HANCOCK - More than 22,000 Houghton and Keweenaw County residents have found refuge at the Beacon House in Marquette while caring for a loved one seeking medical attention.
Because of that rate, a special fundraiser is being held in Hancock to help raise funds for the Beacon House, one of the largest privately-owned hospitality houses in the United States.
"This is a fundraiser to help people stay at the Beacon House," said Beacon House board member Charleen Ahola.
For the first time in this area, the Spoke of Hope Charity Bicycle Ride will take place.
The fundraiser will be held Sunday and will begin in the Portage Health parking lot at 500 Campus Drive in Hancock. Registration, which is required, will be from 8 to 9 a.m. and a tour and lunch will be complete by 2 p.m.
"Lunch will be served to our riders and the registration fee is $45," Ahola said.
Ahola suggested collecting donations to offset the registration fee as prizes will be given to the largest donation amount raised.
The ride is not a race and encompasses three different lengths of travel including a 12-mile off-road trip and a 25- and 40-mile trip which travels part of the highway. Helmets are a requirement and riders must be 18 years of age or older to participate.
"The route starts at Portage Health and heads to Calumet and back around M-203," she said. "We hope if there are people who don't even want to ride they choose to come and donate and watch."
Ahola said they are expecting anywhere from 150 to 250 riders.
The Beacon House in Marquette provides a place for families to stay free of charge while their loved ones seek medical attention at Marquette General. The facility operates solely on donations, and while the average donation is $15, it costs about $50 per room per day to operate the 34-room center.
Registration forms can be obtained from the Beacon House, any bike shop in the area, any River Valley Bank branch and online at upbeaconhouse.org.