#24FacesCancer – Oliver Stahl

Since its North Carolina inception, 24 Foundation events have spread to different cities. This year, the 24 Indianapolis event is sharing its mission internationally through the efforts and reach of Oliver Stahl. Stahl is in Indianapolis only for a few months, sent on a work assignment from his home in Kransberg, Germany, north of Frankfurt. Cycling is a hobby of Stahl’s and made for a good way to get better acquainted with his temporary home in Indiana. Once, while out on a bike ride, Stahl got stopped at a traffic light. Waiting for the light to change, “a lady in a big truck” stopped next to him and asked if they could talk. This big-trucked-lady turned out to be Nanci Bonfield, 24 Foundation’s Fundraising and Recruitment Coordinator in Indianapolis. Stahl pulled off to chat, where he was told about 24 Foundation, its mission, and the 24 Indianapolis event. Stahl had been looking for cycling events to be a part of, and the two exchanged emails. Deciding to ride as a solo participant, Stahl said that, “24 Foundation seemed to be a perfect opportunity to have a cycling challenge and do something good with it at the same time.”

Coincidentally, a similar event is happening back in Germany, called “Rad am Ring” the same weekend as the Charlotte event at the end of July. The 24 hour event gives teams a chance to do their own fundraising, and Stahl’s team there supports organizations that help children with health issues, including cancer. For past events, Stahl has been a part of a fundraising team consisting of 19 riders, riding under the name “24hforlife.” Stahl decided to expand the team’s reach by riding under the same name at 24 Indianapolis.

While Stahl does not plan on doing any recruiting in Indianapolis, he has already been through the process with his cycling community back home. To gain members and donors for the event in Germany, the 24 Indianapolis mission was shared with his cycling club, friends, and by talking to companies that then became sponsors. The same was done for fundraising, and within 24 hours Stahl had exceeded past twice the fundraising minimum and is now optimistic about exceeding a thousand dollars, all through email campaigning. As far as how the team is doing in Germany, they are closing in on $10,000! The team also built a website and as the event gets closer they want to get in local press and do more campaigning on social media.

For event day, Stahl plans on being on his bike for most of the 24 hours. There will, of course, be food and drink breaks, and he will have the ability to store supplies and have a place of respite with gracious colleagues that live in the area. “I have set my goal to break my 24 hour distance record, so it will have to be over 338 miles,” said Stahl. In terms of what will keep him moving during those long hours and hard miles, Stahl says there are two things. “One, I love the idea of using my passion for cycling to raise funds for people that are less fortunate than I am. Indianapolis has been a great host and this is a great opportunity to give back to the community.” His second reason is the same mission driving the rest of the participants and 24 Foundation as a whole: Cancer. “Cancer is one of the most challenging diseases that I know of. It comes in hundreds of different forms, typically hits you by surprise, and puts you out not only in a medically but more importantly emotionally challenging situation. Unfortunately in many cases patient support is focused on the medical condition and forgets about all the other factors. This is where 24 Foundation can be such an important help for patients.”

Since this will be Stahl’s first 24 Foundation event, he is most looking forward to seeing what the combined effort of funding cancer survivorship and navigation programs looks like when everyone gets together in Indianapolis on June 23rd and 24th. His biggest hope is to be able to make a difference for patients in his short-term community and nationally as well. Though he may be leaving Indiana before long, his efforts through 24 Indianapolis will surely not be forgotten and we hope only the best for Stahl to reach his fundraising and mileage goals!