Have you heard about the Great Cycle Challenge? Team eThink has been participating since 2018 and we [virtually] sat down with Jesse Safran, Senior Technical Analyst at eThink and a GCC Champion for this year’s event, to learn more about this yearly challenge that supports a great cause.
For those who do not know, what is the Great Cycle Challenge & how did it get its start?
The Great Cycle Challenge USA (GCC, #GCCUSA) started in 2015. It is a month-long event in which cyclists across the US challenge themselves to see how many miles they can ride and how much money they can raise for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF).
The CCRF is a non-profit that raises money for childhood cancer research and the support of families and children with cancer. CCRF’s ties to cycling date all the way back to 1979 when 13-year-old Katie Hageboeck, who was nearing the end of her 16-month battle with leukemia, requested that her savings for a new 10-speed bike be donated to the CCRF.
What impact has GCC had?
In the first 5 years of the GCC, over $24 million has been raised to support the CCRF. This year, GCC participants have already added over $10 million to that total just a week and a half into this year’s event. These funds are then used for funding cancer research and helping families, including over $94 million in research grants nationwide since the beginning of the CCRF.
When did you get involved with GCC and what is your role as a GCC ambassador this year?
I first got involved with the GCC in 2018, beginning with two other eThinkers, Jordan DeGroot and Nathan Rosenquist. At the time, the three of us were looking for ways to engage a small eThink fitness club in some sort of event that we could do together, despite being miles apart due to our remote work environment. All three of us are cyclists, so when I saw an ad on Facebook a few days later for the GCC, it seemed like a perfect fit. Jordan and Nathan were on board immediately and we all signed up. We started off the first year not knowing what to expect, but ended up with 21 eThinkers participating, riding nearly 1500 miles as a team, and raising over $7,000! Most importantly, we all had a lot of fun getting a bit more fit, posting pictures of our rides, and telling stories of what we would see out on the roads across the country!
This year I took on the role of being a GCC ambassador, referred to as a GCC Champion. My responsibility is to help spread the word about the event and help others get involved, both as participants and donors.
How have you gotten other members of the eThink team involved in this event?
It has grown somewhat organically. The three of us just started by discussing it on our eThink Slack channels and trying to get a few people to join us. Once it gained a bit of momentum, our co-founders, Brian Carlson and Cheryl Patsavos, joined in on the ride and started to support the GCC as a company-wide initiative, including donating money each year to the GCC in each of our names.
In the past two years of participating, our team has raised over $12,000 to support the GCC and it’s an event that we look forward to participating in every year.
How can people get involved in the GCC?
There are three ways to get involved in the GCC. You can:
- Sign up to participate at https://greatcyclechallenge.com/. Simply sign yourself up, pledge a certain distance, and then begin fundraising. The site makes it easy to get started, including info for you to share about your ride and fundraiser on social media.
- You can donate to the eThink team by going to https://greatcyclechallenge.com/Teams/eThinkers and directly clicking “Donate Now”.
- You can donate to a rider, like your favorite participating eThinker! Just go to https://greatcyclechallenge.com/Teams/eThinkers, click on one of the riders you wish to donate to, and click the Donate Now button on their rider page.
Anything else you want people to know about the GCC?
I hope to see some folks join in because it’s a lot of fun and for a great cause!
Our team also put together a list of some of our favorite GCC riding tunes, check them out for your next ride or workout!Listen
If you’re willing and able to donate, we would appreciate the support! Please visit our team page to donate or share.Donate
About Jesse Safran
Jesse Safran is a Senior Technical Analyst at eThink Education, where he helps implement and support clients as they integrate their authentication, enrollment, and information systems into Moodle. In his spare time, he is a Husband, Daddy, Cyclist, Hockey Player, and Hockey fan.