NEWBURY PARK, CA (BRAIN)—Nearly 40 bicycle riders rolled into Pt. Mugu State Park last Sunday, completing a three-day trek through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in support of breast cancer survivors.
The inaugural West Coast Young Survival Coalition Tour de Pink ride began on Friday from the corporate offices of Giant Bicycle in Newbury Park, according to a press release. Giant has been a sponsor of the Tour de Pink East Coast event for the past three years, a three-day ride that begins in Hershey, PA and ends in New York City.
“We started working to make a West Coast Tour ride a reality early this year,” said Giant general manager Elysa Walk. “Being a part of the Young Survival Coalition’s efforts has been an honor for us. It was great having these riders visit our offices and meet our employees before they began their tour.” Walk joined the riders as they pedaled from Newbury Park to Santa Barbara and back to Pt. Mugu State Park in Malibu.
The YSC Tour de Pink supports the work of the Young Survival Coalition, the premier global organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC offers resources, connections, and outreach so women feel supported, empowered, and hopeful. The Young Survival Coalition works with survivors, caregivers, and the medical, research, advocacy and legislative communities to increase the quality and quantity of life for women diagnosed with breast cancer, ages 40 and under. The organization reaches well over 200-thousand people every year.
As the riders got ready to depart Giant’s headquarters on Friday, they were thanked and given encouragement by Elton Gallegly, the U.S. Representative for California’s 24th Congressional District. “Thank you for what you do. One of the great things that come out of events like this is that we’re hearing the words more and more all the time: ‘cancer survivor,’” said Representative Gallegly. “The concept of ‘cancer survivors’ is the result of activities like this and folks who are putting their money where their mouth is. They’re walking the walk and not just talking the talk. You’re a prime example of that. We’re proud to have you here in Ventura County.”
Riders who took part in the West Coast Tour de Pink each raised at least $2,500 in donations for the Young Survival Coalition. Total funds raised by all riders exceeded $80,000. Women and men from as far away as New Jersey and Florida pedaled the 200-plus miles. Camarillo resident and Giant employee Eric Christianson was among them.
Christianson is an inside sales representative for Giant Bicycle and rode the Tour de Pink in honor of a co-worker, Michelle Weiser, who died from breast cancer in July. “Michelle worked at Giant for almost ten years, and we all miss her very much,” he said. “I represent the whole company as her ‘ghost rider.’ We honor her with our participation in the Tour de Pink.”
Many of the riders in the event are breast cancer survivors who have done multiple Tour de Pink rides, like Diana Di Mare from New Jersey. “This will be my sixth tour de pink,” said the young woman who was diagnosed at age 36 with breast cancer and who is now cancer-free. “YSC supports you through treatment, and gives you the best support about improving the quality of life.” She added, “Nothing compares to the Tour de Pink. It’s a great three days; you become a small family by the end of the three days and it’s really a great time.”
(PHOTO by Jake Orness)