LOWVELO22 date announced, registration launches after historic year
A wave of riders start their ride at LOWVELO21, which raised a record amount of over $550,000 for cancer research.
LOWVELO22 opens registration March 14, with expectations that the fourth year will be even bigger and better than ever. Last year, participants raised a record amount of over $550,000 to support cancer research at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center. It also attracted 821 participants – a LOWVELO record.
Rachel Haynie, LOWVELO’s event manager, said this year’s event, to be held on Nov. 5, will include all of the popular attractions of last year. There will be a 10-mile island ride on the Isle of Palms as well as three other cycling routes – 25, 55 and 100 miles – that depart from Charleston and end at the Isle of Palms finish line. There, a big block party that includes food, vendors and live music will await participants. There also will be stationary classes and a virtual participation option.
“The success we saw in LOWVELO21 was only made possible because of our incredible participants, 200 volunteers and supportive sponsors like the Beemok Family Foundation and OneMUSC,” she said. “All of that $551,017 will support lifesaving cancer research at Hollings. While we are proud of what we accomplished in 2021, we know we want to do even more in 2022.”
LOWVELO22 will launch on March 14, offering free registration and a special 24-hour-long promotional period. This year’s theme will explore how LOWVELO isn’t just an event – it’s a lifestyle.
“We want to encourage people of all walks of life and fitness levels to get physically active while supporting an incredible mission that impacts everyone,” Haynie said. “We also find the event is a great way that people like to honor cancer survivors in their families or loved ones whom they have lost. One of the most rewarding moments is seeing people sign our ‘Why I Ride’ wall on event day. There’s just so much passion and excitement among our participants and volunteers. It’s amazing to see.”
Raymond N. DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., Hollings’ director, said this year’s theme fits perfectly with the cancer center’s mission to raise cancer awareness and promote cancer screenings.
“LOWVELO is an important way the cancer center connects to the community it serves. Not only does the event raise money for lifesaving cancer research, it also lets the community get more involved in learning about the research and cancer prevention programs offered through Hollings, the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.”
DuBois said one of his favorite parts of last year’s events was all the Hollings researchers who showed up in their ‘Ask me about my research’ T-shirts. “It was fun for them and for participants who wanted to engage with them. Many people’s lives are touched by cancer, and this event gives everyone a chance to bond, share their stories and help fund the cures of tomorrow.”
DuBois said LOWVELO’s impact already has been felt at Hollings. In 2021, LOWVELO funded a $50,000 research grant to create purified versions of CAR-T-cells, which are used to treat certain leukemia and lymphoma patients. This project is just one of many examples of how Hollings is moving cancer care forward. CAR-T-cell therapy gives hope to some patients who have few treatment options left. By purifying CAR-T-cells, the hope is to reduce side effects and make this cutting-edge treatment more accessible to patients in South Carolina.
Ja’Net Bishop rode in a stationary cycling class last year to honor her mom, Carrie Smalls, who was treated at Hollings for Burkitt’s Lymphoma.
Given the generous support of sponsors, 100% of participants’ fundraising efforts is guaranteed to go to supporting cancer research. To celebrate the launch of this year’s campaign, anyone who registers on March 14 will have the lowest fundraising minimum for any route – $300. The fundraising minimum for students, patients and cancer survivors is $250 for any route. After the promotional period, fundraising minimums will be determined by the route length as shown on the website. Participants will then also have a lower registration fee for LOWVELO22 – $50 that will go towards their fundraising minimums.
Jenny McKay, LOWVELO21’s top fundraiser, said it’s a lot easier raising the money than people realize. She is excited about getting more people involved in the cause over the next year. McKay raised $30,450 to support cancer research at Hollings during LOWVELO21. McKay’s team, Suenami, was named in honor of her mother, Susan Sullivan, who has battled melanoma 29 times.
“I can’t do anything about my genetics that places me at a higher risk of skin cancer,” McKay said. “What I can do is live an active lifestyle by participating in events like LOWVELO, eat healthy and get checked for cancer regularly. Those are things that I can control.”
McKay feels lucky to have Hollings in the community and offered fundraising advice for others hoping to support cancer research by participating in LOWVELO22. “I think raising funds is easier when you’re really passionate about what you’re doing,” she said.
“For me, I sent emails to a bunch of people and told them about the event and why we were doing it. They were happy to give. I think that is one of the best tips I can give others who want to participate in LOWVELO and are nervous about fundraising. Cancer is a common enemy and something most people want to get involved in to fight back.”