SMCM's Windsor Bikes Cross-Country for Charity

Baltimore, Md. - Nearing the end of a four-year lacrosse career at St. Mary's College of Maryland, Towson native John Windsor didn't have any immediate plans for after college.

One of his classmates from the St. Paul's School for Boys Class of 2007, Jon Zorn, who went on to Towson University, suggested they go on a cross-country bike ride. Windsor, a four-time member of the Capital Athletic Conference All-Academic Team, had yet to decide what he wanted to do with his economics degree. He decided to accept Zorn's offer, as did Raphael McGowan, a 28-year-old from Australia Zorn had met while studying abroad.

Windsor hadn't done more than a two-day bike trip before this trip began on July 28, but he said this journey was about more than just exercise. It represented a challenge, an adventure and the opportunity to support a cause that had recently become important to him.

"A family member of mine has been struggling with eating disorders for a year now," he said. "I guess two years ago, if you had asked me about eating disorders or a mental illness, not that I would be a jerk about it, but I guess I just didn't understand how difficult they were. Once Jon came up with this idea, I threw out the idea, why don't we do it for charities?"

Windsor decided to raise money for the Johns Hopkins Eating Disorders Program, which is part of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. The program, established in 1976, customizes the intensity of care for each patient, with options including inpatient treatment, a partial hospitalization program and consultations on an outpatient basis.

Barbara Verrier, senior associate director of development for the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, said Windsor's efforts had brought in $6,685 as of Septempber 9. Windsor said he hoped he could eventually raise $20,000 to help the program that has helped his family through this difficult time.

"It's not something you should really be ashamed of," Windsor said, "and a lot of the time, it is something that the person themselves, they do kind of feel ashamed. They just kind of hide it. I look at people totally differently now. I do notice a lot more the girls and how actually thin they are sometimes. ... It's a tough disease and it takes a while to get over."

Dr. Angela Guarda is the director of the Johns Hopkins Eating Disorders Program. The money Windsor has raised will help Guarda's team with its research initiatives, which include assessing the outcomes of patient treatment and analyzing the connections between brain chemistry and the symptoms of eating disorders.

After hearing about Windsor's plans, McGowan decided to raise awareness about an Australian group called beyondblue (beyondblue.org.au), which supports people who are battling depression.

Zorn, Windsor and McGowan decided to take the TransAmerica Trail, a path the Adventure Cycling Association created. They began the 4,262-mile path in Astoria, Ore., and will finish it in Yorktown, Va., in early- to mid-October.

They've had to stop about once every 1,000 miles for tune-ups, because of the wear and tear on their bikes -- a Trek 520 for Zorn, a Giant for McGowan and a Kona Sutra for Windsor.

Windsor, Zorn and McGowan have front and back racks on their bikes to carry personal items. Each has his own tent and they also brought cooking equipment in addition to a sleeping pad, a sleeping bag and biking outfits.

They upload pictures to their Web site, johnwindsor3.webs.com, from Zorn's iPhone, and when they have access to a computer -- about once a week -- they plan out their lodging by Googling the cities they'll be traveling to and contact churches in town.

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2011-09-17



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