Team Will pedaled through town on Monday, June 25. They stopped at Salt Lake City's local children's hospital to bring smiles to some of the youngsters who are battling cancer. In an effort to raise awareness for the illness, the group of 20 cyclists are riding from San Francisco to Boston, taking 10 days to cross 16 states and visit hospitals along the way.
The team brings a handful of gifts to each hospital, one of the most valuable being an encouraging card from another child. Through their Cards for Kids program, Team Will is able to give cheerful greetings from around the world to the children they visit.
In addition to raising the spirits of the kids, Team Will is working hard to raise $125,000 for the Foundation for Children with Cancer. The money will be contributed to families in need.
“In most cases, a lot of the kids are being treated in a city that’s not theirs and that’s an added burden for the family,” says Tom Weissgerber, Training Coordinator for Team Will. He adds 43 percent of the time a parent who has a child with cancer will quit his or her job to dedicate time to caring for them.
The members of Team Will don’t think of themselves as heroes. Instead, that title goes to the children. “We look at them as heroes because of what they’re going through and because of their strength,” Weissgerber says.
“Riding cross country is an athletic challenge, but after the first hospital visit it becomes about the kids,” Weissgerber says. A fellow rider, Tony Reyes chimes in, “It becomes a competition to see who can fundraise the most,” he says.
Reyes is riding with Team Will for the first time and he’s been enjoying spending time with the children they visit in hospitals. “If you make a connection, they start talking to you and you see them glow," he says.