Woman killed on charity ride

22-year old hit by SUV in Ala.

Christina Genco, 22, of Newton led a team of cyclists on a cross-country ride when she was hit by a car in rural Alabama. Christina Genco, 22, of Newton led a team of cyclists on a cross-country ride when she was hit by a car in rural Alabama.
By Matt Byrne
Globe Correspondent / June 11, 2011

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A 22-year-old Newton resident was killed Monday as she bicycled along a rural road in Alabama as part of a cross-country ride for a charitable group, family and friends said.

Christina Genco was struck by a sport utility vehicle near Rainsville, Ala., about 15 miles from the Georgia state line, her family said.

Genco was co-leader of a 33-person team bicycling across the country for a charitable org- anization, according to Bike and Build, a group based in Philadelphia.

“She was happy; she was at peace with her life,’’ her mother, Caroline Attardo Genco of Newton, said in a phone interview.

Along the way, Genco and others were scheduled to help build homes for needy families through Habitat for Humanity and had already bicycled through two states after they had set out from South Carolina, her mother said.

As a leader of the team, Genco had helped plan the excursion since January when she was selected, said her mother and an organizer for the group.

Charges have not been filed in the death, Caroline Attardo Genco said, but police continue to investigate.

According to a June 8 report in The Augusta Chronicle, a driver hit Genco from behind. BU Today, a university-run newsletter, said the driver was a former employee of an Alabama sheriff’s office.

A spokesman for the Rainsville Police Department was unavailable for comment yesterday, and a message left for the chief of police was not returned.

Alabama State Police declined to comment on the accident and referred questions to local authorities.

“She brought a positive vibe to everything; she was really a driving force of the team,’’ Brendan Newman, program director for Bike And Build, said in a phone interview.

At the time of her death, Christina Genco was less than two weeks into a 4,100 mile, 81-day journey from South Carolina to California, her mother said, a trip she relished for its combination of physical challenge and community service.

“People kept saying, ‘The reason we did this trip was for Christina,’ ’’ said Caroline Attardo Genco, who traveled to Rainsville after the accident to meet the team of riders.

“She was a leader. She was passionate about working hard, and she was passionate about playing hard.’’

A lifelong athlete, Genco worked as a coach for Revolution Lacrosse, a Boston-based developmental team for female lacrosse players, where she oversaw girls age 12 to 18, her mother said.

Genco left the full-time position at Revolution to pursue the cross-country trek, her mother said.

Genco attended Beaver Country Day School before she graduated from Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration in 2010, her mother said.

A memorial service is scheduled Sunday at Magni Funeral Home in Watertown from 3 to 7 p.m.

A funeral Mass and burial to follow Monday.