Along with many other philanthropic Michiganders, Benton Harbor’s Jim Healy biked the 100 mile-long Mid-Michigan Ride for the Cure to support breast cancer awareness last weekend. Unlike his fellow participants, though, Healy did it while legally blind.
As a lifelong cyclist and supporter of cancer research, Healy had participated in a number of charity bike rides before losing his vision to strokes that affected his optic nerves in 2012. Even though Healy is blind in both eyes, this didn’t stop him from getting back on his bicycle this year to continue his noble fight against breast cancer, which kills an average of 35 women across Susan G. Komen Michigan’s 20-county service area each month. For this ride, Healy wasn’t traveling solo. His nephew, Tim Saari, was stationed in the front seat of the duo’s tandem bicycle, controlling its handlebars and navigation while Healy peddled behind him. The two set out on their ride early in the morning on Saturday, July 16th, and returned back to Brighton High School an impressive 8 hours later, with 100 miles and a truly noble act under their belt.
As a strong supporter of Philanthrophy in my home state of Michigan, and as a person who cares deeply about the importance of medical research and community outreach, I was genuinely moved by the story of Healy and Saari’s selfless deed. Working around his physical limitations, Healy’s resolve to promote cancer awareness and research in honor of a number of his family members who have fought this terrible disease makes him one of the most inspirational philanthropists I have come across in my lifetime. In an interview with The Livingston Daily, Healy explained that he and Saari “thought it would be a beautiful way to pay tribute to [their family members] and raise funds to help the cause,” and I think we can all agree that he couldn’t be more right.