Two years ago, I signed on to participate in an incredible event. I became a fundraiser for a local Greenville 501C3 charitable organization - The Palmetto Peloton Project (P3). P3 raises money that benefits local Upstate Cancer research centers as well as National efforts to battle the effects of cancer.
The way P3 raises money is through cycling events. Every year since 2008, one of those cycling events has been the Challenge to Conquer Cancer. Five teams set out on an October Sunday from Greenville Hospital System's Cancer Center and ride relay style to Austin, Texas. Bikes are on the road 24 hours a day. The point is to raise awareness and money to help in the fight against cancer.
When I rode with this group in 2009, I had never really done anything quite like it before. It was a challenge, but perhaps not for the more obvious reasons. Those being the challenge of riding my bicycle in 6 hour shifts for a week or raising the funds required to participate. No, the biggest challenge for me was dealing with the emotions experienced throughout the journey.
Well, I've committed to riding to Austin again for 2011. I've spent some time thinking about why I am doing this. I have only one answer. I can. In fact, this is a quote stolen from one of my 2009 team-mates. I ride because there are others out there who cannot.
In 2009 I didn't really have a personal connection to Cancer. Really, what that means is I didn't have any immediate family or very close friends who had suffered the effects of cancer. Well, in 2011, that is completely changed. Many of my very best friends are battling cancer, or have a loved one who is battling cancer. Some of those friends (or their loved ones) have been lost to cancer since my 2009 ride.
Here's my list of who I will be riding for this year. I hope this list doesn't grow, but I know it will as this journey continues:
In Honor of the following Cancer Warriors:
James (10yo son of a friend)
Jeni (riding partner and friend)
Kathy (riding partner and friend)
Rene (riding partner and friend)
Dustin (riding partner and friend)
Marty (co-worker, riding partner and friend)
Valorie (co-worker and friend)
Rachel (co-worker and friend)
David (co-worker and friend)
In Memory of:
Pip's dad Bill
Kip's uncle Bob
Bo's Uncle Buddy
Jeni's Aunt Barb
Because I can, I'll also ride in honor of or in memory of your loved one. Help me raise my funds and I will be his or her representative on this journey. Here's a direct link to the page where you can donate towards my fundraising goals: http://goo.gl/5fwwV.
The total amount I need to raise is $5250. I have already donated $250 as part of my registration as a rider. I am committed to personally donating another $1000 towards my goal so that 100% of your donation goes towards the battle against cancer.
After you make your donation in my name, please let me know the name of your loved one (send an email to me: firstname.lastname@example.org). If you donate $100, I will put their name on an 'In honor of' or 'In Memory Of' magnet which will be placed on our team van. Your loved one will ride to Austin with us.
Thank you for supporting a great cause.
Pausing to remember a cyclist
1 year ago