This past June, Langdon local Kari Phillips was out and about racking up miles on her bicycle for a very good cause as she took part in the Great Cycle Challenge.
By Melissa Anderson
“Great Cycle Challenge USA is a national Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF) fundraising initiative held throughout June,” Phillips explained.
“I was on Facebook one day and noticed it in my feed. One of my friends “liked” it so it was shared. I saw the words “cycle” and “challenge” and was interested to learn more so I followed the link to see what it was all about.”
First started in 2015, the Great Cycle Challenge started in 2015, the event allows people of all ages, abilities and from every state across the country to set a personal riding goal and challenge themselves to pedal throughout June to fight kids’ cancer. After just two years in existence, the event has grown to become one of the biggest cycling events in the United States.
“In two years, our community of 39,284 riders from all 50 states have ridden a total of 3,397,199 miles, and together we’ve raised $4,717,515 in support of research to develop better treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer,” the organization states on their website.
Every year over 15,700 American children are diagnosed with cancer, and sadly, 38 children die every week. The Great Cycle Challenge is a signature fundraising event for CCRF. CCRF is a research program at the University of Minnesota dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancer by investing in the most effective research and working with the best minds in the field to help the children diagnosed with cancer and provide support to their families. CCRF is a national nonprofit and, as a result of donors and partners, has contributed $150 million to research, education and awareness and quality-of-life programs for childhood cancer families.
“We’re riding to give kids diagnosed with cancer a chance at the brighter futures they deserve, and we believe that any one individual can make their personal impact to fight cancer and save little lives,” the organization stated.
For Phillips, that chance discovery of the event turned into a very active June as she logged over 125 miles, 25 miles over her personal riding goal for the month. Phillips, of course, set a fundraising goal, challenging herself to raise $500. She beat her goal, raising $640 which also placed her as one of the top five fundraisers in the state of North Dakota for the event
“Prior to the start of June, I would post on Facebook some of their fliers along with my goals to make people aware that starting in June, if they saw me riding my bike, it was to raise money for this cause,” Phillips said.
The event takes place across the nation during the entire month of June, giving people the opportunity to ride their bikes for a worthy cause. While Phillips was the only participant in the Langdon area, the Great Cycle Challenge has an app that Phillips downloaded to her phone that showed her how other riders on the app were doing.
“It felt like we were doing it as a team, and what better way to raise awareness and money for a cause than riding my bike?” Phillips said.
The Great Cycle Challenge was a bit of a challenge to complete in Langdon this year due to weather and road construction. Phillips chose to ride her bike to work as many days as she could to reach her 100 mile goal.
“Most days it was very windy or cold. I was rained on a few times and had to deal with road construction,” Phillips recalled.
With her first time under her belt, Phillips has every intention of participating in the Great Cycle Challenge next year.
“I may even see if I can get a few more people on board,” Phillips stated.
Overall, Phillips was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to raise the money to reach her goal and then to be able to surpass it. Besides the monetary donations, Phillips received encouraging messages that were very special to her.
“It made me feel good about what I was doing and stay focused on the real reason for doing it, to support kids with cancer. I have great friends and family, and I thank them for their support,” Phillips said .
Now that the 2017 Great Cycle Challenge USA has been completed, participants are eagerly awaiting the official tally for the 2017 event which will be posted on July 28. So far this year’s event has raised nearly the same amount of funds than the two years prior combined. According to the most recent tally, there were 38,079 riders registered, $4,494,280 raised, and 3,393,777 miles ridden.
Phillips hopes that by making people aware of this organization and what they do it will someday help someone.
“Maybe it’s a resource they never knew about before and can be a source of help,” Phillips shared.