25 Rides for LIVESTRONG
On October 18, 2015, I completed my twenty-fifth Team LIVESTRONG bike ride and brought my twelve-year fundraising total — to help people affected by cancer right now — to more than $230,000.
In 2003 and 2005, I was treated for testicular cancer. In November 2013, I lost my wife Judy to multiple myeloma, cancer of her blood plasma, less than three months from her diagnosis. The LIVESTRONG organization and community have been there for my family every step of the way.
I’ve cycled twelve times in Austin, Texas, nine times in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, twice in New York City, once in Seattle, Washington, and for a full week across the state of Iowa in RAGBRAI. The more I see people served, the more my own contributions continue to grow. More than endurance athletic events, these rides offer the chance to show ourselves and the world that we're bigger than cancer.
I have LIVESTRONG friends all over the planet. When I travel, I can count on meeting them from San Diego, to Chicago to Boston to Ireland. It has been a delight to have several visit me in my own community and home and especially moving to feel their continual presence through kind words and constant contact during my wife’s struggle. Their energy, resilience, and optimism inspire me.
Every day, I'm reminded of what cancer takes from us, but I couldn't be more grateful for what LIVESTRONG has given me. It's my responsibility and honor to give in return.
Review from #MyGivingStory
After my cancer diagnosis, the Lance Armstrong Foundation turned everything around. More than a disease, I gained a cause: to unite against cancer with others who refuse to go down without a fight and who know we're stronger together. The LIVESTRONG movement is growing, and anyone is welcome to be part of it through athletic events and community action. The LAF offers direct one-on-one support throughout the cancer journey, a school curriculum to change how kids think about cancer, research and community grants, and a global campaign to eliminate cancer around the world. Founded by Lance Armstrong and led by three-time cancer survivor Doug Ulman, this organization really is changing the world for the better.
I have had family members with cancer and friends with cancer, some survived and some did not. The LAF is there for all cancer patients and provides resources for patients and their families. LAF is a true gift to those struggling with cancer. The best part is that LAF is not limited to any one kind of cancer, they help everyone!!!
I know that the money goes to a good cause, and its inspiring to be part of the solution. It is great to be part of so many others.
Put in a great deal of time and effort here over the years. Very well known organization has many many many followers.
I started volunteering for the LAF back in 1999 when my best friend was diagnosed with cancer. She lived in Houston and I was in Austin. I wanted to do something that would let her know that she was not fighting this battle alone and I needed to know that I was doing something to help her and other cancer patients. It is a very helpless feeling knowing that your friend or family member is ill and all you can do is hold their hand and say a prayer. I needed to do more! So my work began with the Foundation. The Foundation was very young and had a small staff, small office and few volunteers. It has been amazing to watch this organization grow. The Foundation has made everyone aware of cancer and that there is life after cancer. The words "cancer survivor" and "Livestrong" are now part of our everyday lives. The staff and volunteers of the LAF are fighting and working hard to obliterate this horrible disease and to improve the lives of people "living with, through and beyond cancer". I feel honored to be able to work with this organization and the wonderful group of people who call themselves the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Dear my family and friends that made a difference in the global fight against cancer: On behalf of myself and the 12 million Americans living with cancer, I thank you for your generous donation. The money you gave helped me reach my goal and will help further the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s mission of inspiring and empowering people affected by cancer. Your donation along with all those that responded to my e-mail to in the end raise $1,300.00 will provides information packets to offer support, inspiration and hope to the cancer patient and his or her family. In addition, cancer survivorship information and worksheets to organize the patient's fight against cancer. Moreover, a cancer survivor one-on-one direct support through the LIVESTRONG SurvivorCare program, and LIVESTRONG Survivorship Notebooks. As a whole raising $1310.00 far surpassing my original goal of $750.00 is an incredible about of money that will mean a world to all the people that will benefit from this money. In terms of the event itself it was an experience that I will not soon forget, because of how much more it was than just simply a bike race. The weather was calm and cool at the start, and in the afternoon heated up to the high 80's. When I took the line I did not know if I would have the power, strength, and determination to go the century, but what I did know was I was out with the City of San Jose to support a great cause and to honor and ride for my Grandma (Bonnie Zillgitt) and my beloved biology teacher Mrs. Acquistapace. For the first nine miles of the race the entire field was escorted by the San Jose Police Department at a speed of 20 miles per hour. I quickly got out hard and rode well and with the lead pack. Slowly I settled into the middle and took the last stop before I would have to make the decision of going 65 miles or 100 miles. The rest stop which were ever 10-15 miles along side the course was where cyclists could go to the bathroom, have a powerbar, fruit, trailmix, gummy bars, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The stops were vitally important and the volunteers and supporters at the stops and in general were incredible, a huge shout out and hats off to them for making the event run so smoothly and in great spirits and excitement. As I approached the 65 miles to the left or 100 miles straight ahead I told myself that I was ready for the 100 miles and thought about who I was riding for, and why I was out here and chose the path less traveled which was the 100 mile course. However, 15 miles after I had past the sign fatigue, stiffness, spasms, and general soreness was starting to takes its toll and I inevitably had to give myself a pep talk not only to preserver through adversity but to represent my family and friends who have had cancer. The talk was enough to finish ahead of quite a few of my teammates on team spartan and finish in 7 hours and 39 minutes. When I crossed the line after having ridden 100 miles I was filled with elation and I did not shy away from raising my hands in emotion and achievement. I will cherish this moment for a life time because I think it is only the start of greater things to come. During the event and post race festivities I could not help but be engulfed in the community of cancer. Though this disease may be hell the amount of people to lean on for support, care, guidance, knowledge, and to uplift your spirits is one incredible community which is the cancer community. The LiveSTRONG Challenge was engulfed with the cancer community and it was a pleasure to see it first hand. On Sunday July 12, 2009 I will not only take away a bike ride that was filled with decisions and emotions and in the end triumph but also was getting to talk to all of the participants and learning their connection to cancer So many of them had bibs on their jerseys that read “In Honor Of,” or “In Memory Of.” I pray and will continue to pray for all those that have to deal with the grind of chemotherapy. As Lance Armstrong says ““Anything is possible. You can be told that you have a 90-percent chance or a 50-percent chance or a 1-percent chance, but you have to believe, and you have to fight.” “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” I couldn’t have participated in this event without your generosity and support, and I can’t thank you enough for all that you gave. You have made a difference in the global fight against cancer! With love and thanks, Russell Zillgitt
I started volunteering with the Lance Armstrong Foundation in May 2008 upon my relocation to Austin, TX. I contacted the LAF and they immediately and professionally responded and started my application. I do several projects for the LAF, including office work, database maintenance and the Austin LIVESTRONG Challenge. It is obvious that the LAF recruits, attracts and retains the TOP talent in its leaders, associates, employees, advocates, volunteers and partners, etc. This strength in talent along with the team's incredible belief in the LAF's solid mission makes the difference at the LAF. The LAF continues to stay strong, even when the economy has been soft. The LAF's programs are incredible, thus bringing more exposure to the mission. The LAF is breaking more ground now on a global basis to continue its mission to wipe out cancer. Moreover, the LAF does an incredible job with its staff and volunteers during the LIVESTRONG Challenges -- The events are superior. As a volunteer, I am treated as one of the family. At the LAF office, the enviornment is so friendly and welcoming. The kindness and strong belief in the LIVESTRONG mission is what makes the HUGE DIFFERENCE at the LAF. LIVE STRONG, Cherri LAF Volunteer
It's really GLOBAL! in Italy, too, where there is no culture for volunteer, nor for cancer awareness, nor for info support through the web
Having Cancer in our family makes you face things in life you would prefer not to at all. So you look for support to get thru the bad spots and remember the good ones. There are many good groups out there and Livestrong helps in many ways. They help you put so much in perspective in many ways. To watch the videos out there of so many people fighting this beast makes you proud to be human. We are like the 3 Musketeers, wether we are survivors, care takers,family, medical people or just friends...we are one for all and all for one. We will beat this and having Livestrong there to help lead the way makes the future brighter.
My wife is a volunteer and as such, I have had the opportunity to meet some of the people who have dedicated their lives to making living and dying with cancer an experience with hope, understanding and acceptance. The people whom I have meet have one goal - to make the lives of those dealing with cancer better. The LAF provides hope. There is no higher purpose.