Cyclist finishes ride for Ellis

Published 4:15 am Wednesday, April 21, 2010

By By Lydia Grimes
news reporter

It was a chilly and foggy day when approximately 250 riders left Monroe County Courthouse on April 2. The riders, part of Peddlin’ for a Cure, were riding their bicycles 91 miles to Mobile Bay and the USS Alabama to raise money for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.
Cyclist Johnny Brewer, who teaches music at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Andalusia, was riding in honor of W.S. Neal High School Principal Phillip Ellis, who has been fighting cancer since last year. The two have family connections, and Brewer said he knew the struggle that Ellis had been going through. Ellis was diagnosed with multiple myeloma last year and has had a long and difficult battle ever since.
Ellis’s daughter, Karen, is married to Brewer’s wife’s brother, but Brewer had known Ellis through their education connections.
Brewer said the riders all had a great time.
Brewer said that when the group arrived at the battleship, they were able to ride their bikes right up onto the deck. One of the riders, Fred Kelley, got married on the battleship with Judge Roy Moore officiating. “Kelley even had a cycling suit made that looked like a tuxedo,” Brewer said.
The four teams that cycled to Mobile raised a total of $65,916.14, according to Brewer. He also said that one rider, Phil Allen of Lee Motors in Monroeville raised $3,562 himself.
As for Ellis, he returned home Monday after a long stay this winter at UAB Medical Center in Birmingham and a short stint at the a rehabilitation center in Pensacola, Fla.

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