For Michele Fountain, a second year cyclist in the Ride to Conquer Cancer benefitting the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Sibley Memorial, Suburban, and Howard County General Hospitals, there is more than one reason which motivates her to gear up and ride. Having worked at Johns Hopkins for over 30 years 12 of which have been spent within the Kimmel Cancer Center Michele describes her reason for riding as twofold. “It’s been a privilege to be a part of the Cancer Center’s family,” she states. “I’ve met so many dedicated people working hard each day to change the course of cancer. So, I feel like I want to give back. And this is the way to do it.”
The other half of Michele’s twofold motivation strikes a more personal chord. “This really hit home,” Michele reveals, echoing the sentiments of countless other riders. “I lost my husband to cancer three years ago. He was a patient at the Cancer Center for many years, and it was through his care and treatment here that I truly learned to appreciate the commitment of the physicians, the nurses, and the staff. They have all been an inspiration to me, and I’ll be forever grateful.” Having successfully completed her first two day, 150 mile Ride at the inaugural event last fall, Michele finds herself even more committed to the cause now than she had been a year ago. “Now in the second year riding, I think I’m addicted. I’m hooked. The 2014 Ride was probably one of the most rewarding, challenging experiences of my life.” Of course, no matter how deeply connected one may be to the fight to conquer cancer, there is no denying that the Ride is a challenge. From the physical training process to mastering the intricacies of fundraising, Michele asserts that “it’s challenging, it is. But once you have the mindset that it’s a ride, not a race, and you’ve got all of these amazing people riding with you of all ages, some survivors and some expert cyclists and some just like me that makes all the difference.”
In addition to the physical challenge of the event, the $2,500 minimum fundraising requirement for each rider can certainly seem intimidating at first. But Michele, who successfully raised over $9,000 towards last year’s event, offers this advice: “If you just reach out to everyone you know professionally, personally, your family and friends and share a little bit of your story, that really hits home for people. This is something that impacts everyone, and there’s camaraderie in that.”
As for this year’s event, which takes place on September 19th and 20th, 2015, Michele is more motivated than ever. “I want to be part of this team,” she states. “We are all working towards the same goal of conquering cancer. I know in my heart that we are getting closer every day. It might not be in my lifetime, but it will hopefully be in my children and grandchildren’s lifetime. So, to be a part of the Ride is an honor to me.” And for those who may still be on the fence about accepting the challenge to conquer cancer, together, Michele shares these words: “I just can’t express how rewarding it was to get to that finish line. I knew in my mind that I wanted to do it, that that was my goal. But 150 miles? That was an amazing feeling.”
My name is Domini and In 2014 I participated in the inaugural Ride to Conquer Cancer event in DC on behalf of my father, grandfather and my mother-in-law who died due to various different types of cancer. I also learned during the 2014 fundraising drive that I had battle buddies from the Army and a dear friend who are still putting up the fight. I'm sure you all have lost someone or know someone who is putting up the fight.
During the 2014 ride I met so many wonderful survivors. It was truly inspirational. After the first day of the ride I had to sign up again. It's not enough to ride and raise funds to fight this thing called cancer one time. That's why I've decided to stay on my bike and do my best to raise even more money than 2014.
Team Kimmel Cancer Center
The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center inspires employees, patients, family, friends and the community at large to team up and make an epic impact in the fight against cancer. Team Kimmel Cancer Center raised over $138,000 at the inaugural Ride to Conquer Cancer, to support vital cancer research and accelerated transformational cancer discoveries at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Sibley Memorial, Suburban and Howard County General Hospitals. The team hopes to do it all over again at the 2015 Ride.
Team captain, Jamie Hedeman, says sharing in the passion and energy of his teammates and all the participants at The Ride, was the best part of the experience.
“Everyone had a different reason for riding,” Hedeman said.
“Whether it was to challenge themselves, to honor a loved one, or simply to support the cause, it was just incredible to see so many faces at The Ride. All the participants, our team included, quickly bonded over the shared experience and supported each other throughout the weekend,” he added.
Team Kimmel Cancer Center draws participants from all over to ride alongside doctors, patients and supporters of the cancer center. Though training together can be a challenge for this regionally diverse team, The Ride is an opportunity for them to connect in person as they tackle the two-day journey.
As winners of the Team Up Challenge, Team Kimmel Cancer Center recruited new members and raised thousands of dollars for their 2015 fundraising campaign in the month of March. The team has already proven the benefits of strength in numbers. “Our team is just a small part of an amazing community working together to accomplish something big. We look forward to meeting again this year and making the 2015 Ride and evening bigger success,” Hedeman added. On September 19-20, the team will once again cycle 150-miles in the Ride to Conquer Cancer in support of groundbreaking research and treatment programs that continue to revolutionize cancer medicine.