IRVINE, Calif. (BRAIN) — For the past nine years, cyclist and advocate Andy Lightle has celebrated his birthday in an unconventional fashion. Rather than throw a party or indulge in gifts for himself, Lightle decided in 2008 that he would raise money for someone in need instead. So he rallied support from local Orange County retailers and industry suppliers and held a fundraiser on his birthday for a homeless women's and children's shelter.
Over the years Lightle's annual birthday raffles have raised thousands of dollars — as much as $15,000 per event — and garnered financial support and product donations from dozens of suppliers and retailers.
In 2013, Lightle teamed up with Monique "Pua" Mata, a former champion endurance mountain bike racer whose birthday falls near his in February, and in 2016, the pair decided to raise money for the SoCal National Interscholastic Cycling Association league. The event, which was held at Shimano's U.S. headquarters in Irvine, California, for the first time, raised $13,000 for the Southern California league, which includes high school team from San Luis Obispo south to the Mexican border.
Since the 2016 event was such a success, Lightle decided to raise funds again for NICA at this year's party, which will be held Saturday, February 25. Shimano is the title sponsor and will host the party and raffle at its headquarters. A long list of retailers and suppliers, including Giant, Niner, Fullerton Bikes, The Path Bike Shop, GoPro, Oakley and others, are also supporting the fundraiser.
"It's so important because NICA is all about the future of cycling. It's up to us to teach young riders how to treat other trail users, how to ride with respect, take care of their trails and to appreciate the great...the list goes on," said Lightle, who also co-owns Non Dot Adventures, which puts on mountain bike races and clinics in Orange County. "NICA isn't just about racing and making kids fast on their bike. It's about preparing the next generation."
The event at 10 a.m. with a group ride departing from Shimano in Irvine, followed by lunch and the raffle at 1 p.m. All proceeds will be donated to the SoCal NICA league.
To learn more and register for the event, visit nondotadventures.redpodium.com/socal-nica-fundraiser2017. Pre-registration is required, as the event is capped at 150 attendees.
To donate product to the raffle, email Andy Lightle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos are courtesy of Shimano.