, NY to Albany, NY, and he again exceeded his goal of $20,000, raising more than $22,000.

    Gaining momentum from the continued support, Brother Shamus raised his fundraising goal to $25,000 in 2013, as he made plans for a “Five States in Five Days” charity ride. However, his plans were suddenly stalled when, during a routine medical screening, Brother Shamus was diagnosed with colon cancer. Although he didn’t want to postpone his yearly bicycle ride, his doctors advised him to begin treatment that included simultaneous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.

    Brother Shamus was devastated that he could not ride for the Dorothy Day Outreach Center, but decided to let the community know about his prognosis to see if they would still be willing to help him meet his goal. Friends, alumni and coworkers stepped in for the always smiling, optimistic Brother, holding the first-ever Brother Shamus Shuffle. The combined effort resulted in nearly $30,000 raised for the center.

    Last summer, while still undergoing chemotherapy treatments, Brother Shamus was determined to not let his cancer slow him down. He, along with his good friends Jerry Laffey and Sister Mary Ann Spanjers, OSF, a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity, completed “Five States in Five Days (the Lord Willing) for the DDC.” The trio rode from Philadelphia to Ocean City, NJ, to Cape May, NJ to Berlin, MD to New Church, VA, and raised over $32, 000.

    In the past four years, Brother Shamus has bicycled more than 800 miles and has raised nearly $100,000 for the Dorothy Day Outreach Center. All of that money was used to help local families throughout four counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, giving them the basic necessities of food, warmth, and clothing.

    2015 Charity Ride: "Returning to Our Roots"

    Shamus Charity Ride Collage

    This summer, Brother Shamus is taking the Dorothy Day Outreach Center back to its beginning, as his charity ride will find him at Dorothy Day-affiliated centers in five different cities along his route. Brother Shamus will also donate $500 to each of the centers, including his final stop – the original Dorothy Day Center located in Lower Manhattan, New York City.

    Brother Shamus will begin his journey at a center in Pittsburgh before pedaling the Great Allegheny Passage 150 miles to Cumberland, MD. He will then take the C&O Canal Towpath 184.5 miles from Cumberland to Washington D.C. Brother Shamus will continue his ride to Baltimore, MD, Philadelphia, PA and New York City, NY. The trip will take approximately two weeks to complete, and will cover nearly 550 miles.

    The goal for Brother Shamus’ 2015 “Returning to Our Roots” charity ride is $35,000, all of which will be donated directly to the Dorothy Day Outreach Center on campus. His ride will officially kick off during Saint Francis’ Alumni Weekend festivities on July 26.

    Make a Donation

    You don’t have to bicycle hundreds of miles to help Brother Shamus and the Dorothy Day Outreach Center!

    You can help Brother Shamus reach his goal by making a gift by mail or online.

    Donations can be sent to:
    Saint Francis University
    Office of Advancement - Brother Shamus Bike Ride
    P.O. Box 600
    Loretto, PA, 15940

    Donate online by filling out a gifts form here. Select “Other Fund Not Listed” under designations, and enter “Brother Shamus Charity Ride”  in description box.

    You may make a donation year round to support this annual event.

    You can also support the Dorothy Day Outreach Center by dropping off food, and new or gently used clothing, furniture and appliances.