At 24 Foundation, we exist due to the dollars raised by our participants. Each year participants return with new motivation and more momentum to fundraise in creative ways. Melinda Arthur or “The Missus” as her riding friends know her, has been involved with 24 Foundation since 2009, riding in 15 total events since that time and makes her fundraising interesting year after year.
Melinda is a member of Team Collin, who rides in 24 Indianapolis event. Around Thanksgiving of 2008, one of the members of her Road Bike Review blog started to talk about his son Collin’s diagnosis and treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. From then on, her and the other members started to help Collin’s family any way they could over the next 18 months. Some of their creative techniques included building and auctioning off a bike and starting a shave-a-thon. Collin passed away shortly after his second birthday and in his memory members of the road bike review blog rallied to create a team in his honor.
Spread out across the country, the members of Team Collin come together each year, meeting in Indianapolis a few days before the event. This time serves as a “family reunion” of sorts, and is one aspect of the event Melinda loves the most. Outside of her personal group of riding friends, Melinda has also encountered many other people during the events, establishing life-long connections with them. She also enjoys the Butler University area and how accommodating they are to the event and its participants. Over the course of her time riding there, Melinda has noticed a large increase in involvement, which touches her heart greatly.
“I rode 100 miles on a 1955 Raleigh Robin Hood- the restored gas pipe steel English cruiser [weighed] 40 pounds and was outfitted with a basket full of beads and swag for the kids along the route like in a Mardi Gras parade,” said Melinda Arthur, long-time 24 Foundation supporter. “It was a real challenge and I hurt a lot pushing that pig around the course 60-some times.”
Outside of riding, Melinda is unique in the way that she fundraises. Since her first time riding, Melinda has utilized her own artwork to contribute to her fundraising. She created pet portraits and donates $12 from every sale to her fundraising.
“This [method of fundraising] allows me to combine three of my passions: oil painting, fur babies, and serving the cancer community,” said Melinda.
Outside of her paintings, she also writes personal notes and cards, sends out emails and puts in Facebook plugs. She also follows the traditional route of “begging early and often.” In total, Melinda believes she has raised between eight and $10,000, showing that creativity pays off.
For 2017, Melinda is looking to not only raise as much money as she possibly can, but also help spread the word about 24 Foundation and LIVESTRONG. During the event, Melinda is planning to break her face smiling, drain her tears, push her body and remember the loved one’s lost and celebrate the loved one’s who survived.
Year after year, Melinda goes through this process of setting goals for herself and even though she pushes her body to exhaustion, she still comes back. For her it is more than the money you raise or the pain you feel, but rather the purpose for riding. Being a part of 24 Foundation has given Melinda a purpose in life, which is to make a difference in the cancer fighting community.
“I go back every chance I get because I really believe in the cause, love the people involved and have a lot of respect for the associated charities,” Melinda said. “I will leave this world having done something that truly matters.”
For Melinda, riding around the course means riding for her husband who is a survivor, as well as her eight immediate family members who have fought cancer.
In terms of the pain, Melinda just thinks about what her husband has always told her, “This may be hard, but chemo is harder.”