An avid cyclist for more than 20 years, Will Towne rides several times a week in and around the countryside near his home in Kempton, Berks County. “I am certain this is one of the best places in the country to ride,” he says. “You can find hills if you want them or you can avoid them. This farmland creates a beautiful place to ride.”
Recently retired following a 33-plus year career in the Biology Department at Kutztown University, Will finally has the time for a cross-county journey. Will Towne’s Ride Across America 2019, a 3,695-mile bike ride across the United States from Oregon to New Hampshire, is scheduled for June 23 to August 12. Will and one of his regular riding buddies will be participating in the six-leg, seven-week ride, cycling an average of 80 miles a day.
Will is making the trek in honor of “a compassionate organization” and “an inspiring person.”
Following his mother’s hospice care in 2010 and his father’s service as a hospice volunteer, Will began volunteering for St. Luke’s Hospice in 2016. “When my mom was receiving hospice care we appreciated the nurses and aides so much. They were caring, reassuring and uplifting – they inspired me,” says Will.
He visits patients in their homes for an hour or two once a week. Each family’s needs are different so sometimes he does odds and ends around the house, other times he plays chess with a patient and many times he simply visits with the patient, so a spouse or caregiver can get a break or run an errand.
Will also manages the front desk at The St. Luke’s Brian D. Perin Hospice House once a week. His presence allows the inpatient unit staff and nurses to have an uninterrupted status update meeting between shifts.
Says Juana Van Steenvoort, Volunteer Coordinator for St. Luke’s VNA, “Will is an amazing volunteer! He is always willing to do more to help us, our patients and families, and our program. He truly has a generous heart!”
In addition to St. Luke’s Hospice, Will will be accepting donations to the Joshua W. Wesner Memorial Scholarship. Josh was an inspiring young man Will taught at Kutztown who passed away in 2000 at the age of 23 after heroic battles with injuries from a car accident, followed by Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The pre-medical scholarship, established in 2000, was created to honor Josh’s dream of becoming a physician and is awarded to a student once a year.
Because Will and his wife Ann are covering the expenses for the bike ride, 100 percent of donations will benefit the recipient organizations. Donations are being accepted now through the end of the year. To learn more and to donate visit https://www.rideacrossamerica2019.com/
About St. Luke’s
Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 15,000 employees providing services at 10 hospitals and over 320 outpatient sites. With annual net revenue greater than $2 billion, the Network’s service area includes 10 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the Lehigh Valley’s first and only regional medical school campus. It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 28 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 226 residents and fellows. St. Luke’s is the only Lehigh Valley-based health care system with Medicare’s five- and four-star ratings (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction. St. Luke’s is both a Leapfrog Group and Healthgrades Top Hospital and a Newsweek World’s Best Hospital. In 2019, three of IBM Watson Health’s 100 Top Hospitals were St. Luke’s hospitals. St. Luke’s University Hospital has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health seven times total and five years in a row. St. Luke’s has also been cited by IBM Watson Health as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Program. Utilizing the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information. St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.