One of the best parts about 24 Foundation events is how they bring people together. Walking around the Charlotte event’s “Bootyville” campsite or the 3 mile loop through the Myers Park neighborhood, you will see strangers cheering on strangers, family supporting their loved ones, and friends sharing their respect for those that inspire them. When a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, it can be difficult to find the means to show that encouragement. There is the ever-present, “Let me know if I can do anything for you,” and the common, “I’m here for you,” phrases that are shared to show that backup is there when it can be hard to think of what else to say. While any effort to show support is appreciated and kind, it can sometimes be difficult to accept help and to take others up on their kind offers. This is where having a way to show support in the community can be vital, providing the opportunity to make a difference on a larger scale. 24 Hours of Booty is more than just an event, it is a process of planning and fundraising, and it gives people that chance to show that they are there for their loved ones.
One such example of using 24 Hours of Booty as a means to show backing is through the friendship between Julie Pitt, a local wife and mother who was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkins Lymphoma in October of 2016, and her high school friend, Brian Young, a second year rider and participant on Team Libstrong. A cancer diagnosis is always unexpected, but it was particularly surprising to Julie, an active mother of a beautiful young girl with everything going for her, to hear that she had stage IV cancer. Thankfully, after completing a regimen of chemotherapy for six months, Julie was able to get the good news that she is in remission, especially good to hear while her husband was overseas on deployment. Although Julie had not heard of 24 Hours of Booty before, Brian had. Brian was introduced to 24 Foundation’s event through a co-worker, and participated in 2016 for the first time. This year, Brian’s mission became more personal as he was able to dedicate his fundraising efforts with his longtime friend in mind. Julie was impressed, stating, “The dedication to raise money and awareness is unbelievable. I am blessed to have benefitted from medicine improvements that made my fight a little easier to conquer. Anything I can do to help families and cancer patients feel supported and well taken care of is important to me.”
It is an incredibly joyful turn of events that Julie will be able to experience this year’s event from a standpoint of being in remission, her experience of going through a dozen chemotherapy treatments fueling her to cheer on all participants, including her friend. “I am now on the other side of my journey with cancer and I have gained a whole new perspective. I have been inspired by so many people who have reached out to me and fought with me through this hard time, I want to give all of this back and more!” She continued, “The fact that 24 Foundation gives us all a platform to raise awareness and money to fight cancer is a blessing! Cancer is tough if you fight it alone, but together we can beat it!”
From Brian’s point of view, he is excited to be a part of Team Libstrong, with over 100 participants and a group goal of raising over $100,000, while sharing his support for his high school friend. Through his time participating in 2016, he has been able to see firsthand how much of an uplifting event the 24 Hours of Booty experience is, stating that the it, “creates hope for all affected by cancer. [The organization] is a group of people who truly care and want to make a difference. To see the growth of this organization and the pride it creates is amazing. This is the one charity that I really stand behind and push all of my yearly efforts towards! It’s the true definition of ‘community’ and I am proud to be a part of it!”