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Along for the ride: Pups Willie and Harley show anything is paw-sible at LOWVELO

man and woman on bikes with small dogs in the baskets

Jamie and Kathy McKee with their riding partners, Harley and Willie.

Every rider has a unique story. Jamie and Kathy McKee might be a couple of the most attention-grabbing riders in LOWVELO. But it’s not necessarily their bikes that are so special. It’s the furry companions they have in their baskets. Pup riders, Willie and Harley, are just as excited to get on the course as their humans. Here’s the story of the McKees and how they show that anything is paw-sible at LOWVELO. 

What is your connection with cancer? 

We don’t know anyone that hasn’t been touched by cancer. Kathy’s mom is a breast cancer survivor. Jamie’s grandfather died of colon cancer. Last year two of our neighbors and good friends got diagnosed with cancer (one with leukemia and one with tongue cancer). This year both are cancer free and we credit their survival to the latest treatments resulting from decades of relentless research for cures. The other connection to cancer and research is a relationship developed with the research team at MUSC who have supported the childhood cancer event that we put on each year for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. This has given us an insider view of the amazing new research that is saving the lives of kids. It’s also given us a look at the passion and commitment of the people behind the research and care of cancer patients, both kids and adults. So, we ride for the people – to honor the family and friends who have to battle cancer and for the researchers working to save them.

Why do you ride in LOWVELO?

We are bicyclists and so for us LOWVELO gives us a chance to give back while at the same time doing something we love. It’s a way for us to honor the friends and family we know who have battled cancer and won and to remember those we’ve lost to cancer. We ride for the hope that research promises – a future without cancer.  And, LOWVELO is special to us because it’s local. It’s funding for researchers who we know and respect and it’s support for leading edge clinical trials and innovations that could save our friends and neighbors.

Not many people take their dogs on bike rides! Tell us about how Harley and Willie came to be your biking partners.

Everywhere we bike, people notice Harley and Willie and it gives us a chance to promote LOWVELO and biking. Harley turns 14 on Halloween and has been riding with Jamie on the bike for 5 years. We rode together in the first LOWVELO in 2019. Last year, we rescued Willie and started him on rides immediately. No way could we take Harley and leave Willie behind. Each dog rides with a style of their own. Harley is calm, sitting proudly upright in his basket. Since riding is old hat for him, Harley sometimes takes a nap on an afternoon ride. Still an eager youngster, Willie flops around a bit, alert for squirrels and other dogs. He hangs out in his basket with a casual, arm out the window of the convertible style that makes everyone laugh out loud. With the dogs along, we take a slower pace for the joy of the ride.

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