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Cape woman leads charge in kids cancer fight

By Staff | Jul 17, 2015

The Children’s Cancer Research Fund concluded its first Great Cycle Challenge USA with outstanding results, surpassing its initial goal by more than 60 percent.

And a Cape Coral woman had a huge hand in that by raising the most money out of the more than 12,000 nationwide who took part in the month-long event.

Great Cycle Challenge is a national event that encourages riders of all fitness levels and ages to ride throughout the month of June and log their miles to fight kids’ cancer.

Wendy King raised $4,315 dollars in June, pedaling 301 miles as CCRF surpassed its initial goal of $1 million dollars and raised more than $1.6 million dollars for children’s cancer research.

King, a salesperson for QUIK, said she saw the event on Facebook and found it interesting and right up her alley.

“It was a kid’s charity for cancer, and who doesn’t want to help kids with cancer, right?” King said. “It was a no-brainer. I ride my bike all the time and this would get me out more.”

Taking her schedule into consideration, King set a goal of biking 100 miles and getting $1,000 in pledges. Cape Coral is loaded with bike trails, and her ability in sales should have made it easy to find pledges.

“I put it on Facebook and tagged a bunch of people I knew who could contribute. I hit up my sales team, and it just so happened I sent it to the president of the company,” King said. “He was in meetings with other executives, and he told them if they were late for meetings or caught texting he’d charge them $20 and donate it.”

In two days, they collected $500. Her company then matched it, and soon she was approaching companies such as Storm Smart, which also gave $500.

Her salesmanship also worked to convince her friend Shelly Erion to join her for the event and make the same original goal.

“We rode from one end of the island and back. We did about 40 miles in one day on that ride,” said Erion who booked more than 325 miles and raised almost $2,500 in pledges. “We do a lot of crazy events together and have competitions with each other, but I saw on her Facebook page she signed up and got me to do it with her.”

The success of the campaign is also due in large part to the top fundraising team that King was part of. It consisted of more than 400 riders nationwide rallying in honor of children’s cancer ambassador Ashlyne Thurber, 10, who died of cancer in May.

Ashlyne’s Army rode nearly 100,000 miles and raised more than $200,000.

“I got the e-mail that said we’re sorry about Ashlyne and it was a no-brainer to join up for that team,” King said.

In total, 12,500 riders pedaled 876,488 miles for the Great Cycle Challenge.

Participants set distance goals and tracked progress via the Great Cycle Challenge app and website while raising funds for childhood cancer research.

CCRF surpassed its goal thanks to donors nationwide who raised $238,896 on Kick Cancer’s Butt Day on June 17, which included a $100,000 donation by an anonymous donor.

“The generosity of our GCC-USA participants will help us continue revolutionizing childhood cancer treatments worldwide, bringing us closer to a cure than we’ve ever been before,” says John Hallberg, CEO of CCRF in a statement. “With more than $1.6 million dollars, at least eight research grants will be given to the best and brightest pediatric cancer clinicians and researchers.”

All funds raised go to support the work of CCRF to develop treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer.

King said that the important part was to ask people.

“I wasn’t afraid to ask people and everyone I asked did. People should know you’re doing a good thing and not be afraid to ask. Otherwise they won’t know to give,” King said.