From the time they’re babies, children have an innate desire to help when they see another child hurting. As they grow older, that empathy for others grows right along with them.
Unfortunately, kids are often limited on how they can help on a grand scale. Their hearts are bigger than their financial means, and it’s hard to volunteer when you can’t leave the house without mom or dad in tow.
However, on October 6, kids as young as 3 can play a huge role in the fight against cancer during their own special event at the annual Pedal The Cause (PTC) cycling fundraising challenge
. For a $25 donation, young cyclists are invited to join the PTC Kids Challenge
from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. to see how many one-mile loops they can ride in one hour, and at the same time, raise awareness for children’s cancer research.
Said Lauren Cooper, program manager for PTC via email, “While fundraising isn’t a requirement of Kids Challenge participants, children are encouraged to fundraise like regular riders. Children, much like adults, have parents, grandparents and other family members who have been affected by cancer, and the Kids Challenge is a great way to give them an outlet to raise money and join the fight against cancer.”
In addition to the Challenge itself, kids can also enjoy the Ameren Kids Zone from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring a climbing wall by Upper Limits, arts and crafts, Clown Docs from St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and free Chill Frozen Yogurt.
Helping children in the hospital
The Kids Challenge is just one of the many events during the PTC weekend. This annual event features four different rides throughout St. Louis on October 7, from 15 miles to 75 miles, so you can find a course that meets both your cycling and fundraising commitment comfort levels. If spinning’s more your style, PTC is also hosting a Spin Tent at Soldier’s Memorial starting at 8 a.m. that same day.
One hundred percent of the money raised by PTC stays right here in St. Louis to fund cancer research at The Siteman Cancer Center and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The efforts of these incredible researchers are helping patients like 14-year-old Clare Blasé, a freshman at Nerinx Hall, in their battles against cancer.
“PTC gives us hope that one day, there will be a cure for cancer,” Blasé remarked via email. “It gives us hope that one day our lives won’t be all about medicine and seeing the doctor more than we see our best friends. It gives us hope that one day, our biggest worries will be what outfit to wear. So many children are having to grow up way too fast, but PTC gives us all hope that one day, we can all just be kids.”
Blasé has truly taken PTC’s mission to heart. While receiving chemotherapy at Children’s Hospital last year, she helped get 113 people to join the Hospital’s PTC team and raised more than $53,000. “I even got my whole eighth grade class to ride, and each one of them raised at least $250 – mostly through $10 to $20 donations.”
For Blasé’s mom, Cindy, who rode the 15 mile course alongside her husband and son in Clare’s honor, PTC has made an incredible difference for her family.
“As a parent, being told that your child has cancer is pretty much like someone taking a full swing with a baseball bat to your head,” said Cindy. “PTC means that someday and hopefully soon, parents won’t have to experience this. PTC is providing a way that people can help the experts to help your sick child.
I know that I can’t make Clare better by myself; I truly believe that if we all work together, we can find a way to beat this horrible disease. A cancer diagnosis brings overwhelming feelings of fear and desperation; PTC gives us feelings of hope and empowerment. That means everything to us.”
For more information about the Kids Challenge and the PTC weekend, please visit www.pedalthecause.org.
By Nicole Plegge, Lifestyle Blogger for SmartParenting