Dudley, 80, to cycle for a cause

By SASHA JOHNS / Community Columnist

On March 16, 80-year-old George Dudley will put feet to pedals and begin a three-month bicycle trip from Key West to Maine to raise money for a cause that is dear to his heart.

For the last year, Dudley has been not only training, but also preparing his route and making plans for lodging and other practical needs he and his wife, Judy, will have along the way.

In the meantime, his large support system and family have been behind scenes, making sure he has the moral and financial support he needs to make this passionate endeavor a reality.

Columbiana native George Dudley will kick off a three-month bicycle trip in March to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. (Contributed)

Dudley’s ride has a purpose that brings his love of physical activity and ministry to a place where the rubber meets the road.

His goal on this ride is to raise $20,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a charity he and his wife have long supported.
Dudley expects he will ride at least 50 miles a day, five days a week, taking the weekends off to rest and explore and share his message of hope and love along the way.

Judy will be his off- and on-road support, transporting him to his start and finish points each day, and setting up their camper at lodging spots they’ve reserved as far as eight months in advance in some cases.

As a kickoff, Dudley’s friends and family have planned a fundraising event to get him off to a good start and increase the $6,000 he has already raised.

Wheels Turning Fest, to support his Cycling for the Son ride, will start at 2 p.m. on March 1.

Supportive friends, the Walsh Family, secured the Black Box Theater at the Shelby County Arts Center in his hometown of Columbiana, and members of the Dudley Family Band, Bruce Andrews and other musical guests will put on a concert and story night to bring awareness to his endeavor.

Everyone is welcome, and guests will have the opportunity to buy T-shirts and make donations to St. Jude at the event, as well as fellowship with Dudley and his wife before they depart for their trip on March 13.

“I’m incredibly proud of him,” his grandson and musician Phil Dudley said. “Not many people have an 80-year-old granddad willing or able to try something like this, much less for such a noble cause. It’s amazing.”

Another friend, key to planning the Wheels Turning Fest, said, “We really want this event to resonate his message and help amplify what he is doing for others.”

Dudley’s support team deeply understands his purpose and wants to share what he is doing as far as it will go.

You can find information on how to support St. Jude through George Dudley’s East Coast ride and about Wheels Turning Fest by visiting his Cycling for the Son Facebook page.

You can also directly donate by googling St. Jude events and searching for George and Judy Dudley.