This past July, we joined forces with the Fat Cyclist for his latest effort for World Bicycle Relief: The Grand Slam for Kenya. Fatty has been leading fundraisers for World Bicycle Relief for six years and his community has helped raise over $750,000 through these initiatives. However, the July fundraiser was unique given that we were giving his community the opportunity to help us launch our landmark education program in a new country – Kenya!
The contest launched in early July and, in typical Fatty fashion, new prizes were revealed on the Fat Cyclist blog throughout the month. Although the prizes were very different, one thing was certain: this contest brought together some of the best organizations in the bike industry for collective support of our work. It’s always very humbling to see groups that compete by day come together in unified support for The Power of Bicycles. We’d like to thank SRAM, InGamba, Trek Ibis, Specialized, Enve, Gary Fisher and Juliana for their support of this contest. Simply put, this contest couldn’t happen without your support of World Bicycle Relief!
Fast forward to the last week of July and the contest was hovering around $50,000 which was a third of the goal – with just a week to go. Fatty did an amazing round of outreach and blogging and, by the end of July, the contest fundraising had nearly doubled and he was just shy of the $100,000 mark. Then, again, Fatty’s community went into high gear–one more prize was announced and the contest was extended by a week to coincide with the day Fatty and the Hammer would make their way to Leadville. There, we’d be celebrating the contest with our extended Fat Cyclist and Team WBR Leadville team. With a big call to action, the Fat Cyclist community responded and over $115,000 was raised to help launch WBR’s education program in Kenya. What’s more, due to a generous donor, a good portion of these donations were also matched $ for $…ensuring that the impact would go twice as far!
In the spirit of the contest, we would like to share information with you on two of our Grand Slam for Kenya prize winners, David Visschedyk and Jay & Kerri Butler. Check out their experiences below!
On Wednesday, August 12, I was sitting at my girlfriend’s house when my phone started buzzing with various emails. My friend Barry Cox was in Leadville, Colorado having a bratwurst with Elden “Fatty” Nelson and Team World Bicycle Relief and advised that my name was pulled in some sort of raffle. I immediately called him, and he passed the phone over to Fatty who advised that I was the first name pulled out of the Grand Slam for Kenya raffle.
To say I was excited was an understatement. That said, two things kept me relatively cool. 1) Elden’s voice sounds different on the phone than how I hear it in my head when I read his website. When I read his website, his voice sounds a lot like mine. On the phone, not so much! 2) There were now eight amazing grand prizes that I could choose from, and I had to choose relatively quickly.
With the motto of “go with your gut”, I quickly decided to choose the amazing experience in Italy with InGamba, rather than one of the amazing bikes that were available. It was a tough choice because who wouldn’t want an Ibis Mojo 3, or any S-Works bike? But I had spent a week riding in Bormio last year and loved Italy, so I knew the InGamba trip would be unforgettable.
While I was the winner of the Grand Slam, I think we can all agree that the real winners are the people who will be getting the bikes through the World Bicycle Relief. I know how much a bicycle has meant to me, and I don’t have 1/1000 the challenges that people in Africa do.
When I was eight years old I was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, and my leg was amputated at the knee. As a result, most high impact sports have been a non-starter for me, but I have no difficulties riding a bike. In fact, in 2006 I rode 6,850 kilometers across Canada to raise money for kids with cancer. I was able to raise money for cancer research on a bike, and now bikes are being used to transform the lives of people in Africa. Is there anything a bike can’t do?
I want to thank everyone at World Bicycle Relief for all they do; I want to thank InGamba and all the other sponsors for providing such amazing prices and last but certainly not least I want to thank Elden and Lisa for using their blog to not only entertain us but help change the world!
Jay & Kerri
Jay and Kerri live in Richmond, VA., enjoy cycling and traveling to great cycling destinations with InGamba Tours where they were originally introduced to World Bicycle Relief. They are eagerly anticipating the upcoming UCI World Championships in Richmond in just a few short weeks. They’ve been supporters of WBR through both InGamba and The Fat Cyclist and continue to look for opportunities to support the charity. They explain:
WBR is a great organization. We’ve been supporters for a number of years, and have always been impressed with the effectiveness of the WBR Team in making a lasting impact. They make a difference in so many lives with something as simple as a bike. But, it’s more than just a bike; it’s transportation, it’s freedom of movement, it’s a life-saver, it’s a time-saver, it’s a generator of industry and it changes lives. This contest was an opportunity to continue that support and make a difference in a big way. Elden has always been a terrific ambassador and has always looked to make a difference with these contests. He has always gotten the most from the entire cycling community, rallying support for the cause, driving results and helping to deliver bikes to the people that need them the most. And, oh yeah, there are those prizes he manages to collect every year, too. We were really delighted to win the MTN-Qhubeka Team replica bike and Jay is eager to take the bike out and try to even touch its full potential. A giant thank you to Enve Composites for donating the bike to the contest.
On this bright note, we would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Elden Fatty Nelson, Lisa Hammer Nelson and the entire Fat Cyclist community. This is a fundraiser and community that not only showcases the Power of Bicycles, it showcases the Power of You! Thank you for believing in World Bicycle Relief and for being a part of our historic new program in Kenya.