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LIVESTRONG Leader Aims to Improve Life of Cancer Patients

Rafael MatosRafael Matos recently completed his Doctorate in Psychology, during which time he studied social and behavioral elements that affect the guilt felt by someone after surviving a traumatic event. In his self-imposed post-doctoral studies he hopes to find a parallel to soldiers demonstrating symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after coming back from war and the feelings of guilt for being alive that some cancer patients experience.

“I think we can learn a lot from what has been done with our military members and the experiences they had, and compare them to the behaviors of cancer survivors,” Rafael Matos said. “There are resources for psychological evaluation and treatment that are very similar. Some of these resources could be allocated to assist cancer survivors who exhibit similar behaviors to those of military members with PTSD. I would like to build a coalition that would explore these connections, and implement a program that can be used to support cancer survivors experiencing survivor guilt worldwide”

Even though there is still much that needs to be evaluated and implemented to improve the lives of people affected by cancer, Rafael believes that serving as a LIVESTRONG Leader allows him to assist and influence the establishment of programs for a better health of cancer patients. Rafael has served as a LIVESTRONG Leader for two years after being introduced to it in 2012 by a close friend. Having lost his grandfather to cancer at an early age and after having seen other family members and friends battling cancer, Rafael knew he wanted to be a part of the support system that assists patients to live productive lives.

“The best thing about being a LIVESTRONG leader is having the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, one person at a time,” Rafael said. “I have access to tremendous resources that I can make available to improve the lives of individuals from the moment of cancer diagnosis, through treatment and post treatment activities. It is very rewarding to see any one of these individuals living life full. I celebrate my own life every time I see them helped”.

Through LIVESTRONG Rafael met Bryan McMillan, also a LIVESTRONG Leader and team captain of Team BootySTRONG for 24 Hours of Booty Columbia. The meeting led him to participate in his first 24 Hours of Booty last year.


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Relax & Ride

Paul LemleThe reason to ride in 24 Hours of Booty is different for every individual, but most share one common reason – to support a great cause.  As a cancer survivor, Paul Lemle made the decision to join others in the fight against cancer. He has experienced first hand the physical, mental and emotional struggles of fighting cancer. Now that he has beaten the disease, he wants to help others as they continue to push forward.

“I decided to ride in 24 Hours of Booty because of the organization’s local beneficiary, the Ulman Cancer Fund,” said Paul Lemle.  “As a survivor, I share the mission to make sure no one fights alone. “

Unlike some folks who ride in the event to attain mileage goals, he prefers to relax and enjoy the ride. With hopes of good weather, he plans to ride in the Columbia event for what will be his second year.

“Booty is so easy – you really don’t need to train for it unless you are eyeballing a hairy personal goal,” Paul said.  “I’m bringing a beach cruising bike with a mobile boom box attached, and don’t plan to go very fast!”

The atmosphere has had a great impact on Paul. Being a very relaxed type of guy, enjoying Bootyville and its surroundings comes with great ease.

“The relaxed pace and fun atmosphere is what I enjoy most,” Paul said.  I had a great time with the other riders, including a late night cheering section turned water fight/rider ambush!”

Participating in 24 Hours of Booty has changed his entire outlook on the many different methods to fighting cancer. It has allowed him to stay involved and continue motivating others who are currently experiencing what he has previously been through with cancer.

“Being a 24 Hours of Booty rider gives me something new to talk about with folks who are wondering how they can fight for people with cancer,” Paul said.  “I’ve done the Ulman Fund’s ride to Key West the past two years, and Booty is a much more accessible challenge for people on the sidelines looking for a way to get in the game!”


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Win a Klipsch Wireless Portable Music System


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COLUMBIA RIDERS, our friends at Klipsch are really excited about 24 Hours of Booty.  We’re talking really, really excited. So excited that they want to give away Klipsch KMC 1 Portable Wireless Music System to one lucky rider!  (Did I mention that it comes in 24 Hours of Booty orange?) There are two ways to win an entry – we’re keeping it simple!

  1. Raise $100 or more between Tuesday, August 12 and Thursday, August 14 at 4:30 pm.
  2. Register to ride!

It will be a great week to get ahead on those fundraising commitments and start sending some emails! You can find tips on the best way to get started here. Good luck! The Fine Print: 

  1. Eligibility: This contest is open to all participants registered for the 24 Hours of Booty 2014. 24 Hours of Booty employees, board members and their families are not eligible.  
  2. Agreement to rules: Participation in the contest constitutes full and unconditional agreement to the decisions of 24 Hours of Booty, which are final. All prizes are contingent on availability of apparel sizes and are not transferable. 24 Hours of Booty reserves the right to substitute prizes as needed.
  3. Period. The contest begins August 12, 2014 at 12:01 a.m. and will end at 4:30 p.m. on August 14, 2014.
  4. Entry: Entries will be based on the above criteria. You must be registered to qualify for prizes. 
  5. Selection: 24 Hours of Booty will award one Klipsch KMC 1 Portable Wireless Music System.
  6. Release of Liability: By participating in this contest, you agree to releases and hold harmless 24 Hours of Booty, Klipsch and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, sponsors from any claim arising from your participation in this contest or use of the prize (including any travel or activity related thereto).

Tax Implications: All participants who receive more than $600 in incentives must fill out a 1099-MISC as per the IRS. This may result in taxable income for you and you should consult a tax professional with questions.

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A Message from Doug Ulman

24 Hours of Booty Columbia is just two weeks away! We invite you to join us August 23-24th at Columbia Gateway Business Park!

The funds raised through 24 Hours of Booty support survivorship programs through the Ulman Cancer Fund and LIVESTRONG Foundation. These programs are helping people who are affected by cancer right now. 

Check out this message from the founder of the Ulman Cancer Fund and CEO of the LIVESTRONG Foundation, Doug Ulman:

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Congrats to David Bentley – 2014 Go with Cigna Winner!

David Bentley Go with Cigna Winner 201424 Hours of Booty would not be possible without the help from all the people, organizations and companies in our community. One of those companies is Cigna, a global health service company that has aided employers and organizations worldwide to stay healthy since 1982. With over 35,000 employees and sales in more than 30 countries, Cigna plays a huge part in helping people improve their overall health. As a company that is active in working to support organizations and events in the community, Cigna’s participation, support and sponsorship of 24 Hours of Booty is a given.

“Participating with 24 Hours of Booty supports Cigna’s mission – to improve the health, wellbeing and sense of security of the customers we serve – and is a positive experience for everyone involved,” said Lisa Renee Hess, Director of Client Engagement at Cigna.

Every year, Cigna hosts the Go with Cigna contest, where they urge participants to share how their involvement in 24 Hours of Booty has helped them reach a health or wellness goal. This year’s top prize for the contest included prizes, such as free registration for 2015 24 Hours of Booty Charlotte and cycling dry fit shirts. The contest is a way to celebrate 24 Hours of Booty participants for their hard work in reaching health and wellness goals. The 2014 Go with Cigna winner is David Bentley, who, after multiple years of trying to ride with 24 Hours of Booty, did not let anything get in the way of participating this year. David even postponed a biopsy of his prostate to August 12 in order to be able to participate in 24 Hours of Booty.

“I find it ironic that after so many times not being able to make this fundraising ride for cancer research, the one time I get in, I face the possibility of having cancer myself,” David Bentley said. “But when the doctor did not like how my prostate felt and wanted to do a biopsy I told him I was not missing this ride.”

David is riding in honor of his father, Leroy Bentley, who lost his fight to prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in December 1995. Much like David, Cigna is also committed to riding with 24 Hours of Booty as a way to honor people affected by cancer. Each year Cigna employees ride together on Team Cigna to support someone they know that has been affected by cancer or for the experience itself. Team Cigna uses the ride to lead by example and demonstrate Cigna’s ongoing commitment and dedication to promote and maintain a healthy lifestyle and at the same time raising funds for local and national fighting cancer programs.

“Team Cigna riders sign up for 24 Hours of Booty each year enthusiastically – they love the cause and challenge of the event,” Lisa said.

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Peet’s Provides Perks

peets_coffee_lg_clr_contPeet’s Coffee & Tea has been serving great tasting and high quality coffee for the past four decades to coffee lovers all over the nation. With a passion and goal to continually strive to raise the bar for the coffee industry, Peet’s has also been supporting their customers by serving as a sponsor of 24 Hours of Booty for the past two years.

“We learned of this opportunity in late 2012 and sought to become a sponsor of 24 Hours of Booty as it is an event that helps support many customers that may enjoy our coffee experience,” Scott Clewis, District Sales Manager at Peet’s Coffee and Tea in Charlotte said. “We at Peet’s are big supporters of the Levine charity programs, as well as giving back to national and local charities across the US.”

Peet’s Coffee and Tea are strong supporters of the Levine Children’s Charity with Harris Teeter and the Children’s Miracle Network nationally, among many other programs. Being involved with 24 Hours of Booty has allowed Peet’s to give back to the beneficiaries that 24 Hours of Booty supports, but also to connect with individual riders across all 24 Hours of Booty locations. Peet’s Coffee  mainly support 24 Hours of Booty by providing coffee for all of the 24 hours that the events take place, but employees of Peet’s have found other ways to support the cause as well.

“I rode in the event last year and was accompanied by our Senior Director of Sales of Groceries from our home office in California,” said Scott. “It was a wonderful experience and a great way to support Peet’s strong passion and goal of giving back to local and national charities.”

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Be the Cure with Be the Match

Louise Hindal pictureWhen volunteering at packet pickup in 2009 with 24 Hours of Booty, Louise Hindal registered with Be the Match, simply because of the fact that she could save a life by donating something so small, it was too compelling not to get swabbed.

“I heard them [Be the Match] go through the details many, many times over the course of the 24 hours and it just seemed like something I had to do,” Louise said.

Three and a half years ago Louise got a call out of the blue — Be the Match needed her to go through blood tests to determine whether she was a match for someone. Since it was a time sensitive case it all moved pretty quickly. After it was confirmed that Louise was a match, she underwent a pre-donation physical before going in to donate.

“During the transplant they drilled four small holes into my hip bones and drew out the bone marrow through them,” Louise said. “I was under anesthesia for the entire procedure that lasted for about an hour. I remember waking up and feeling a bit sore; it hurt to sit in certain ways. I was on pain killers for a day, but besides that they healed up pretty quickly.”

On March 17, 2011, Louise’s bone marrow was extracted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem and the next day doctors at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington transplanted the healthy marrow into Jordan Jemsek, now 9 years old.

Donating her bone marrow did not affect Louise physically, but emotionally it was an amazing experience. Knowing that she was lucky enough to be able to save a young girl’s life still gives her goose bumps.

“Life is such a beautiful thing and knowing that I could save a life by giving a small piece of myself was so powerful to me,” Louise said.” It made and still makes me so happy that I was able to do this.”

Louise did not know until after the procedure that she was donating her bone marrow to Jordan, although she had her suspicions. When Louise first got the call about being a potential match there were some articles in the Charlotte Observer about Jordan, which seemed to match the information Louise knew about the girl she was donating to.

“Our heritages are similar so my family always hypothesized it might be her [Jordan],” said Louise. “When we finally learned it was indeed Jordan and I got to meet her, it made the experience even more incredible. It was amazing and unreal to meet Jordan. Not only did I match her, but we had lived 15 minutes apart! Since our meeting we have definitely kept in touch. It feels as if we are almost related at this point – we do share the same blood now after all.”

Louise recommends registering with Be the Match to others as it can easily turn into one of the most fulfilling experiences of your life. Not only is there little sacrifice involved in doing something so great, but it is rare that you get the chance to do something as concrete as saving a life, which could be one of the most rewarding acts in your life.

“Based on my experience I would donate again in a heartbeat,” Louise said.

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Deloitte Delivers Support on All Levels – From Sponsorship to Ridership

del_pri_rgb (1)Cancer touches the lives of all who are involved with 24 Hours of Booty including our sponsors. Members from the Deloitte Team graciously shared their connections to cancer and why they ride. 

Like many families, those at Deloitte have been touched by cancer in numerous ways – 24 Hours of booty is a great way for us to recognize and honor those we’ve lost, support those in the midst of their battles, and encourage those working to support patients and advance research.

Our team has been most impressed — really overwhelmed — by the strength and courage those around us fighting their battles with cancer have shown.  We decided to reach out to our team members and ask them to share their stories.

One team member recently lost a friend in her mid-30s to cancer.  She had dedicated her life to finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease that our team member’s daughter struggles with on a daily basis.  Through his friend’s passion and dedication, right up to the end of her life, new therapies, testing and promising drugs have been brought forward that are extending the life expectancy of CF patients.  She continued to use her natural skills and talents to benefit others right up through the end of her life.  We can think of no better way to honor her memory than to support the fight against cancer with the same passion she showed towards Cystic Fibrosis.

Another team member shared how he has been touched by cancer and recognizes how lucky those around them have been. His father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 and after successful treatment, has been completely cancer free ever since. However, not all have been so fortunate. At the completion of the treatment, his father’s hospital group returned to the hotel from their last hospital follow-up and awaiting family immediately knew something was wrong. One of the patients in the group was missing. He had not received the same cancer-free news as the rest of the group, and he and his wife were still at the hospital discussing options with doctors.

A third team member’s mother was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in 2009.  His mother underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and is currently being treated with an oral chemotherapy medication.  His mother gave up smoking during that time, and has also been strong in her fight against cancer.  While her health continues to be challenged, she’s never lost hope or given up her will to fight on and maintain her quality of life, and her spirit.

We all look forward to the day when no one has to experience these events.

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2013 Go with Cigna Contest Winner: Gary’s Road to Health in Honor of Jim Baginski

Gary WootenAs a proud sponsor of 24 Hours of Booty, Cigna hosts the Go with Cigna contest each year, where they urge riders to share how participating with 24 Hours of Booty have helped them reach a health or wellness goal. Last year’s winner was Charlotte rider, Gary Wooten.

At 27 years old Gary was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a disorder that affects motor skills. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there are medications, surgery and multidisciplinary management that can offer relief from symptoms. Five years after the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, Gary was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Fighting both disorders throughout his life has not been easy, but Gary has stayed positive. This year in April Gary turned 60 years old and is a proud fighter and survivor of Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

In 2006, Gary underwent one of his treatments for Parkinson’s disease, a brain surgery to install a deep brain stimulator (DBS). The procedure is common in patients with Parkinson’s disease, as it can deactivate parts of the brain that cause the disease and associated symptoms without damaging the brain. The day before the surgery, Gary got a call from his sister Connie, announcing that his brother-in-law Jim had lost his life to renal carcinoma.

“I immediately told her [Connie] I would postpone my surgery,” said Gary Wooten, Charlotte rider. “But Connie and Jim had discussed this possibility, and Jim had told Connie that he wanted me to go ahead with the surgery no matter what happened. Jim was an engineer by training and had been fascinated with the DBS procedure and was persistent that I needed to get it done.”

The results of the surgery were dramatic for Gary. As with many other patients, the surgery provides relief from a full range of the disease’s symptoms, such as walking difficulty, stiffness, rigidity and slowness of movement.

As a way of honoring Jim, Jim’s friends, who were Charlotte residents created the Baginski team and participated in 24 Hours of Booty. Gary joined the team shortly after it was created and has rode in the memory of his brother-in-law ever since.

“Cycling is one of the best ways for me to manage Parkinson’s disease,” Gary said. “My participation in 24 Hours of Booty has reaffirmed my enjoyment of cycling. I have Jim to thank for achieving this health goal.”

This year Gary is looking forward to riding close to his goal of 25 miles, seeing old friends and meeting the people involved with 24 Hours of Booty. Most of all, Gary is happy that he is even able to participate to honor his brother-in-law Jim.

“Every year when I ride that first lap I can’t help but to think of Jim,” Gary said. “He would have participated in this event right of the bat for anyone.”

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Bryan is your + one

Bryan Shields & + one storyOn February 26, 2007, Bryan Shield’s life was changed forever. After multiple visits to the doctor due to weight loss and extreme fatigue in the past couple of months, the doctor found a nine centimeter tumor above Bryan’s left lung and a small cyst on his kidney. Bryan was diagnosed with stage two of an aggressive form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. For the next couple of months Bryan underwent six cycles of chemotherapy and localized radiation.

“The cycles were a mixed bag of nausea, cravings, steroid swelling, vomiting, crying, raging, sleeping, insomnia and loving,” said Bryan Shields, veteran 24 Hours of Booty Charlotte rider. “Loving both the life I now knew was temporal and the people that had chosen to share it with me.

After completing four and a half months of chemotherapy, Bryan and his wife had their first encounter with 24 Hours of Booty as they came out to Myers Park in Charlotte to cheer on the riders. At this point Bryan was struggling just walking the three mile loop and felt frustrated that he wasn’t able to ride. Thus, he vowed he would be back a year later and ride. 24 Hours of Booty 2008 started off with the “Survivor Lap” – honoring everyone that has battled or is battling cancer. The lap changed Bryan’s perspective of how he saw survivorship.

“Survivorship was not about me, it was not singular – it was about the relationships,” Bryan said. “Survivorship was never feeling alone. So after riding 200 miles, sharing laughs and tears, Jen [Bryan’s wife]and I decided to start + one. Its motivation comes from all of you – it’s past, present and future thank you for being there and a reminder that you are never alone.”

+ One is a team that according to Bryan is set up to grow organically. Increasing the number of riders is not something they crave; instead they want to make relational connections with their members. Bryan enjoys getting to know all the team members and welcomes anyone to join his team.

“Relational growth allows us to be there for each other during the other times of the year, providing that + one bump whenever and wherever it is needed,” Bryan said. “So our number of riders may raise or shrink slightly, but our mission is to grow closer.”

Even though + one is not focusing on expansion per se, they have been able to branch out with members in the other 24 Hours of Booty cities. With teammates riding in Indianapolis and Atlanta, it is important for Bryan to support his teammates in their pursuit of any and all relational endeavors that promote hope and healing.

“My good friend and teammate Jessica Hindman put it best – the end of July is crescendo of a large emotional wave for many of us and we, as a team, friends and family truly need time to recharge,” Bryan said. “That being said, the endurance side of the challenge really excites a group of our teammates, so we’ll probably find ourselves riding in events outside Charlotte. And this year, Matt Parker is the photographer for all four events, which is something that we as a team want to support him in.”

Throughout the year + one runs two to three team prime events to get the fundraising of the team members going. Through a generous anonymous benefactor, + one is able to use the funds to reward members that raise the most over a week’s time.

“It’s fun because the $250 reward raises at least four times that amount for the team,” Bryan said. “It’s a win-win situation in our book. We have found that keeping the events short allows for more members to participate – getting after a one week push regardless of the disparities between their teammates’ overall fundraising goals.”

+ One has also developed their own team fundraising events that have become traditions. The first official fundraising event happened in the spring of 2012 – a Yard Sale. The event required a lot of work, but all the members loved that it had brought them all together. The success of the Yard Sale brought + one to the conclusion that they were going to put together both a local and virtual Bake Sale.

“It essentially became a way to engage the folks on a causal Saturday morning walk and have a block party with our friends,” Bryan said.

While the Bake Sale has become + one’s favorite event among Charlotte teammates, their Bike Raffle event, put together by + one team member, Matt Parker, is definitely their most popular. To this date, the Bike Raffle 2014 event has raised close to $6,000. + One is well on their way of reaching their fundraising goal of $35,000 for the Charlotte event next week.

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