Padres Pedal the Cause 2018 Recap
Padres Pedal the Cause 2018 Recap – Participating in Your First Pedal
Are you thinking about signing up for your first Padres Pedal the Cause event? If so, you might be unsure about what to expect from the event—I know I was. Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from participating in this incredible, life-changing fundraising event. I discovered that, not only is it accessible and family-friendly, but that I was thoroughly embraced and felt like I was part of an incredible community. It was a surprisingly warm and personal event, in spite of the scale of Padres Pedal the Cause, and I can’t wait to do it again. Whether you are a first timer or someone who joins us year after year, I found that everyone involved with Padres Pedals makes sure you feel welcome.
If you’re wondering what a Padres Pedal event is really like, read on to hear about my experience at the 2018 event. There are so many ways to get involved and experience the event at Petco Park, but this should give you a feeling for what it’s all about.
Padres Pedal the Cause 2018 – What It Was Like to Be a Part of the Event
I was able to attend the 2018 Padres Pedal the Cause annual fundraising event, which I learned had a record 2,513 people participating in 2018 to raise money for cancer research. As you may or may not know, every penny raised at each Padres Pedal event goes to collaborative research projects at four San Diego beneficiaries—UC San Diego Health’s Moores Cancer Center, the Salk Institute, Rady Children’s Hospital, and Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute—to reach one shared goal: A world without cancer.
The 2018 event was one to remember, and I will never forget my experience there. This was the 6th event since Pedal the Cause began its San Diego challenge in 2013. The 2018 participants began arriving at Petco Park as early as 4:30am on November 16th to register and check in for the first-to-roll cycling courses. I was able to catch the first wave of cyclists riding the two longest courses, the 100-mile Century and the 88-mile Honey Springs Heartbreaker, as they got started on their courses with a small, but passionate early bird group cheering them on. Participants continued to show up throughout the morning for the two shorter cycling courses, the 25-mile Coronado Classic and the 55-mile Olympic Challenge, as well as the inaugural 5K and the spin classes taught right inside Petco Park. There were even kids from ages 3 to 12 getting in on the fun, taking part in the popular Superhero Kids Challenge, which was so much fun to see. Throughout the day, it was heartwarming to watch each participant, volunteer, and supporting friend and family member help ride, walk, run, or cheer their way toward the event’s ultimate goal to raise money to help end cancer. At the end of each course, participants arrived back at Petco Park, where we were greeted and applauded by fellow event participants. After the events, we were all welcomed to enjoy lunch and bar service, and live music.
Inspiration After the Ride
Toward the end of the afternoon, everyone present—including participants, volunteers, and supporting loved ones—were able to gather to listen to the Padres Pedal Capstone Program. As we stood together taking in the program, Padres Pedal-funded researchers and physicians, along with survivors and other representatives of the cause, talked about the impact made by everyone taking part in Padres Pedal. The emotion in the stadium was profound as each presenter talked about how Padres Pedal has affected their life or their work, because every cent raised by this event goes directly to collaborative cancer research projects. As we listened, presenters made it clear that as these projects make great strides in discovering the causes, treatments, and prevention of various cancers, lives are extended and saved all because of the funds Padres Pedal is able to raise with participants’ help. I was overwhelmed with emotion and so grateful to be a part of such an incredible event and organization. It was truly a powerful experience shared by everyone at the event.
A Life-Changing Experience for All Involved
This year, every cycling course in the Padres Pedal event gave participants the unusual opportunity to ride across the Coronado Bridge, which is usually closed to pedestrians and cyclists. Everyone I spoke with was excited about this opportunity, but Dr. David Brenner, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences at University of California San Diego, shared that he was especially excited for this opportunity, saying, “I’ve always wanted to ride across the Coronado Bridge. Now I’m going to get to do it.” Not only that, but Dr. Brenner, and every other participant in the event, was getting this unique experience while also raising vital funds for the innovative research. I was really impacted by the energy of everyone around me, who clearly understand that, while this was a life-changing experience for event participants like us, we in turn provided life-saving opportunities for those fighting cancer. This is what kept us all motivated and it is certainly what has me inspired to return and contribute year after year.
Looking around the stadium, I saw participants filled with joy and excitement both as they began their rides and ended them, . There was a connection between everyone involved, and I truly feel that connection is a big part of what makes the Padres Pedal event so special. I was able to talk to a few other people who participated and ask them what it was like for them to be a part of Padres Pedal the Cause’s 2018 event. Just as I experienced, I heard again and again how special and positive an event it was for each person. Richie Lauridsen said, “This was a great experience. It was so cool to have a way to give that’s so connected to the heart of San Diego. The family-friendly event was a great opportunity to take in the city all while supporting a great cause.” The personal nature of the event also touched many participants, making the experience even more meaningful. For me, too, this was one of the best parts of being at Padres Pedal the Cause. Kristin Ehlers explained, “I loved seeing everyone’s tributes to family members and loved ones along the 5K route, reminding us why we were there and what a meaningful cause we were working toward. Bringing San Diegans together to impact the cancer research being done right here in our community was very special. I had a loved one who spent a lot of time at Rady Children’s Hospital, one of the beneficiaries, which made it even more special and important to me personally to support this cause specifically.” It was impossible to leave at the end of the event without feeling that you had heard from the people we were helping to support. I saw families and survivors out on the field with me, and I could literally see why this event is so essential.
Hearing from Cancer Survivors Among the Participants
Nearly everyone participating had had their lives touched by cancer in some way, but it was a particularly powerful day for the participants and families around us still fighting cancer. Gideon Robinson, an 9-year-old who has been fighting Leukemia for 3 years, and on the day of the event, had 100 days left of treatment, explained, “It’s pretty cool. Raising money to help… other fighters out there.“ Just before the first wave of The Century riders took off, Gideon’s father A.J. asked riders and volunteers at the stadium to take a moment to think about the people and families fighting cancer. He expressed how important the event was to him and to his family saying, “We always enjoy this event. It’s such a special cause. … Every team—they go through a lot of work to raise money for all the hospitals… and it all stays in the local community. 100% of it. So, it’s easy to get behind an organization that’ll do something like that and provide to everybody.” It was an honor to be there for that moment, and I felt that same sense of gratitude every time I spoke to a cancer fighter during the event. The personal nature and generous spirit of this event really does motivate Padres Pedal participants like me every step of the way.
Walking around the stadium, it was easy to see that there are so many stories of families and individuals helped by the research conducted by Padres Pedal beneficiaries at UC San Diego’s Moore’s Cancer Center, Sanford Burnham Prebys, the Salk Institute, and Rady Children’s Hospital. One participant, Duncan Thomas, was given 7-12 months to live after learning his Stage IV melanoma had metastasized into his lungs and liver. Because of a clinical trial lead by Dr. Greg Daniels at Moores Cancer Center, Thomas is still alive today and was at the event with us riding and cheering us all along. Soledad “Sol” Albino, who was also at the event, spinning with her team Bill’s Angels, had to fight through a Stage III Wilm’s tumor at the age of 12, while her mother, who had been deported to Mexico when Sol was four, was fighting ovarian cancer at the same time. Sol fought with one idea in mind: “Do it for her.” One year later, Sol was cancer free and joining us to help raise funds to end cancer. Time and again, I heard stories like these drive participants like me to stay motivated and involved in Padres Pedal. It’s hard not to feel humbled by the strength of cancer fighters and survivors, and knowing we were all working together for one goal was so powerful. No matter how someone takes part in this event, they know they are helping to raise funds that save lives. Because of the work Padres Pedal helps make possible, both Duncan Thomas and Soledad Albino were able to be there to participate in this year’s event. I could not think of a better reason to get involved with Padres Pedal. This is why we ride.
The Participants are the Heart of The Event
Whether the participants around me were taking part for the first time in 2018, or whether they’ve taken part every year since our San Diego Pedal the Cause events began, the Padres Pedal cancer fighting community of survivors, families, children, doctors, and researchers is like no other. From the cancer survivors and beneficiary researchers riding side-by-side on the longest course, to the 3-year-old in a superhero cape riding with training wheels on the youth track, it was clear to me that each and every person involved with Padres Pedal helps change lives.
Padres Pedal is proud of the work we’re able to do together to raise essential funds for life-saving cancer research. With the help of fundraisers, donors, volunteers, and sponsors, Padres Pedal is able to donate every cent raised directly to collaborative research cancer projects and clinical trials at the four beneficiaries. So far, Padres Pedal the Cause has been able to fund 52 projects to help prevent, treat, and study various cancers with the ultimate goal of eradicating cancer altogether.
I learned that the final results for the 2018 Padres Pedal the Cause event were unprecedented. We were able to expand our community with the addition of a new 5K run/walk to the event, we reached our largest annual fundraising total to date, a recorded number of grants were awarded for collaborative cancer research projects, and for the first time ever, five clinical trials were funded. Incredibly, the addition of the 2018 fundraising brought Padres Pedal’s six-year donation grand total to over $10 million invested in San Diego. I could not be prouder of being a part of the effort and heart that every single participant puts in for Padres Pedal the Cause, and because of that support, Padres Pedal is able to do incredible things to accelerate cures for cancer. Padres Pedal is thrilled by the impact we have been able to make together so far, and I am so proud to have been a part of meeting these goals. You have the opportunity to have a measurable effect on the world of cancer research by getting involved, too!
Join Us and Become a Part of This Extraordinary Event
Now that you’ve heard a bit more about what it was like for me to be a part of the Padres Pedal the Cause event in 2018, it’s your turn to join us for our next event! Be a part of this incredible community working together to create a world without cancer by registering to take part. Registration is now open for this year’s Padres Pedal the Cause event, and we invite you to join us at Petco Park on November 16th, 2019. I know it will be an empowering, memorable experience for you, too, and I can tell you that becoming a member of this community is extremely rewarding. I was able to see that each participant is important to Padres Pedal the Cause, and I know that you can bring that something special to the event that is unique to only you.
Whether you are part of a team, taking part on your own, or finding a way to donate from afar, participants are the reason Padres Pedal has been able to accomplish everything they’ve accomplished so far. Now you can make an impact with us. Register here and find out for yourself what it’s like to be a participant in a Padres Pedal the Cause event. No matter how you choose to take part your first time, I can tell you that your participation truly makes a difference. Whether you ride, run, walk, spin, volunteer, donate, or cheer, everyone can participate and join us in the fight to help end cancer. There’s no wrong way to help Padres Pedal create a world without cancer, and I can promise it will have a lasting impact on you and your life. I’ll see you there!