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Harvest riders enjoy Sylvania hospitality
Harvest for Hope riders come into downtown Sylvania for a lunch stop. - photo by CRYSTAL WALKER/Staff

      SYLVANIA - Sylvania welcomed 60 cyclists for lunch Saturday in their 120-mile ride for the 9th annual Harvest of Hope Double Metric Century, a bike ride benefiting the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial University Medical Center of Savannah.
        For the second consecutive year, the Screven Chamber of Commerce and City of Sylvania have hosted lunch for the group, as their journey from Augusta to Savannah brings them into Sylvania at the half-way point.
       Mayor Margaret Evans, along with Chamber exec. dir. Heidi Jeffers greeted the cyclists after they parked their bikes in front of First Baptist Church, where lunch was served.
        This year the ride was in honor of two breast cancer survivors Lyn Bishop and Dr. Diane Weems.
       The bike ride began when its founder, Patrick Booton, reached his 5-year anniversary of being cancer free, his wife Laverne said.
       "I thought he was crazy when he first said he wanted to start the ride," she said.
       But she was there Saturday, supporting him in the ninth year of the Harvest of Hope bike ride. Against all odds, she said he was able to ride again this year.
       After having a stroke in May, Booton was in ICU for three weeks. Although he was having his lunch through a feeding tube Saturday, his recovery since the stroke and ability to participate in the ride are nothing short of miraculous, his wife said.
       The Harvest of Hope Double Metric Century is growing so much, she said. People who are interested in joining the group of cyclists next year, she said, may be interested to know they are planning to cater the ride to two separate groups.
       Those who prefer a faster pace will depart earlier, while those preferring a slower pace will follow behind, she said.
       She also recognized Curt Anderson, who rode Saturday, for the Anderson Cancer Institute, which wouldn't be what it is without him, she said.
       Anyone interested in participating next year or simply learning more about Harvest of Hope can read more at

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