I got it wrong.

For almost a decade, I had my script wrong. And I’ve been updating my Booty fundraising page each summer for all that time.

In error.

I thought I was being so clever with phrases like, “Together, let’s kick cancer’s booty.”

And while the work of the 24 Foundation does help kick cancer’s booty, we don’t ride or raise for cancer research or for finding a cure. That very important work is already being done by dollars raised for and by other vital and masterful organizations.

24 kicks it in a different way.

Through navigation and survivorship.

Since its inception, 24 Foundation has raised more than $26 million to support cancer navigation and survivorship programs through local and national beneficiaries, with an ultimate goal of providing supportive oncology programs and services through beneficiary organizations such as:

Claire’s Army
Nothing Pink
Casting Carolinas
Hospitality House
Carolina Breast Friends
Wind River
Queens University
Pinky Swear Foundation

These organizations, each in its own unique way, change the course of cancer, providing invaluable support to patients and their families in many ways:

…sustaining normalcy, easing burdens, providing cancer-wellness coaching, retreats, refuge, and respites, nourishing souls, offsetting the financial burden of a cancer diagnosis, conducting genetic testing, implementing preventative measures, offering community, comfort, healing, self-exploration, and empowerment through knowledge, emotional support, saying ‘yes!’ to every family, quality of life support, compassion, collaboration, celebration…

On the reverse side of my work badge, I have a bright orange 24 sticker. Most days (thankfully) it falls on the sticker side, so most people see that, as opposed to my photo. It’s amazing how often they ask about it. Each time, I get to share the story of the 24 Hours of Booty event and the 24 Foundation.

Riding for years for team GoJenGo, an organization I have actively supported since its founding, I know what it funds. Jen was my friend. She established GJG to help women in the Charlotte area with breast cancer diagnoses, better make ends meet. I know that GJG is a beneficiary agency of 24 Foundation. I just didn’t ever officially put two and two together. I simply rode and raised funds each year for an event that was unbelievably near and dear to my friend. Once I joined the amazing 24 Foundation Marketing committee, I paid better attention.

Now, I have it right.

At work recently, I was talking with two friends. One noted my badge sticker, “Is that 24 Hours of Booty?” We happily affirmed our shared connection to 24, then she nodded to explain what 24 Hours of Booty is and does to our other pal.

“It’s a bike ride every July that raises money for cancer research and a cure.”

I was thrilled and now equipped to adjust her answer and spread the word of 24’s equally-important work. “Well, I actually thought the same thing for a long while. But it’s a bit different,” I explained. “There are more than a dozen agencies that receive and allocate the dollars raised by 24 Hours of Booty,” I went on to explain. “Each one offers critical and compassionate healing — navigation and survivorship — in its own way.”

She was also glad to better understand. This work is too important. I’m not often jazzed about being wrong, but in a small way, through my own error, I feel even more empowered to help spread the word and raise awareness of the care-filled work of 24 Foundation. I’ll take it. Cancer is ugly. It’s terrifying for all involved. But when equipped with tools to help patients and families better navigate and survive cancer, the burden becomes a bit lighter.

And cancer’s booty is kicked, now better armed for the fight of a lifetime.

Perhaps I did get that part right.

Written by Courtney Oates
Courtney is a 24 Hours of Booty participant. She rides and walks with Team GoJenGo.

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