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ROCK the RIDGE to benefit LIVESTRONG with local Cancer Fighter in New Haven, CT on 9/18/2011
Join Rica Mendes, LIVESTRONG Leader & recently diagnosed cancer fighter, her family & friends on a mountain bike adventure at West Rock Ridge in New Haven, CT and to raise $5,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation!
Proceeds will be donated to the Lance Armstrong Foundation via LIVESTRONG Leader, and recently diagnosed cancer fighter, Rica Mendes' LIVESTRONG Challenge Account at http://austin2011.livestrong.org/
Mendes, however, began organizing this event long before her own personal battle with cancer began. "I'd been dreaming of putting together a mountain bike event with EFTA in Connecticut a year and a half ago. There are so many charity road rides across the country, and in the New England area, but no mountain bike events. Especially with Lance winning Leadville 100 in 2009, and after EFTA was directly touched by cancer with the loss of a beloved racer, it just seemed like the right thing." Mendes has been a LIVESTRONG Leader with the Lance Armstrong Foundation since September 2009, when she began riding in honor of her Mary Kay Cosmetics National Director, Darlene Berggren, who was fighting cancer at the time. Berggren lost her battle in the fall of 2010, so Mendes continued riding and fundraising in honor of friends and family.
That changed, however, on July 19 when she got the call from the Breast Center Navigator at Stamford Health Systems that what was presumed to be calcification of the right breast on what should have been a baseline mammogram was, in fact, cancer.
"One in three of us will be touched by cancer at some point in our lives. That's a fact," Mendes says. "I just didn't expect it to be me - not now." According to FDA standards, Mendes wasn't due to have her first mammogram for several years. However, her employer's office management team hosted a health fair that provided free mammograms, and she chose to get screened as a precaution and for future reference only.
"I contacted LIVESTRONG after that baseline mammogram showed something irregular, and within days, well before the biopsy was performed confirming the cancer, I had an instant support network - contacts, reference material, nurses and others ready to answer questions. I had an army of supporters at the ready, just waiting for my signal to help me put my cancer fight into place. And now, I feel empowered. I feel like no matter how lost or scared I, personally, get, there is a huge group of people supporting me to help pick me back up again and show me how to live strong. I am still in the diagnosis phase, and I know I have a long road ahead, but I am already eternally grateful for all that LIVESTRONG has done for me to date. More than ever, I want to give back to them. This race is one way I can."
The majority of EFTA's races are centered around the New Hampshire area, but there has been a Connecticut connection to the organization in the past. "I'd heard there used to be races in Connecticut, but the promoters stopped running the races. There are such beautiful trails here, that I not only wanted to share the LIVESTRONG mission with my fellow mountain bike racers, I wanted to share the trails we have here."
Mendes started working with fellow racer, Sean Drew, on this project when his friend's cancer took a turn for the worse a year or so ago. Drew is an experienced mountain biker from the area, and has been riding the West Rock Ridge trails for years. For him, this is a wonderful opportunity to challenge his fellow racers from EFTA, as well as local racers, to some exciting trails.
Every registered rider will receive a gift bag full of cycling goodies, gift certificates and other items, be entered to win prizes, and a LIVESTRONG wristband. Additional LIVESTRONG wristbands and other items will be available to those who choose to make donations to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Zane's Cycles of Branford, CT will be providing technical support. REI will also be on hand, and providing support. First County Bank has provided bags for all racers and ZiCO Coconut Water will be supplying riders with refreshments. Prizes for the top three finishers in their classes will include RoadID Gift Certificates, Trek Travel jerseys and more.
In addition to the race, there will be a fun ride in the morning and other surprises! Be sure to bring friends and family to enjoy the festivities while you ride! Join us, raise awareness and enjoy the trails!
All riders and racers are asked to try and raise funds for LIVESTRONG. Unlike many charity bike rides in the area, while riders and racers are requested to try and raise at least $180, no one's credit cards will be charged if they do not meet this goal. The individual that raises the most will be awarded a special Yellow Jersey as well as recognition at the event. Fundraising details will be sent to you after registration.
Special thanks to the Eastern Fat Tire Association (EFTA) & sponsors REI, Zane's Cycles, RoadID, Zico & First County Bank.
About EFTA: EFTA is a non-profit organization of off-road cyclists dedicated to promoting safe, fun and high quality events for both recreational and competitive cyclists, promoting responsible riding through education and assuring continued regional trail access.
About LIVESTRONG/Lance Armstrong Foundation:
LIVESTRONG serves people affected by cancer and empowers them to take action against the world's leading cause of death. Created as the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, the organization is now known publicly by its powerful brand -- LIVESTRONG -- and is a leader in the global movement on behalf of 28 million people around the world living with cancer today. Known for its iconic yellow wristband, LIVESTRONG has become a symbol of hope and inspiration to people affected by cancer around the world. Since its inception, the organization has raised more than $400 million for the fight against cancer. For more information, visit LIVESTRONG.org.
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We believe in what LIVESTRONG represents and we do what we can, through fundraising, programming, riding, running and swimming, to raise awareness for the 28 million living with cancer today in the Fairfield County, CT & Westchester County, NY areas.