Jill Eisenberg and her friend Jill Rosenthal Bass make it their hobby to walk and bicycle for charities, raising money for worthwhile causes.
They take time out of their busy schedules to fetch money for medical causes—and they do it with smiles and happiness.
The two Jills first met at Weight Watchers in Pikesville many years ago, and have been good friends since Owings Mills resident Rosenthal Bass asked Reisterstown resident Eisenberg to join her in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Since then, they have become very close by training and walking together.
Currently they're training for the Chesapeake Challenge, a 150-mile bicycle ride to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Maryland Chapter.
"There is something special about riding all day, coming together as a big group to celebrate doing our part, and then getting up the next day and riding our bikes again," said Eisenberg. "Because I can ride, I feel it's my responsibility to do my part in helping to find a cure for the MS disease. These are fabulous experiences."
It's a two-day ride June 11 and 12, in Chestertown, starting and ending at Washington College. They will stay in dormitory rooms at the college and eat in the cafeteria for breakfast and dinner.
Eisenberg will bike 100 miles the first day and 50 miles the second day. Rosenthal Bass will do a shorter ride, but plans to cheer on the riders as they come in after her.
For this event, both women are called "top crabs," meaning they raise more than $1,000 each for the society. Eisenberg, 39, has been participating for the past seven years; this will be Rosenthal’s second year.
Already this month they both volunteered for the Avon Walk in Washington, D.C., an event held to raise money for breast cancer screening, treatment and support services.
The two friends set up areas along the route where they handed out water, candy and cheered on the walkers.
The event's goal is to raise money and awareness for women and men who have breast cancer, according to avonwalk.org. Funds will help pay for medical care, even if patients have no health insurance and cannot pay. A portion of the money will go to medical research and support to find a cure.
In 2002, Eisenberg and Rosenthal Bass participated in the event, walking from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. and sleeping in tents. At the end of the weekend their families joined them at the closing ceremony.
Eisenberg, a graphic designer on a government contract for the past 13 years, also does freelance work and has a master's degree from the University of Baltimore. Rosenthal Bass is a social worker for Baltimore County Schools, and is a Syracuse University graduate.
Their mutual benevolence has made them close friends. So close, that when Rosenthal Bass got married almost two years ago to Jerry Bass, Eisenberg was an attendant at the wedding and held one of the poles of the handmade Chuppah—the covering over the bride and groom. She said it was an honor.
"Fundraising runs in my family. I have always done charity events and started to do bigger ones with Jill Eisenberg," said Rosenthal Bass. "This will be my second year in the MS one coming up soon. I love being a part of this community and participating in these events."