Like many others, over the years our friends and family have been hit hard by cancer and each year it seems someone we know runs out of time. We had been taking part in cancer fighting fundraisers over the years, but when cancer picked a fight with Tony’s sister we felt we had to do more. Thankfully, she is still here with us and going strong. Her strength throughout her journey motivated us to do whatever we can to help others feel empowered.
Eight years ago, we created the Ultimate Cycle Challenge – a 24 hour indoor team cycling event full of entertainment, exercise, friendship, fundraising, and cancer awareness. It is our way to give ourselves and others a chance to fight back and show support for those who have been impacted by cancer. The event also allows us to share our love of cycling and promote healthy living with the rest of the community.
We started out small, concentrating on making sure everyone had a good time. Looking back on that first year now makes us laugh a little. We had 50 riders throughout the 12 hours in a cramped, hot, aerobics room with music videos as our only entertainment. Guess we did something right because they were not only willing to do it again but bigger and better. The following year we recruited a few more friends to help us with the event and we doubled everything…made it 24 hours, moved to a larger space, had twice the riders, and doubled the amount raised. Over the years, we’ve seen the event grow every year. Last year, we had over 600 riders and raised more than $67,000. The great thing about our event is that anyone can participate. Whether you usually only ride to get ice cream or a serious cyclist doesn’t matter, each rider chooses how long and how intense to ride. We literally have participants ranging from 4 year olds to triathletes to grandmas and they all find something to take away from the event.
We’re proud to say that even without a mandatory fundraising requirement, we’ve raised close to $300,000 and over a million smiles (we estimate the smiles). With that said, fundraising has always been secondary to bringing people together to support, remember, and celebrate those we love who have been affected by cancer.
So why did we choose LIVESTRONG? Simply put, we agree in living every minute to its fullest and doing anything we can…big or small… so that no one has to be alone in their battle.
We continue to be inspired by the incredible people we have had the opportunity to meet and the stories they have to share. We are also proud of our community for the incredible support they have provided over the years.
Looking forward to seeing what 2013 will bring,
Tony & Michelle Charameda