Back in March, we got an email from Jerry VanStrien, a cycle-enthusiast on a mission. Jerry was about to embark on a cross-country bike trip from Kentucky to San Francisco to raise money to battle Multiple Sclerosis — and he was looking for some fuel for his team in the form of cherry love.

Here’s part of his letter to us:

“Hello, Mary!

Bike the US for MS organizes cross-country bike trips that raise awareness for multiple sclerosis research & volunteer for patients. Last year the Northern Team raised $131,125.00 and all 2017 teams total $462,048.00​.​

After riding a segment with the Northern Tier team in 2017 and witnessing the passion they had not just for cycling, but for the people who battle with MS everyday, I am honored to take on this journey from Kentucky to San Francisco.

My goal is to help raise $3,000 for MS. If you are interested/able to support, it would be greatly appreciated! Every dollar counts, and I'd like to help spread the Michigan Cherry footprint while on my journey across our great country. There will be five mail drops and Cherry Republic’s products would make a energizing fuel snack for our team of 25.

All the best,
Jerry VanStrien

Of course, we couldn’t say no to such a great cause! So we teamed up with Jerry and arranged to have care packages of our products dropped at five spots along their TransAmerica bike route — in Kentucky, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado, and Utah. We sent an assortment of Montmorency Dried Cherries, Cherry Nut Mix, Ambassador Nut Mix, Confiscated Fruit Mix, and even some Cherry Republic stickers! All were well received based on Jerry’s updates from the road:

"The dried cherries are a big hit with the BikeTheUSForMS Trans Am team. Some of them have never had dried cherries. Imagine that. And the stickers are proudly displayed on the trailer doors. We will try to get some pictures as we cross the country with cherries in hand. Thank you so much.”
Jerry VanStrien, June 14, 2018

“We have crossed over into Colorado from the wheat fields of Kansas, across the high desert plains of Colorado, and are taking a rest day in Pueblo today before we start climbing into the mountains. The Cherry Ambassador Mix pouches arrived to our mail drop and the cyclist dug right in. These pouches fit nicely in our jerseys and are the perfect energy boost during our stops as we hydrate. Tried to get a picture without my fingers in it but the wind was blowing quite hard there. Hopefully I can get some really good pictures of us chowing on the mixes high in the Rocky Mountains. Thanks again!”
Jerry VanStrien, July 6, 2018

Thank you for the incredible cherry snack mixes Cherry Republic has been sending us. We have been mixing some of it into our oatmeal in the morning and also into some of our camp suppers at night. All the cyclists get a little giddy when the mail drop days come around to see what’s in those boxes. It’s not only been a energy boost but on some occasions a emotional boost after a hard day cycling. For the entire 2018 Trans Am Team Bike The US for MS, I thank you and the entire team at Cherry Republic for helping us help those who battle with M.S.
Sincerely, Jerry VanStrien, July 21, 2018

On August 1, 2018, Jerry and his teammates will reach their final destination of San Francisco. They received their last drop from Cherry Republic on July 21, and Jerry sent a brief thank-you video to us. We have been honored to play a small part in this amazing project and can’t wait to hear how much the TransAmerica Northern Team raised along the way! To read more about Jerry and find out how you can help, click here.