This year’s Pedal the Cause event may have looked different than years prior, but the Washington University Urology team reached a special achievement in fundraising.
Each fall, Pedal the Cause’s cycling event raises thousands of dollars to help fund innovative cancer research at Siteman Cancer Center and Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. To recognize top fundraisers, the nonprofit organization has established Lifetime Impact Societies. Individuals and teams become members of these societies when they reach certain fundraising milestones. This year, the Urology team became members of the Lifetime Bronze Impact Society, a collection of individuals or teams that have raised over $100,000 throughout their Pedal the Cause history.
This Lifetime Bronze Impact Society achievement for the Urology team demonstrates their dedication to the fight against cancer. The team has been riding since 2012 and has a lifetime fundraising total of $111,071.48. Washington University urologic surgeons with Siteman Cancer Center treat kidney cancer, prostate, bladder and testicular cancer. As urologists, researchers, patients and friends, they have experienced firsthand the effects of the disease.
When the team formed in 2012, Robert Grubb III, MD, was the first team captain. Department of Surgery faculty who have participated in the event over the years include Sherb Figenshau, MD, Doug Coplen, MD, Gino Vricella, MD, and Dane Johnson, MD. Graduate residents have also been a part of the team, with current resident Jonathan Weese, MD, riding this year and former resident Michael Glamore, MD, participating two years ago. Furthermore, medical oncologist, Russell Pachynski, MD, rode with the group in 2020 as well.
Century riders, or riders who have biked over 100 miles, include Figenshau, Coplen, Vricella, Johnson and Glamore.
Figenshau is the current team captain and a longtime supporter of Pedal the Cause. He started riding as an individual from the event’s beginnings in 2009 and has participated with the team every year since 2012.
“The ride is great fun and is well organized. It is a great way to get involved in a community effort to support local cancer research,” stated Figenshau.
Figenshau is also the top fundraiser of the group. For the past nine years, he has earned a yellow jersey, which is a status participants gain once they raise over $2,500 for that year. Oftentimes Figenshau surpasses this fundraising goal, bringing his lifetime total to $25,275.
This fundraising achievement for the Urology team came during a year when nonprofit organizations were tasked with the challenge of raising the same amount of money from their usual events, while also adhering to COVID-19 restrictions.
With the health and wellness of the community in mind, Pedal the Cause decided to not have the annual in-person cycling event, but instead encouraged participants to complete their physical challenge virtually on Sept. 26 and 27. Registrants chose their own activity, such as biking, spinning, running, walking or a combination of exercises, and shared their progress on social media.
Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the virtual event was a great success, with 3,485 participants and a total of $3,005,498 raised. Throughout Pedal the Cause’s 11-year history, they have raised over $32 million in public donations, 100% of which have gone on to fund cancer research.
Founded in 2009 by a two-time lymphoma survivor, Bill Koman, Pedal the Cause aims to provide critical funding for cancer research at Siteman Cancer Center and Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. It is the organization’s hope that the research funded by Pedal the Cause will ultimately lead to a cure for cancer.