24 Foundation of Atlanta is not your typical bicycle ride. People can ride a bicycle, tricycle, or unicycle as much or little as they want, whether that is one hour or 24 hours, one mile or 100 miles. Riders do not compete for time, placement, or ranking. They are a community united by one common goal—fighting together to beat cancer.
Team Hotel Yorba is not your typical team. It is led by a very inspirational resident of Sandy Springs, Shay Hamer. She is a mother, a wife, a daughter, a blogger, a business owner and a big-time survivor. Hamer has overcome challenges as an amputee (below the knee) and has been fighting cancer for 10 years. She’s still fighting, this year is her fifth time in treatment. This year she has challenged herself, and her family/friends to take part in 24 Foundation of Atlanta.
“I was first diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, back in 2002,” said Shay Hamer, who started her latest treatment in August 2014. “This year is my fifth time back for cancer treatment. It was my father, who lives in Birmingham (Ala.), who suggested I register and ride 24 Foundation, since it is right here in Sandy Springs. My son is nine years old and he is excited about the camping (in Bootyville).”
Due to treatments, Hamer hopes to ride at least one lap for the October 4-5 event. She is definitely planning to cheer on her teammates. She formed Team Hotel Yorba this summer, a nickname given to her home in Sandy Springs that was inspired by a 2001 song performed by The White Stripes.
“I enjoy riding a bicycle whenever I can, it’s a great form of exercise,” said Hamer. “For me, this is the easiest thing for me – being an amputee makes some exercise difficult.”
Hamer rides along with her father, who has competed at the Senior Olympics. Together, they will ride to not only honor her fight against cancer, but to celebrate her uncle, who received a clean bill of health from cancer just two weeks ago.
“Being a working mom and wife living with cancer isn’t the easiest thing to do. I worry about the impact on my son all this will have, but we have always been honest with him. It is just the three of us so we are a tight group, Team Hamer. There have been times when we have had to step back and have some explain things and why they are happening. That is hard. However because of them he opens up to me and tells and asks me all kinds of questions about life, growing up, school etc. that I am not sure he would have ask if we weren’t so open and honest,” added Hamer.
Even though cancer is serious business, the ride does not have to be. She anticipates the weekend will be a great adventure for her son, her family and her team. The family is shopping for a tent to use at Bootyville, the campground at the start/finish area where riders eat, listen to live bands, and recharge when not riding. The event is hosted at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School.
“All they got inside is vacancy” is a line from the song Hotel Yorba. There is still room for more teams at this year’s 24 Foundation. Hamer and her Hotel Yorba team hope to be “sold out” and surpass their fundraising goal of $1,500 for this year’s ride. To donate to their fight against cancer, click here.