At 24 Foundation, our mission of inspiring and engaging communities to make an immediate impact on the lives of people affected by cancer is our constant motivation. Longtime rider and last year’s “Go with Cigna” winner, Dave Turpin, is a picture of the impact 24 Foundation makes in the lives of our participants.
Last year, Dave submitted an essay to the ‘Go with Cigna’ essay contest, just as he had done for several years prior. For him, the topic wasn’t an overly difficult one as it focused on the impact 24 Foundation has had on his life physically. Dave is a team captain, and over the course of his time riding he has seen a big change in his and his teammates’ fitness levels. Despite his passion for the topic, Dave was completely caught off guard when his essay was selected as the winner. While winning was nice, for him, the best part was the opportunity to speak at the starting line before the Charlotte event began last year. “It was the perfect time and place to publicly say thanks to the Booty staff and volunteers who make the event possible and for the cause we are all supporting.”
Prior to 2009, Dave was a runner with no personal interest in cycling, but over time, his body caught up to him, forcing him to consider other modes of exercise. Thus, in 2009, Dave chose to get involved with 24 Foundation. Not knowing what to expect, he went in to his first event extremely unprepared, bringing only his bike, a chair, and a blanket. Even though his initial experience wasn’t good, he still walked away with a new perspective on the organization. His main takeaway from that first event was seeing Robert Coggins ride the course on his unicycle. It motivated him to prepare more for the next year. In fact, he chose to drop from two wheels and ride with one. “To me, unicycling wasn’t a replacement for cycling. It was a replacement for running,” he said. The learning curve for Dave was slow, and his expectations on a unicycle were low, but eventually he got the hang of it; enough that he was able ride his unicycle in the next Charlotte event. To this day, Dave continues to sit atop his one wheel lap after lap.
For this year’s event, Dave has already established several goals for himself and his team. As a part of his event preparation, Dave is looking to increase his annual mileage to at least 1500 miles, with more variance in how and where he rides. He is especially looking to ride more off-road and at high elevation with the purpose of challenging himself physically. Dave has set a team fundraising goal of $10,000 and a personal goal of $2,500. Lastly, Dave has set an audacious goal to ride at least 100 miles during the event.
Being involved in the 24 Foundation event is about more than just reaching goals for Dave. Participating is about representing all people impacted by cancer, including his immediate family members. In the last four years, Dave’s family has seen several bouts with cancer. His mother was diagnosed with and survived breast cancer, his father passed away from lung cancer, and his sister has survived stage 4 lung cancer. She even got to participate in the survivor’s lap at last year’s event, riding in the pace car.
Dave also appreciates the support he gets from donors, which makes it easier for him to return to the event each year. “Just when I think my donors have had enough of my requests for support dollars, someone tells me about a personal cancer experience. They tell me to keep going, to keep fundraising, and that what we’re doing matters,” said Dave. “At that point I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.” Dave realizes that when he steps on to the course, he is riding for more than just himself. He is riding for something that truly matters. “There is a need; there is an active community of cancer survivors and caregivers, and the battle is still going. These are all reasons for me to keep moving forward.”
With the Charlotte event fast approaching, Dave’s excitement grows each day. For him and his teammates, the conversation about the ride is well underway, and this anticipation won’t end until the start of the survivor’s lap. His excitement for the event is so great, in fact, that he takes the day off from work the Friday before the event because he isn’t able to get any work done. “The euphoria that comes over the entire team that day is nothing short of magical. I call it my Christmas in July.”