This summer, a remarkable team of individuals united as “Endure for a Cure” in support of the Fanconi anemia (FA) community to achieve something truly extraordinary: bike over 500 miles while raising an impressive $130,000 for FA research!
RAGBRAI isn't your ordinary bike ride; it's an eight-day rolling festival across Iowa, full of cycling, music, food, camaraderie, and community. Under the leadership of FA parent Kevin McQueen, an eight-member strong team, accompanied by two indispensable RV drivers, took on this epic challenge to better the lives of those affected by FA. This stellar team included FARF's Executive Director, Mark Quinlan, board president Orion Marx, board member Win Gouldin, and dedicated friends and long-time supporters of the FA community, Tony Franco, Jim Popp, Chuck Frydenborg, Pete Sheldon, Rich Quinlan, and Tim Brizzolara.
For a week straight, each morning began before dawn as they readied themselves and their bikes for rides spanning 50 to 100 miles, tackling elevations ranging from 1000 to 4000 ft. Overcoming challenges such as riding a staggering 100 miles in a single day, 100-degree weather forecasts, navigating headwinds that tested their teamwork, and even encountering a few close calls with the RVs, the team was relentless in their mission.
Regardless of the physical challenges, the Endure for a Cure team can attest that RAGBRAI transformed into something beyond their expectation: an enormously impactful chance to raise awareness, grow the community of FA supporters, and connect with others in the FA community.
Throughout their journey, the team engaged in numerous conversations with fellow cyclists and campsite neighbors about FA, often inspiring generous donations – an act that the Endure for a Cure team admits brought tears to their eyes.
One night the team had dinner with a local FA family, Allie Jones, and her parents, Lisa and Randy. Afterward, team member Win said “spending time with them helped crystallize our purpose,” a sentiment echoed by the entire team. To top it off, their journey took an unexpected yet motivating turn when Leah Swartzrock, a young scientist working on a FARF-funded project at Stanford, spotted the team and joined them for the final 25 miles one day. What a stroke of luck to have another FA advocate along the way!
Photos above: the team with Allie Jones (who has FA), with Leah Swartzrock (FA researchers), and with the Jones family
The team's commitment to each other and the cause was evident, highlighting the power of teamwork. Whether facing a challenging climb or a strong headwind, they found meaning in taking turns leading the pace line and supporting those who needed an extra push. This experience underscored the importance of teamwork in achieving FARF's mission, emphasizing that the more people who join the cause, the greater the likelihood of success.
Their inspiring summer story beckons us all to join the cause, endure for a cure, and make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by Fanconi anemia.