Sisters MaryBeth Schmidt, 70, and Kathleen Gloecker, 75, both of Pacific, have dedicated the last three months to raising awareness for cancer.
The two sisters are Franklin County natives and have dedicated their careers to the service of others. Both worked for local districts as teachers.
Schmidt retired from the Washington School District 15 years ago and Gloecker from the Meramec School District 10 years ago.
Schmidt explained that the pair decided to take up bike riding for a cause that has hit close to home after an annual and beloved tradition was canceled.
“We were planning on participating in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dogtown but that was canceled because of the (coronavirus),” Schmidt said.
Schmidt and Gloecker’s family is a part of the Dailey Clan and have always participated in the parade, Schmidt explained.
“After it was canceled we decided to do something different,” Schmidt said. “Bike riding is something we both enjoy and raising awareness for cancer is very important to us.”
Schmidt explained that Gloecker’s husband passed away in 2014 after a 10-year battle with multiple myeloma and her close friend is currently battling leukemia.
“We wanted to ride our bikes in honor of them and everyone who is affected by cancer,” Schmidt said.
They originally set a goal of riding 350 miles, which they reached in 35 days and have continued to average 10 miles of riding each day.
“After we completed the 350 miles we decided to continue and set a new goal of 450 miles,” Schmidt said.
The two reached 450 miles in May. Both Schmidt and Gloecker were determined to keep going and on May 15 reached a total of 500 miles biked since St. Patrick’s Day.
The two have been riding their bikes at Route 66 State Park in Eureka and said they plan to continue to ride in honor of those battling cancer and those who have passed away from it.
“We may not be able to continue to ride daily but plan on riding a few days a week,” Schmidt said.
Both Schmidt and Gloecker are planning to make personal donations to the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Safety Net Organization in Pacific, in honor of their loved ones who have battled cancer.
“This is one of the ways we felt we should support them, something we could do to remember them by and honor them,” Schmidt said. “Cancer patients go through so much during their battle and this was the least we could do to honor them.”
Schmidt added that during their time of riding to raise awareness about cancer, the sisters thought of those who have fallen ill and passed away from the coronavirus.
“Our thoughts are with those affected by the coronavirus and their families during this time,” Schmidt said.