by Chris Brewer
On March 1st I had the honor and pleasure of representing the LIVESTRONG Foundation at one of our top grassroots events, the 24 hour “Ultimate Cycling Challenge” held annually in Holland, MI. Now your first question might well be: cycling, in Michigan, in the winter? And you’d be right to ask that as it was well below freezing, but that’s the beauty of this event: it’s indoors.
Michelle and Tony Charameda came up with this idea 6 years ago to honor his sister and celebrate her survivorship after a battle with brain cancer (she’s a tough woman, dedicated nurse, and is doing very well, too). The UCC is a non-competitive fundraiser in which teams of participants keep stationary bikes in constant motion for 12 or 24 hours, all the while enjoying live entertainment, and receiving health information and cancer awareness messages. As you might imagine, it takes more than just 2 people to execute this top notch event, and that team of volunteers includes local LIVESTRONG Leader and cancer survivor, Paul Horchler – thanks to all of them!
What I really like about this event is that it’s not just focused on fundraising. Spreading the message of healthy lifestyle, being aware of your cancer risks, and getting out the message to hundreds of families that the LIVESTRONG Foundation is here to provide free, practical assistance right now to anyone affected by cancer is all factored in. And then they find unique ways to partner with local groups and businesses to create a true community feel.
The UCC is an outstanding example of taking something our friends in Holland were already passionate about and successful, and then going the extra mile – even if was just right there in place on a bike – to make it significant! So thanks to everyone who participated, and if you’re interested in putting on your own event, please check out all the info here at LIVESTRONG.org.