In addition to taking classes, running for the Hobart cross country team, working multiple jobs and being involved with several clubs on campus, Jonathan Garcia ’23 found time in September to take part in the Great Cycle Challenge, a fundraiser for children’s cancer research. In total, he biked 600 miles and raised $3,525.
Garcia learned about the challenge when a friend posted about it on social media. “I was inspired to take part in the challenge because I love biking and because my brother was diagnosed with a rare yet treatable cancer when he was a child,” Garcia says.
The Great Cycle Challenge wasn’t Garcia’s first experience supporting children with cancer. After volunteering for the Ronald McDonald Walk for Kids, a fundraiser for children suffering medical illnesses, he was motivated to become more involved in children’s cancer research and finds inspiration in the resilience that kids with serious illness often display.
At the start of September, Garcia pledged to bike 500 miles and set his fundraising goal at $2,500. He informed potential supporters through social media posts, emails and phone calls. “I sent about 100 emails to friends, family, faculty and different departments on campus. I wanted to reach as many people as I knew,” Garcia says.
He certainly spread the word — Garcia reached his fundraising goal in just 24 hours. “I’m so amazed and happy and grateful for all of the support I’ve received throughout whole thing, especially in the first day,” Garcia says. After such a successful first day, he pledged 100 more miles and raised his fundraising goal to $3,500.
Though his fundraising goals were quickly realized, Garcia had to put in consistent work to reach his cycling goal. He biked five or six times a week, with “shorter” two-hour rides on the weekdays and longer rides on the weekends. Though he mainly stayed in and around Geneva, Garcia has biked three times around the entirety of Seneca Lake.
A mathematics major enrolled in the Teacher Education Program, Garcia is considering a career in education. He loves working with kids and believes he would enjoy teaching but is also considering becoming a mathematics professor.
Though the challenge was quite a time commitment for Garcia, he says that “it’s the reason behind why I’m biking that keeps me going when I’m really busy with school. Children who are living with cancer are so strong, brave and impressive.”
Now that the challenge is over, Garcia has had time to reflect on the experience. “I’m glad to have been a part of the 134,700 people who came together to raise $14.5 million,” he says. “I am happy to know that as a result, there will be families who have support and hope.”
To learn more about the Children’s Cancer Research Fund and how the money raised by the Great Cycle Challenge benefits the lives of children with cancer, click here.