A group of casual bicycle riding ne’er-do-wells are looking to begin a cross-country W.A.R. in Santa Monica. The casualties? The cyclists themselves. The intended target? Pediatric cancer.
Cal’s Angels, a non-profit for pediatric cancer, is hosting its inaugural W.A.R. (Wishes Awareness Research) on Wheels charity bike ride, kicking off at Santa Monica Visitor Kiosk (Corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Ocean Ave.) this Saturday, April 27.
The event will see a team of cyclists ride roughly 2,499 miles along US Route 66 to just outside of Chicago, Illinois. Their goal is to raise $2,499,000 (a thousand dollars a mile) for critical pediatric cancer research and clinical trials. 100% of funds raised will go directly to Cal’s Angels Foundation.
The bike ride was born out of a need for wanting to do good, with one bike rider having had a daughter affected by pediatric cancer.
Brad Beetham, part of the cycling team’s inaugural ride and a member of the Cal’s Angels Executive Board, saw his daughter wage war with stage 4 lymphoblastic lymphoma.
She won her battle, with her cancer in remission since 2017. Beetham was inspired by his daughter’s courage, raising funds for pediatric cancer (“It’s severely underfunded,” he said) via running in the Chicago Marathon and occasional fundraising bike rides.
However, he’s never ridden a course this long.
“Nothing remotely close to this magnitude,” he said with a laugh. “I’m supremely behind in my training, only ridden 200 miles the last few months. But that’s the thing— I see my training as I’m not trained to do this, but no person is trained when their daughter is diagnosed with cancer. One day you and your family are fine then everything hurts. So I’m gonna go out and hurt for these kids.”
The event also, like all major decisions in life, was decided over a few rounds of tequila.
“I’d been supporting Cal’s for six years,” Glen Galloway, owner of a packaging company in Chicago said. “I’d gone to fundraising events and was writing checks. A few of us over 50-year old dudes did a ride (a leg of the Tour of California) and after that, my buddies and I had some margaritas and said, ‘Let’s raise some money, let’s ride across the country and do this.’”
Galloway, Beetham and a crew of nine riders will average about 80 miles per day on the road, 6 days cycling and one day off. They’ll make pit stops along Route 66, hoping the long, long journey brings at least awareness to their cause, “36 days of this,” Galloway said. “I don’t know of an event that long. There’s weekend events for good causes, month-long things, but 36 days? I’m 60 and not in outstanding shape (laughs)… I’m glad the van with us will have a defibrillator… but I’ll do this compressed Tour de France for the kids. It’s a unique thing.”
To give to Cal’s Angels and the W.O.W. charity ride, people can sponsor the entire ride, sponsor with a per-mile pledge for individual riders or make a $10 donation right now by texting the word “GIVE2CALS” to the number 20222.
For more information, visit www.waronwheels.us/ride-route-66