Chris Fernandez first rode in the third annual 24 Foundation in 2004 after being recruited by his friend Mike Weiss. At the time, he knew nothing of the organization, the cause or the amazing people behind it. That all quickly changed as Chris immediately got hooked. He grew more involved in the organization and by 2007 he was actively participating in the event each year and joined the Booty Crew with his wife, Beth.
Then Chris got sick.
Doctors found a brain tumor in early 2008, and everything changed. He became one of the people he’d been riding for all those years. Shortly after his diagnosis, Chris underwent brain surgery. Despite his diagnosis and surgery, Chris was committed to participatimng in 24 Foundation as he had year after year, and was named top fundraiser of the 2009 event. However, that year Chris rode started the event in the survivor lap on the back of a tandem because he was too weak to pedal himself.
“The survivor lap is special to me each and every year,” said Chris Fernandez, long-time 24 Foundation rider and cancer survivor. “It’s nothing short of a reaffirmation of how incredible it is to be alive.”
He relishes in seeing the same familiar faces on the survivor lap every year, especially one man who struggled with a brain tumor the exact same year as Chris. The two rarely see each other, but they make a point to ride the survivor lap together year after year.
“24 Foundation is like a family reunion,” Chris said. “I look forward to seeing friends that I only see once a year.”
24 Foundation is a tradition for the Fernandez family. The last weekend in July is blocked off their calendars every year, and they do not intend to ever miss it. Chris’s wife, Beth and their daughter volunteer in the Kid’ Zone each year, and one of his sons actively records video during the event. At least one of his kids always rides the survivor lap with him; and his dad, Wayne, rides as well.
Chris is the team captain of Team Impact and has a fundraising goal of $3,000. For Chris, 24 Foundation is about fellowship, fundraising and participation over miles ridden.
Join Chris in making a impact in the local and national cancer community. Register here for 24 Foundation Charlotte.