When his father passed away from cancer six years ago, he searched for an event that would tie together bike riding and raising money for cancer research, as well as an organization focused on helping people with cancer. He finally found 24 Hours of Booty and the search was over.
“This was the event for me,” Michael Smith said.
Last year, Smith rode as the only member and team captain of team For Pete’s Sake. Although he is the only rider on his team so far this year, he plans to recruit family members and friends to join him in this experience. His team name For Pete’s Sake was first established at an American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event that Smith did the year that his father passed away.
“When we got to the event they told us that we needed a team name and I drew a blank,”Smith said. “One of my co-workers told me that we should call it ‘For Pete’s Sake’ in remembrance of my Dad.”
For Smith’s second year as a rider, he is determined to raise $2,500. If he does exceed this fundraising goal, then the Monday following the event he will go to work wearing a dress. This way, there is a fun incentive for his coworkers to cheer him on. As far as fundraising strategies, Smith plans to constantly remind people to donate to him via Facebook, Twitter, email, text, in person, etc. He also asks local businesses to hold events where a percentage of the proceeds go toward supporting him as a rider. For example, last year the California Tortilla in Gaithersburg, Maryland held what they call a “Spirit Night” where 25 percent of the orders between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. were donated to Smith if the customer told the cashier that they “hate cancer.”
Smith enjoys getting out there to riding with hundreds of other cyclists who hate cancer and ride to raise money for a good cause. His favorite part about 24 Hours of Booty is the camaraderie between the cyclists.
“There were a few cyclists who I just met at the event, but by the end of the 24 hours we were talking and joking around like we had known each other and been riding together for years,” says Smith.
The companionship he experienced made it easy for him to accomplish last year’s goal to ride until he couldn’t ride any more. He ended up riding a little bit over 136 miles and this year he plans on riding at least 150 miles. Although there were countless times during the ride when he wanted to pull over and quit, he pushed through.
“What changed my mind was two of the traffic people had huge smiles on their faces every time I would ride past them,” says Smith. “I never asked them their names, but they kept me going, as well as encouraged me to sign up this year and try harder to raise more money for the cause.”
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