MHS grads pedal their way to Florida for a cause
This summer, Mandan athletes Joe Berger, Devin Coyle, and Brock Schauer, will be biking from Bismarck to St. Petersburg, Fla., to raise money and awareness for cancer.
Their fundraiser, Bike2Believe hopes to raise a total of $500 thousand. With $400 thousand going to the Bismarck Cancer Center, and $100 thousand to the American Cancer Society. The 2,500-mile bike route will take the three participants through 12 major cities including Fargo, Minneapolis, Rochester, Indianapolis, Chicago, and Atlanta.
“We’re going to span it out over two months… We want to stop at major cancer facilities and hospitals, interact with people who are currently battling cancer so we can see who the money is going to directly affect,” Coyle said.
The cause has a large amount of personal significance to each of the cyclists. During Coyle’s senior year at Mandan High School, his grandmother was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer of the stomach and small intestine. Berger has recently lost several family friends to the disease. Schauer’s mother is currently battling stage four non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“Everyone knows someone who is affected, or will know somebody who is affected [by cancer],” said Schauer.
The fundraiser’s website Bike2believe.org is currently accepting donations. Dakota Community Bank & Trust has already become their first diamond sponsor.
Bismarck Cancer Center Foundation board members Jill Goetz and Sara Klesch also play a large role in the success of Bike2Believe.
“Quite frankly that money is going to make a huge amount of difference, it pretty much doubles what the foundation earns right now,” said Klesch.
The Bismarck Cancer Center’s portion of the proceeds will go toward services for patients, including counseling, transportation, and massage therapy. Charity care for those who cannot afford treatment is also available; no patient is turned away.
The American Cancer Society’s portion of the proceeds will benefit cancer research and prevention, as well as programs like Look Good Feel Better.
“We’re right in the beginning stages. They have their route planned out, they’re training and getting ready. Right now we’re getting the word out about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it so that we can continue forward,” Goetz said. “We’re getting sponsorships, we’re raising money, we’re selling t-shirts, bracelets, we’re giving them as much support as we can.”
Klesch and Goetz’s involvement, which stems in part from their friendship with Berger, includes organizing recognition displays for the patients at the hospitals Bike2Believe will be visiting.
They are also planning a send-off party for the cyclists; anyone who is interested is invited to ride down the University of Mary Hill with Berger, Coyle, and Schauer as they leave the city. What date? – The men plan to end at the end of May and hope to arrive in Florida two months later.
Currently, the bikers are training for their expedition. Berger is involved in Track with the University of Mary, Coyle is a football player for UND, and Schauer takes spin classes at the YMCA. All three spend some of their spare time indoors on stationary bikes.
“You can’t really train outside right now because [North Dakota is] colder than the Antarctic,” Berger said.
For additional support on their journey, Berger’s mother will be following the team in a camper to ensure that they are never without supplies or a place to stay in the event of an emergency.
“It’s a well-thought out plan,”Schauer said. “We’re not just taking bikes and going. There’s a lot of planning involved.
The team will be posting footage of the ride on their website, via go-pro cameras.
“It gives the people that aren’t on the trip with us a first person point of view of what we’re seeing, so when we go into hospitals and everything people can see exactly what we’re doing from our point of view, from our eyes.” Berger said.
Bike2Believe T-shirts and bracelets can be purchased at the Bismarck Cancer Center as well as at Mandan Chiropractic Clinic on 1st St.
“I’m a survivor myself,” said Goetz. “It touches your heart as a survivor when you have people who want to support you as you’re going through treatments. The number lives that they’re going to touch are absolutely amazing.”
By Rheanna Haaland