By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager
How the LJCDS community is making a difference by helping to fund cancer research.
When we think of making the world a better place, curing cancer is at the top of the list. Cancer has touched countless lives, and we’re left wondering what we can do to help. Members of the LJCDS community, including students, parents, faculty/staff and alumni, have pledged to support Pedal the Cause.
Founded by two-time cancer survivor Bill Koman P’16 ’18 ’20, Pedal the Cause is a multi-city cycling challenge that began in St. Louis in 2009 and opened in San Diego in 2013. Together, the events have raised over $20 million for cancer research in both cities. In 2016, the San Diego organization established a permanent partnership with the San Diego Padres and moved the event to its current home at Petco Park.
One hundred percent of the proceeds raised by Padres Pedal the Cause stay in San Diego to fund collaborative research projects conducted by four beneficiaries: Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.
In 2016, the LJCDS community was hit hard when beloved English teacher Glen Pritzker passed away from quick-moving cancer. In the last three years, faculty and staff have participated in his memory as Team Pritzker.
Alumni Brad Couch ’16, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in his junior year, joined the Winward Academy team who cycled in his honor. Their hope is to raise awareness for the unique struggles for teens with cancer. Read more here.
For the Komans, it’s a family affair. All three daughters, Blaire ’20, Laine ’18 and Nicole ’16, have participated and encouraged their family and friends to join them. “Pedal the Cause has had an impact on my life since its first year in 2009,” shared Laine. “I have been so inspired watching the event grow each year. It started in 2013 with just over 750 participants, and this year, we had over 2,500 participants. I have met so many incredible cancer survivors, oncologists and researchers through Pedal and hearing their stories is the reason I ride.”
LJCDS juniors Blaire and Jenna Frakes, co-captains of Teen Team, and their 44-member team of mostly LJCDS students raised more than $19,000 this year. One of their fundraising initiatives included partnering with a clothing store in Del Mar who donated some of the proceeds from the sales of the week.
Teen Team also rode in honor of Martin, a young Rady Children’s cancer patient and one of the Padres Pedal 2018 Superkids. They made signs and cheered Martin on as he participated in the Kids Challenge event.
“Over the past few years,” shares Blaire, “I’ve learned a lot about working within a community and how participating in this event brings a community together. No matter how big or small, helping out makes a good impact on the world.”