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The Ride Of My Life

When I ride through Oregon this May, it will be my 4th year of Reach the Beach.  My first ride was 2008. I was motivated after Brian Reynolds passed away.   A group was riding with his father and daughter and it just felt like a kind thing to do. 

My grandfather and mother taught by example how important it was to give back.  I have my health, a wonderful family, great friends and a wonderful career.   Anyone this blessed should be thankful and give back! So raising money for research and riding my bike seemed like an ideal way of saying “Thank you”.    Reach The Beach is a fun and social ride.  I will see people from many areas of my life out on the route.   The route is well supported, it’s not too difficult and the meal and beverages at the beach post ride provide an unbelievable end to a very satisfying day.  

One thing that will make this year so special is the tremendous support I have received through my fundraising efforts. I have discovered a lot about what it takes to raise money toward such a great cause. First you have to believe in the cause. Then be relentless and shameless! Never be embarrassed to ask for a donation.  I’ll ask anyone for $10, $50 or $100 for a charitable cause.  You have to be organized as well.  I send an initial email blast with an emotional plea (make it personal) at 90 days, then again at 60, 15 and 7 days.  I use LinkedIn and Facebook to reach out tool.   I make sure to send a thank you for each donation the day I receive it. I use the RTB on line system for the initial “Thank you” and then call or send a personal note soon thereafter.  When in the lead, I use that momentum to keep people donating.   People want to be associated with an effort that is winning!  People are generous, but busy. Help them to remember that it feels good to give!

To me cancer is cancer and it simply sucks. Everyone has been impacted somehow by cancer.  So I view this as fighting a battle against all cancers.   ALA puts on an excellent event and it allows me to kick off my year of cycling by training for this event.   So selfishly I get my motivation in gear and in parallel get to help a good cause. 

If I were to give any advice to people fundraising for Reach the Beach this year I would tell them the following. Remember first and foremost the event is put on to raise money for cancer research.  Enjoy the ride, be safe, have fun but with minimal effort you can raise $500.  Imagine the impact if you simply add a couple hundred dollars to your total! It’s an awesome thing when you are helping others. Imagine how you would feel if you were the ill one and you knew strangers were trying to win this battle?  Be relentlessly shameless is asking your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors to support you.  They will love your passion and enthusiasm and offer up their support.  

Ben Joy 

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