Milford mother of six participates in Closer to Free Ride

Christine Paine.

Christine Paine.

Contributed photo.

On Sept. 7 the Yale New Haven Smilow Cancer Hospital will be hosting their 9th annual 100-mile Closer to Free Ride and Christine Paine, Milford mom of 6, will be participating for her third time. Like many riders, Christine is riding in memory and in honor of, cancer warriors. Her mission however is unique. Although fundraising for the race is a large part of the commitment Christine has made it her mission to have as many names as she can on her back as strength and inspiration during her ride.

This is her third time participating in the ride and while what she is doing is not extraordinary, her approach is commendable. Christine said, “When I started to fundraise for the race I asked people to send me a name or names of people they love whot have been diagnosed with any form of cancer. I told them I would put their name on my back during my training rides and the day of the race. I wasn’t asking for a donation to do this. The response has been overwhelming and emotional. People I hardly know are sending me names to put on my list. I know I am honoring those who have passed from cancer or who are currently fighting it.”

Six years ago, Christine started doing the race in honor of her friend Megan Albright of Milford. “Megan was a superwoman.” Christine said. “She (Megan) had a visible career as a promotions director for WICC and WEBE108 and then as a successful real estate agent with The Kasey Group. Most importantly Megan was a wonderful wife to her husband Jeff and mother to her three children. Megan was involved in all aspects of her children’s lives to help them succeed. Christine says, “I wanted to do something to honor her battle against breast cancer.” Megan unfortunately passed away in 2016 but her memory lives on. “I think Megan would be happy to know that she helped me to start riding and to keep riding and continue to raise funds for cancer research and most importantly hope.”

“I am absolutely honored to wear these names,” said Christine. “Every time I get a message to include a cherished loved one, I feel I am on that family's journey, albeit in a very small way. My community includes so many who carry very big burdens. Riding is my way to lift the weight a tiny bit.”

Now with more than 100 names on her back during her daily training, Christine is hoping to at least double that before Sept. 7. If you have some you know who has been touched by cancer and would like their name carried with Christine during the ride, email to have it added.