Sean Beaver, cancer survivor, had been actively looking for opportunities to give back to the cancer community when he first heard about 24 Foundation from a friend who received an email from the Ulman Cancer Fund asking for volunteers for the ride. Beaver was happy to see this ride was local in Columbia. Beaver and his two friends, who would eventually establish the team, have many connections to cancer. Sean himself was diagnosed with Ameloblastoma in 2004 and had a small section of his jaw and surrounding tissue removed.
Beaver describes the team name as a play on words and their association with biking. “Wholly” is meant to represent the belief that the team is in this fight against cancer together and no one is alone; “Spokes” is meant to reflect the idea that we’re all extensions of a central point and radiate outward to support an outer circle. The name is also a play on the saying “Holly smokes”.
Team Wholly Spokes’ fundraising tactics include traditional methods like emailing friends and family. They also take advantage of the tools available in the 24 Foundation Participant Center. The team is currently working on a new concept for fundraising that involves sponsorships and offset purchases. Last year with just two members, the team raised over $2,000. This year, Wholly Spokes would like to be in the $5,000 – $10,000 range.
Beaver has this advice to give to first time riders:
- Expect to be sore, but know it’s worth it.
- Expect to meet some pretty cool people.
- Expect to meet people who inspire you.
- Expect to get wet if it rains.
- Expect to be taken care of because 24 Foundation thinks of everything.
- Expect to have a great time.
- Most importantly – make sure your bike has lights for night riding because there’s nothing better than riding as the sun is coming up.
The ride reminds Beaver of how fortunate he is and gives him a way to do something that will hopefully someday help put an end to cancer. A turning point for Beaver was in 2009 when a few members of the team were riding in the event.
“We approached a man standing on the side of the road holding a sign that simply said, ‘Thank you for riding. My son has cancer. He’s only 5,’” says Sean Beaver, team captain of Wholly Spokes. “That changed my life.”