Apr 03, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
A new charity to support cancer survivors has recently been started in Skaneateles, with its first major fundraising event — a 100-mile bike ride around Skaneateles, Otisco and Owasco lakes — announced for July.
The “Ride for Alive!” annual fundraiser, announced by the Alive! Foundation last week, is a non-competitive ride for cyclists who can choose 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile distances around the Finger Lakes region. The money raised by sponsors will benefit programs for cancer survivors in local communities.
“Our goal to make this a memorable, incredible, inspirational and fun event for people to be a part of, and one they will want to come back and participate in for years to come,” said Julia Wamp, Alive! Foundation co-founder and cancer survivor.
Julia Wamp and her husband Michael, who live in Skaneateles, started the Alive! Foundation in January to educate and empower cancer survivors to live healthier, happier lives, according to the foundation’s mission statement. The organization plans to develop and fund programs in local communities to help cancer survivors to live well by focusing on movement, exercise and nutrition while promoting cancer survivorship nationwide.
“There are 12 million cancer survivors in the United States now. The fact that there are people surviving is wonderful, but also these people have a need as well, that need being, How do you go back to your life, get back some of the strength you have lost?” said Julia Wamp.
Wamp, a mother of three young children, knows what she is talking about. In 2005, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through nine months of surgeries and treatment. When the treatments were over, she asked herself what was next. How does a cancer survivor return to a normal life?
Wamp said the “spark” that started her interest in creating the Ride for Alive! was watching the SkanRaces participants run past her house during the Labor Day weekend events. Wamp, who was a competitive runner before her cancer diagnosis, said that about five years ago, as she watched the Skinnyman racers, she decided, “I have to do that.” During her training she found she enjoyed the bike riding part of the event the most.
Wamp and her husband already had had a taste of working to help cancer survivors by participating in the Connecticut Challenge, a bike ride started by their friend and cancer survivor Jeff Keith to help fund cancer survivorship programs and ultimately open a Center for Survivorship.
So the Wamps based their endeavor on Keith’s Connecticut model.
“This is his idea, one that he hopes and dreams will spread across the country, so we decided to start it here in our area,” Wamp said. “We’ve had the option and privilege to use his protocols, his time and research to really make what we’re doing a lot easier than it probably was for him seven years ago, recognizing that cancer patients go through treatment then there’s no real rehab for survivors.”
“It’s that period of, you don’t go back to a normal life. Because life isn’t normal. You’re living with a cancer diagnosis, possibly side effects from treatment, physical limitations, emotional challenges. That’s where this really came from,” Wamp said.
The Ride for Alive! will take place Saturday, July 14. Riders can be of any age or cycling ability, can participate as individuals or as teams, and can choose 10, 25, 50 or 100-miles courses.
All participants must get sponsors and raise money for their rides. Each distance has a required minimum amount of $500 for adults and $250 for students. There is also a registration fee.
The rides will highlight certain aspects of the three lakes in the area, Skaneateles, Owasco and Otisco. There will be aid stations every 20 miles with restrooms, snacks, drinks, first aid and bicycle mechanics.
Numerous Skaneateles businesses already have agreed to participate in the event, Wamp said. Mirbeau will host a dinner the night before the ride for the event’s “life champions” – people who raise $2,500 or more by July 1. Endurance Monster will use their community room for event packet pickup the night before the ride, have their bicycle mechanics available the morning of the ride and at aid stations throughout the routes.
Gazella Performance & Wellness Studio is offering a 12-week Century and Half Century Training Program to help cyclists prepare for the Ride for Alive!, beginning April 21. The business also is offering a scholarship to a cancer survivor participating in the Century Training Program.
An information session about the Gazella training programs will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 16, at Johnny Angel’s restaurant at 22 Jordan St.
The ultimate goal of the Alive! Foundation is to continue spreading the event west towards Rochester and Buffalo, help fund more programs for cancer survivors and even open a Survivorship Center. “We just want to reach as many cancer survivors as we can,” Wamp said.
For more information or to register for the Ride for Alive! event, visit rideforalive.org.
For information or to register for the Gazella training program, visit gazella-studio.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.