A Mother Gives Back: Rachael Takes on the 5 Boro Bike Tour

“It's so important to think about how you can help others in a very tangible way. You know, there's a lot going on in this world, but right now this is the way I can help and it's a way I can really give back.”

               ---Rachael, mom of Wyatt


There were many freezing cold nights at the beginning of 2022 that Rachael would return home from the hospital worried that was the last time she'd ever see her youngest son, Wyatt, again.

Wyatt's Kawasaki disease diagnosis came at the age of two and his health needs became and still define a large percentage of her family’s existence, with frequent hospital visits and medical appointments still consuming their day to day.

Facing these challenges head on, Rachael and Wyatt found a true home away from their Staten Island home at the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia, a place that helped them let go and breathe on the darkest days. The House in Philadelphia was as much a good distraction for Wyatt’s mom as it was Wyatt.


Rachael and her Clan

Rachael and her husband are parents to three amazing kids.

Rachael’s eyes naturally light up with joy when she talks about her family. “I have three children.  I have Wyatt, who is my 3-year-old, my Covid baby, Ruby, my 5-year-old, and Walker, the oldest and my 7-year-old.”

When Wyatt’s diagnosis came, it changed the very fabric of the family’s dynamic, yet Rachael and her husband were determined to give all three of their children as natural and normal a childhood as possible. During Wyatt’s initial hospital stay in the middle of the pandemic, Rachael and her husband shared 24-hour shifts bedside with Wyatt in the hospital while the other tended to every other family need.

Luckily, Rachael had incredibly devoted friends and family who immediately arrived upon the couple’s distress call, quickly picking up any slack surrounding the care of Wyatt’s two older siblings as well as cleaning a dirty dish or two when they began to pile up.


A Routine to Retain Sanity: The Caregiver Wellness Factor

From the beginning, the incredible married duo came up with a very specific maintenance routine each would carry out when coming home from the hospital before joining the other family members.     

Rachael remembers those first few weeks in the hospital with Wyatt and the strict routine she held to maintain sanity and stay the functioning mother her two older kids desperately needed.

Rachel recalls her routine and its importance, not only for her sanity, but quite literally to keep the rest of her family from getting sick. 

“…it was shower, workout, sleep and eat and be with my other kids. It was so much of the routine that everyone knew there wasn't a question of what was going to happen when I came home. He (Wyatt) was in the ICU, the pediatric ICU, for two weeks that round. So that was our routine.”


Rachael and the Bike

“Whenever you're dealing with a sick child it's so important that caregivers have something that they can do that lets off steam, that allows you to breathe, that allows you to be away from it for a second. Exercise is my number one outlet.”

 And biking was at the very top of Rachael’s exercise favorites.

Rachael found that her Peloton bike and the community of riders connected became her best bet at calm. She quickly became reliant on her bike to consistently explore any excess anger, frustration, and to get out any tears she needed to cry. She could do it all during a great Peloton ride. 

It is no wonder the transition from a stationary Peloton bike in the family’s basement to exploring all five boroughs of NYC riding in the Five Boro Bike Tour was an easy one for Rachael.


Discovering the 5 Boro Bike Tour

After staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia and participating in a Peloton spin for that hospital and then another spin fundraiser for Memorial Sloan Kettering, Rachael learned about the 5 Boro Bike Tour.

She also heard that Ronald McDonald House New York put together a team of riders each year that would raise money for RMH-NY and ride in the tour on the big day.

Even better, the 5 Boro Bike Tour began and ended close to Rachael’s Staten Island home, and it offered her the chance to give back to the organization that helped her family during their time of need.

Rachael reached out to RMH-NY to reserve a spot on the charity’s team for the 2023 tour.


Training and Preparation

With great determination and resolve, Rachael committed herself to her 5 Boro Bike Tour training, waking up early every morning to ride and conditioning herself to do it in any kind of weather.

As Rachael prepared for the ride, she was overwhelmed by the support of her friends, family, and community. They rallied behind her, offering encouragement and assistance as she continued her training.

For Rachael, the ride was about so much more than cycling to beat her best time or finish the tour in first place; it was a way to show her gratitude to Ronald McDonald House New York and Philadelphia and to support other families facing similar challenges.


Rachael’s First Big Bike Day

Last year, when May 7th, 2023, came, Rachael was ready to tackle all five of New York City’s boroughs. She was riding for children battling pediatric cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and their families at Ronald McDonald House New York.

Most importantly, Rachael was riding for her brave, young Wyatt, and her amazing family. She was up before the sun and ready to ride.


Joined 30,000 at the 2023 5 Boro Bike Tour

Rachael joined thousands of other cyclists biking through the streets of New York City that day. The ride was not without its challenges. It had steep and surprising inclines in Manhattan and long stretches of road like a portion on the Bronx-Queens Expressway (BQE) that tested Rachael's endurance. But she pushed through, propelled by the incredible camaraderie of so many of the riders that she met throughout the ride.

When a rider rides in the Five Boro Bike Tour in support of a particular charity like Ronald McDonald House New York, they get to start at the very front of the pack first thing in the morning. Rachael loved getting that early start and she and her riding companions were able to make good time in their inaugural ride even beating the heavy traffic at the finish line that plagues riders who finish later in the day.


Giving Back

As Rachael crossed the finish line at last year’s Five Boro Bike Tour, she felt a sense of accomplishment and pride. The ride had been physically demanding, but it was nothing compared to the challenges she faced as a mother and a caregiver to Wyatt.

Through her participation, Rachael had found a way to channel her struggles into something positive and healthy, raising awareness and money for families like hers in need of Ronald McDonald House New York’s support.

Looking back on her first bike tour last year, Rachael is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the ride and support Ronald McDonald House New York. She was so grateful and enjoyed the experience so much that she decided to come back for a second year in a row and ride in the 2024 5 Boro Bike Tour this year on May 5th. A choice RMH-NY is very excited and grateful she made.



Gratitude has become a central focus in Rachael’s household these days.

Rachel spoke about the need for gratitude, “I think when you almost lose a child, your perspective changes and you take every day, and you want to live it to its fullest extent.”

Rachael always reminds her three kids to “make every single day a great day on purpose.”

“You know, today's a gift and we never know what the next day will hold. But the best we can do is make the most of today and give back where we can.”

She reminds her family and every member of Wyatt’s Warriors of this fact every day. Wait, Wyatt’s Warriors?


A Mother’s Fight: Wyatt’s Warriors

From Old English origin, the name Wyatt means ‘strong fighter’ or ‘one who fights epic battles’. It also happens to be Rachael’s maiden name. Fitting, right?

So, when Rachael was faced with naming her spin team a name to properly represent her philanthropic efforts for an event with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Wyatt’s Warriors was the only name possible.

Wyatt’s Warriors was originally coined by a close friend who also has a son with a heart condition and has become a huge advocate for Wyatt and the family.

Now, every time Rachael is a part of a charitable spin or biking event, an activity she frequently participates in these days, she proudly calls her team Wyatt’s Warriors.

And when Rachael and those close to her participate in the Five Boro Bike Tour on May 5th this year, they will wear Wyatt’s Warriors in front and Ronald McDonald House New York on the back of their jerseys.


Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease triggers inflammation in small to medium-sized blood vessels, primarily impacting the heart arteries in children. Also known as mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome, it leads to swelling in glands (lymph nodes) and mucous membranes in the mouth, nose, eyes, and throat.

Symptoms include high fever, swollen hands and feet with skin peeling, and red eyes and tongue. Fortunately, early treatment is effective, and most children recover fully without lasting issues.



Happy Mother’s Day to Rachael

Though the focus is on the bike tour, no one can forget that right behind the 5 Boro Bike Tour weekend comes Sunday Mother’s Day. Since Rachael is a mother of three with all her little ones are under the age of seven, RMH-NY decided to give Rachael a nap for Mother’s Day.

Yet, in all seriousness, for a mother of three to work part time and take care of her youngest and his appointment schedule and find the time to ride in a charity bike ride, Rachael is leaning more toward Super Mom these days! So, Happy Mother’s Day, Super Mom!


The Real Strength of One… Community

Each year, thousands of cyclists just like Rachael come together to pedal for a cause, raising awareness and support for organizations like Ronald McDonald House New York. Their efforts make a real difference in the lives of families with children facing life-changing medical challenges, providing them with the support and resources they need to thrive.

Rachael’s story is a powerful reminder of the impact that individuals can have when they come together for a common cause. Through her participation in the Five Boro Bike Tour, Rachael has raised awareness and support for Ronald McDonald House, helping to ensure that families facing medical challenges have access to the care and resources they need.

Rachael’s journey might be far from over, but she is determined to keep pedaling alongside every member of her family, propelling them forward one day at a time.

For Rachael, the ride is a testament to the power of community and the strength of the human spirit. And as she looks to the future clad in her Wyatt’s Warriors gear, she does so with hope and determination, knowing that together we can all make a big difference.


Ronald McDonald House New York Supports More Families in Need

For families like Rachael's, the Ronald McDonald House New York and every Ronald McDonald House across the world is a true light in the darkness during difficult times. Each offers these families a place to stay, allowing them access to a whole host of vital resources, so they can focus on what matters most: their child's health.

By participating in events like the Five Boro Bike Tour, cyclists can help ensure that the Ronald McDonald House New York can continue to provide these essential services to families in need.

You can do your part by making a commitment to ride in next year’s bike tour or by donating now to support the kids and families across all five boroughs of NYC and around the world touched by the House’s work.

And join us on the big day, Sunday, May 5th, 2024 to cheer on all your favorite riders as they cross the finish line in honor of Ronald McDonald House New York families.

Give Hope

Give to Ronald McDonald House New York and directly impact families in need.


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