Aug. 5—Cleveland Clinic's Trike and Bike Benefiting VeloSano has grown since its inception in 2018.
VeloSano is a year-round fundraising initiative to support lifesaving cancer research at Cleveland Clinic. The series of community-organized bike rides for children ages 3-12 not only allows children to participate in a philanthropic event, but is a fundraiser for pediatric cancer research at Cleveland Clinic Children's. One hundred percent of every dollar that participants raise supports the cause, according to Cleveland Clinic.
Lake County Trike and Bike took place Aug. 3 at the Jerome T. Osborne Sr. Stadium at Mentor High School.
Mid-week there were about 50 participants registered for the Lake County Trike and Bike, said Adam Gundlah, Trike and Bike program coordinator and a member of the Cleveland Clinic community fundraising team.
"It'll be a fun night for the kids," Gundlah said. "There will be bike decorating, entertainment, face painters and Mentor High School cheerleaders, as well as some snacks and activities for children to participate in."
Children participating are welcome to ride for as long as they would like.
Gundlah started as an intern with the VeloSano team when he was in college in 2016 and then after he graduated in 2017. During his internship, he noted that there was always a need to have a pediatric component to VeloSano.
"There were some ideas of a kids ride on VeloSano weekend and then it turned into more of how can we get all these communities involved across Northeast Ohio," Gundlah said. "That's when I moved from an intern with VeloSano to my current role in early 2018 to start up the Trike and Bike program."
In the four years Cleveland Clinic has been having Trike and Bike rides, nearly 3,000 kids have participated and over $620,000 has been raised.
"There are a a variety of projects that have been awarded and the money is already hard at work in a few different projects that are promising," Gundlah said. "It's incredible to see the growth. Every dollar that comes in has the potential to make a difference and every dollar could be that next dollar that could fund the project that makes a significant impact in pediatric cancer research."
On the morning of a ride during check-in, as kids are learning why the event is a fundraiser, Gundlah has watched them have a "lightbulb moment."
"They realize why they're there and why it's important to give back to kids their age who aren't as fortunate or who have health issues," he said. "It's that lightbulb moment seeing kids kind of get it and realize the importance of participating in a philanthropic event at a young age."
Gundlah hopes the Trike and Bike series of rides will continue to grow.
"This year so far, we have eight rides on the books and I'd like to not only continue to expand those, but grow those rides as well," he said.