Most of us do some form of charitable work or giving. Personally, I have always felt that in addition to financial contributions, the most valuable resource I could give is my time. Since having my second child, I havenít been actively involved with any group or event and I have really begun to miss it. So I set out to find somewhere to put my talents and energy. I had three criteria for my search:
- 100% of all money raised went to the cause. Sorry to all my wonderful friends who participate in the large events out there that I never donate to. The reason is not because I donít support your efforts. Just the opposite. I feel strongly that money I donate should go directly to research or the cause, not overhead, administration or fundraising costs.
- A grassroots organization. I didnít want a lot of mandates from a national organization or to just be a warm body doing a pre-determined job. I wanted to help a group that needed my skill set and find somewhere I could really make a contribution.
- A cause that helped a large pool of people. This was a tough one for me. I have always stayed away from "finding a cureĒ related causes because they tend to help a relatively small group of people. But in the last few years, cancer has affected more and too many people I know. In pretty much every circle of my life this disease has reared its ugly head. I am tired of having a 30 something year old neighbour fighting breast cancer before she has even started a family; or a client with four kids recovering from a chemo treatment, while we are outside painting her house; or of my husbandís cousin that has had a bone marrow transplant before he has gotten married; or of the best friend of a young woman I know who never had her 19th birthday.
My search for cause that would impact the lives of a large number of people took me to the front door of cancer. I have no doubt that we have the ability to find a cure. We just need to keep funding the research.
And where did I find my event? It happened again in spin class.
My very passionate and inspiring spin instructor Vicki Kunzli often talked about this ride she does every June, called the Ride2Survive. Long story short, she talked about Ride2Survive enough that I decided I would look it up and even had a thought of getting a bike and maybe participating (cuz you know I love spin class so much, I would surely enjoy riding on the road).
It was New Yearís Day morning, I had just recently turned 40 and was feeling pretty damn good about myself and thinking of all the bucket list milestones I should try and accomplish. I had a reality check when I saw this diagram on the Ride2Survive site:
You can click right on this diagram to see it in full size and get all the crazy details of this ride
Yes, that is the route. Let me summarize if the visual doesnít make it clear. About 100 cyclists ride 400km from Kelowna to Delta, as a group, in ONE day. They leave Kelowna at 3:30 am (are they kidding me?) and ride to Merritt (are they kidding me again?) and then the Coquihalla Highway (seriously, are they kidding?) to Hope and then arrive in Delta at 10:00 pm. In total, they cycle uphill almost 13,000 feet in elevation.
Let me put that in perspective for you. Grouse Mountain is 4,000 feet high so stack three Grouse Mountains on top of each other and imagine riding a bike up that hill. I mentioned that they do this in ONE day, right?
Okay, so once I saw that this was a ride and challenge that was nowhere in the realm of my current physical abilities, I took a look at specifics of this event.
I mean grassroots. The fact that they compete against a big, multi-day event ride that has national media sponsorship and takes place on the same weekend, makes awareness even bigger challenge for these guys. (FYI - the reason they donít just change the date is that they have to ride on the longest days of the year for maximum sunlight hours, because they do this in ONE day).
100% of donations to charity? Check.
Everything for this ride is donated or paid for by the riders themselves. All of the money raised goes directly to funding research in cancer, which is determined by the riders that raise the money. This is a core issue for founders of this event and I promise to discuss it more in a future post.
Helping a large pool of people? Check.
This group of riders and crew are even more pissed off with cancer than I am. They donít just ride for friends and family that have had cancer, they ride for the hope that one day no one will have to face this disease. This year, one of their own alumni riders was diagnosed with cancer (you can read Steve's blog here) and I think it has just motivated them all that much more.
I have a personal request. We need help with getting the word out about Ride2Survive. Please check out their website, like their Facebook page and most importantly, donate.
You will be hearing a lot about Ride2Survive from me over the next two weeks. I am personally donating my time and efforts to increase awareness for this ride and am donating Warlineís advertising budget for June to promote Ride2Survive.
If it matters to you that the money you donate actually goes to fighting cancer and not running an event, support Ride2Survive.
If you believe that a cure for cancer will come from funding research, support Ride2Survive.
If you believe it takes an incredibly tough and inspiring group of cyclists to put their bodies through this crazy-ass ride, then support Ride2Survive.