More than 55 colleagues will join Trinity Health Michigan President and CEO Rob Casalou and “Team Trinity” for the 32nd annual Wish-A-Mile bike tour through Michigan. Cyclists hailing from St. Joe’s, Mercy Health, System Office and IHA will pedal 300 miles from Traverse City to Eaton Proving Grounds over the course of three days from July 26-28, 2019.
Organized by the Make-A-Wish® Foundation of Michigan, Team Trinity will ride the grueling course to support wishes granted to seriously ill children. In 2019 alone, the team has raised more than $110,000 for this ride, the second highest of all teams riding in the 32nd edition of the Wish-A-Mile.
And this time, Casalou and the team are riding for the 7-year-old daughter of Ashlee Senn, human resource consultant at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids. Brynlee Senn has a disease known as “Mito,” when the mitochondria of cells fail to produce energy for organ function. Her younger brother, Braylon, who passed away at four years old, also had the disease.
“I can’t speak enough about how proud I am to work for this organization,” Ashlee said. “They truly care about us as colleagues and especially for the communities we serve.”
An avid cyclist, Casalou first rode the course solo in 2010 when he was the president of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. Over the years, more colleagues joined him on “Team Joe’s” to raise support and awareness for children with serious illnesses.
As CEO of the Michigan Region, Casalou changed the group’s name in hopes more colleagues join Team Trinity for future Wish-A-Mile events.
“Team Trinity is more representative of the health ministries that together comprise Trinity Health Michigan,” he said. “We are all proud to display our Trinity colors in an event that embraces our mission to serve the most vulnerable people of our communities.”
Brynlee will be waiting at the finish line on Sunday to greet the cyclists and present them with medals for completing the ride. The Make-A- Wish Foundation made Brynlee’s wish come true a few years ago, when they sent her and the family to Disney World to meet Jessie from Toy Story, enjoy the water park and go to McDonald’s.
Ashlee knows firsthand the positive impact Make-A-Wish has on children. She treasures the memories of her son’s wish trip just a few months before he passed.
“Those memories will never go away,” she said. “It’s one of the few times he got to be a kid without doctors and nurses surrounding him. The pictures, videos… We will treasure everything that encompassed that trip.”
Brynlee is “the spunkiest little girl” who is looking forward to starting second grade this fall as a mainstreamed student in elementary school. Ashlee said she’s excited to be part of the next Wish-A-Mile ride benefitting wish heroes. “To know these riders are willing to take on this long-distance ride to ensure other kids like Brynlee have opportunities… is huge for us.”