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AthletiCo Manager to Cycle from Ground Zero to Pentagon in 9/11 Challenge

Lynn Bigelow, who runs Athletico Physical Therapy in New Lenox, will help raise money for wounded veterans during the eight-day, 530-mile bike ride.

In remembrance of 9/11’s tenth anniversary, New Lenox manager Lynn Bigelow is combining two of her passions: fitness and supporting the U.S. Armed Forces.

Bigelow is one of 350 cyclists participating in the 9/11 American Challenge, an eight-day, 530-mile bike ride that raises money for wounded veterans. The ride starts Sept. 11 at Liberty State Park, nearby the World Trade Center site that was attacked a decade ago, and riders will continue through the United 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Penn., and end at the Pentagon Memorial in Washington, DC.

Bigelow attended West Point Academy from 1988 to 1990, and said she always supports the Armed Forces, donating every year to the United Service Organizations.

“I just have a heart for veterans,” Bigelow said. “This is a way I can see a great part of the country, but more importantly let people know there’s a need for our vets to have our financial support but also our emotional support back home.”

The ride is run through Ride2Recovery, a partnership between the Veterans Administration and the Fitness Challenge Foundation, and their mission is to fund rehabilitation programs for U.S. military veterans who were wounded in action and face mental and physical challenges upon returning home.

It cost $2,998 per rider to participate, representing $1 for every person killed on 9/11. Bigelow said she’s already reached $3,000 through fundraising, but could always use more money to help wounded veterans. To donate, go to ride2recovery.com, select “Donate/Sponsor a Rider” and follow the screen prompts inserting Bigelow’s name, your donation amount and payment method.

Bigelow often competes in triathlon races in her free time, but said she’s been getting familiar with her bike to train for the 9/11 race, by far her most challenging yet. She’s happy to share this hobby with wounded veterans, some of whom will also be able to ride for free using prosthetics and adapted bicycles paid for by race proceeds.

Make sure to check back to New Lenox Patch from Sept. 11-18 to read about Bigelow’s progress. She’ll be sharing photos, stories and updates on Patch throughout the eight-day ride.

This is one of a series of 9-11 portraits assembled by the Patch network for 9/11: The Decade After, a special report for Huffington Post. Find more photos on the Action America Facebook page.

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