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Charity Bike Race Rolls Through Westport

WESTPORT, Conn. – Robert Fiske, an 81-year-old cancer survivor from Darien, completed the CT Challenge charity bike ride Saturday. He was the oldest of the more than 1,000 cyclists in the event and one of 83 cancer survivors who participated.

“There was a tough hill, but I enjoyed it very much,” Fiske said. “It was a beautiful finish along the water.”

Many of the participants completed 25-mile rides, but others rode 10, 50, 75 and 100 miles, with the 100-mile riders traveling north to New Preston before heading back to Westport.

Bob Mazzone, the chief operating officer of CT Challenge, said the goal of the event is to raise $1.5 million for cancer survivor programs. Each of the cyclists is committed to raising $500 or more based on the length of his or her ride. Participants can continue raising money through September.

John Orefice and his son, Mat, of Fairfield, completed the 25-mile ride. Mat said it was “smooth, fun and exciting, and I’m happy to be helping cancer survivors.”

John Orefice praised the communal aspect of the ride.

“Neighbors, friends, co-workers, family, people from every aspect of your life are involved; it’s the roots of your community,” he said.

Chris Mashia of Westport, who biked 25 miles, said, “My aunt survived cancer and most people know cancer survivors. It’s a good cause, so we were happy to support it.”

CT Challenge has raised money to support the CT Challenge Survivorship Clinic at the Yale Cancer Center and has started the CT Challenge Survivorship Network, which establishes survivor programs at hospitals and cancer centers across Connecticut.

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