Heather and Lisa in Bootyville.
Heather and Lisa in Bootyville.

Lisa Hughes has a lot to be proud of. She is a wife, mother and paralegal who lives in Sandy Springs area of Atlanta, Georgia, and completed her first triathlon at the age of 50.  She has since become an avid 24 Foundation participant and supporter.  For 2013, Lisa is taking on a new challenge of recruiting her son and other individuals from his Sandy Springs high school to participate in 24 Foundation of Atlanta in October.

Lisa first learned about 24 Foundation in 2012, when her son’s school, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, was named as the new host venue for the start/finish of the annual charity, non-competitive cycling event.  She was intrigued by the name of the event and was looking for something to do in the triathlon “offseason.”

But she truly gained interest when she learned that funds from the Atlanta event supported the Aflac Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), in addition to LIVESTRONG.  Lisa had close friends, Lea and Ken Madren, whose son Chip was successfully fighting his own cancer battle at CHOA.

Another mother from Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, Joy Carden, was so inspired by Lisa’s triathlon success that she signed up for 24 Foundation to begin her training. She admitted that she had not ridden a bicycle since she was about 12 years old.  “(I told her) she could ride as little or as much as she wanted. It was on a safe, police-monitored, closed course and there would be all kinds of support in terms of bike maintenance, first aid, etc.”  Joy bought a bike and joined Lisa and her other triathlete friend, Heather Propst.

The three women participated in October 2012 with Team Pirate Treasure. For this year, Lisa has taken on the challenge of bringing other parents, students, staff, and administration from Mount Vernon Presbyterian School together and has formed a new team, Team Mustang Strong!  The idea for the team name came from the Facebook page dedicated to health and wellness at the school.  The team plans to prepare for the event by having organized group rides once or twice a month on the Booty Loop in Sandy Springs.

Lisa is excited about Team Mustang Strong and hopes to see a rider from the group on the course at all times, at least one rider for all 24 hours!  But the main goals for Team Mustang Strong are to have fun and raise money for CHOA.

Recruitment for Team Mustang Strong is in full swing to join Lisa and returning veteran Joy. Lisa’s 14-year-old son, Connor, will join her for the entire 24 hours at the team’s headquarters in Bootyville, on the campus of Mount Vernon Presbyterian School.  Her son’s friend, John, has joined the team.  And there is momentum with new team members who include fellow triathlete and teacher, Mary Beth Struble, and two fathers from Mount Vernon, Paul Stupek and Graham Courtney, all avid cyclists.  Connor and John said they would be happy to ride the “night shift”, which is one of their main motivations to ride in the event.  The teens, as well as other riders, will enjoy a safe course throughout the night, and full sag support in the Bootyville area.

“I was so incredibly proud, but not at all surprised, to see how quickly our community came together to support 24 Foundation at its inaugural debut at our campus.  All I can say is, as great as it was last year, just wait…the best is yet to come. Let’s ride!”

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