One of the many benefits provided by 24 Foundation is the opportunity to develop lifelong friendships. Eric Hayden had no idea how impacted his life would be by sharing a college class with Basil Lyberg, the future Executive Director of 24 Hours of Booty.

In July of 2012, Eric’s life changed when he lost his brother-in-law, Sean Judge, to a battle with cancer. Sean, just 40 years old at the time of his passing, graduated from the Air Force Academy at the top of his class and served as a pilot in the Gulf. Prior to his death, Sean had completed his PhD at The Ohio State University and was preparing to move his family to Germany as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force.

“He truly was one of the best and brightest our country had ever seen,” Eric commented. “He was brilliant, humble, and hilarious.”

Eric felt compelled to find a way to honor Sean’s name that would be as unforgettable as his brother-in-law’s life. It was after a conversation with his longtime friend, Josh Jones, that Basil’s name came up. Josh advised Eric to ride in the 24 Hours of Booty event in honor of Sean, but, with the event less than two weeks away, Eric was hesitant. However, Eric called Basil, the organization’s Executive Director at the time. Eric and Basil had gone to school together, but hadn’t spoken in years. In typical 24 Foundation fashion, Basil was more than willing to help an old friend, providing Eric with a free registration and waiving the fundraising requirements.

“He just wanted me to ride,” says Eric.

With just 11 days until the event, there was no way Eric could complete any quality training, so he turned his attention to fundraising. Over the course of a week, Eric successfully raised close to $7,000, putting him in the top 10 of fundraisers in his first year. He was also able to ride a total of 150 miles in the event.

“24 Hours of Booty was so amazing, and I was so uplifted by the organization, donors, riders, and crowd. I was determined to continue to ride every year that I was capable.”

True to his word, Eric got involved the next year, armed with an even bigger purpose. Inspired by the news of Libby Jones’s leukemia battle, Eric, with the help of Libby’s dad Josh and friend Braden Barlow, decided to put together a team in Libby’s name. With a name and a purpose, Team LibStrong was born and officially registered on April 1, 2013.

In their first year riding, Team LibStrong’s seven riders raised over $21,000, finishing as the 11th Place team. Three years later, after expanding and implementing various fundraising techniques such as Pink to Drink, Team LibStrong grew to 57 riders who brought in $180,000. This year, Eric and his team aren’t holding back, with plans to have over 100 riders and bring in well over $200,000.

Had it not been for Eric’s desire to honor his lost brother-in-law and Basil’s willingness to help, one of our most successful fundraising stories would have never become reality. On behalf of 24 Foundation, we extend thanks to everyone who has helped to make Team LibStrong and Drew’s Crew the success story it is today.

Purchase your ticket to Pink to Drink’s 2017 event here.