National Walking Day: MacLean Helbein
While many know 24 Foundation as a historically cycling-centric event, last year we were thrilled to expand our offerings to include a walking Loop! MacLean Helbein has experienced 24 Hours of Booty from a bike seat, and as of last year, made the transition to her two feet and plans to continue changing the course of cancer as a walker.
MacLean recalls her earliest experiences with 24 Foundation: “I started my involvement with 24 Hours of Booty in 2010 when I started working with The Dunstan Group. Scott Dunstan was very involved in the organization personally, but our company was also a Sponsor. I was able to work with them firsthand providing the awesome event swag! Through that connection I was able to see what it does for the community and having a personal connection with cancer, it felt like the right group to become a part of! So I joined Scotts team, then Spokes N’ Mirrors, which is now a part of Libstrong/Drew’s Crew!”
MacLean’s passion for the cause overshadowed the fact that she wasn’t a cyclist, or, as she says, even a great bike rider. But, on behalf of those she had lost to cancer, MacLean mustered the strength to ride year after year. “I can ride this bike for all those people out there being affected by cancer daily and all the people we have lost,” she recalls telling herself. “Every opening ceremony when we ride under the start/finish line it felt like we were riding with the ones we have lost. With that comfort, I couldn’t stop being involved, seeing my family and friends cheering for me on the loop and helping me raise money to meet my goal through this platform is very different from other organizations I had been involved with.”
Ultimately, though, MacLean realized that cycling wasn’t exactly her sport, so she took a year off from participating in the event. As soon as she saw that 24 Foundation was introducing a walking event, though, she was among the first to register. “It was really a smart move for me because if you aren’t a rider – riding in an event like this – really hurts your booty.”
MacLean approached 2017’s 24 Hours of Booty just like she did the rides. “Most riders set a mileage goal for themselves to meet at the event, so I set the goal of walking a half-marathon! It was so nice to walk the Loop and see the riders pedaling by. It created a different environment where we got to walk and talk with our team about why they are personally involved with 24 Foundation.”
MacLean’s belief in the mission of 24 Foundation is a strong and impassioned one. “You can’t meet someone who hasn’t been impacted by cancer. You hear the stories of the battle, the struggle, the fight these people face and wish we could make it easier for them… no one wants to see their loved one go down this path alone, with no map or no will. I believe that what 24 Foundation is doing with cancer navigation and survivorship gives families and survivors the opportunity to go down the path with a map and the support of so many. The statistics show that these programs are helping people live longer. Thankfully we have these options here and I am hopeful that they will soon be available in more areas, so that we can increase survival rates for both pediatric and adult cancer survivors.”