The first group of cyclists got off shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday in the 3rd annual Pedal for Preemies bike ride at the home of Alexis and Billy Reilly.
The Reillys organized the fundraiser three years ago for the neonatal intensive care units at Brigham & Women’s and Childrens hospitals in Boston. Their son, Will, nearly 3, was born 13 weeks prematurely in December 2006 and cared for at both hospitals.
“My son is alive and doing well because of the hospitals,” Billy Reilly, 32, said.
He rode with the first group of 12 people who are doing the 100-mile or Century ride.
His wife, Alexis, 30, is riding with the second group of eight cyclists leaving at 9:30 a.m. for the 50-mile route.
Twenty family and friends are participating and have raised some $61,000 to be shared by both hospitals..
Last year’s event raised more than $85,000; $210,000 has been raised in all to benefit research, education and care.
Both the 100 mile and the 50-mile rides pass through Cohasset, Scituate, Marshfield, Duxbury, Kingston, Halifax, Hanover and Nemasket, a village in Middleborough.
Those wishing to support the riders can go to firstgiving.com/pedaling4preemies.
READ MORE about neonatal intensive care units.