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More than 500 riders are looking forward to a day full of biking, Iowa sights, great food and live entertainment as they prepare for the 14th annual Courage Ride on Aug. 18.
Jackie and Tom Bailey of Riverside started the event to honor and remember their son, Seth Bailey, who died after battling with sarcoma cancer for eight years. The Courage Ride started in 2005 and has grown into something bigger than what Jackie had ever expected. In total, the event has raised $649,000 over the years for local sarcoma research.
“When creating the event, we wanted to do something different since everyone seems to do walks or runs to raise money,” Jackie said. “In the past, we would take family trips to Colorado to ride our bikes, and Seth always enjoyed riding his bike.”
Having a bike ride as their event helped the Baileys reach out to a different crowd of people, and it was something that could be local and sustainable.
The first year, they had around 300 people sign up for the day-long bike ride and raised $30,000 to donate to the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Sarcoma Research Program. As years passed, more and more people started to sign up and donate. Last year, they had more than 500 riders and raised $60,000.
“This year we plan to have over 500 people again,” Jackie said. “I am looking forward to a fun day whether it’s a rainy day or a sunny one. There will be food, bands, and a lot of excitement for the riders to enjoy.”
Riders will start at Iowa Mennonite School, then travel on seven different paved routes. The routes include lengths of 12, 16, 24, 39, 59, 81 and 100 miles. There will be a Seth Bailey Memorial Route that is east of the Iowa Mennonite School and stretches to the Grout Cemetery, where Seth is buried.
Starting Aug. 11, adult registration is $85 and youth registration is $15. This fee covers breakfast and lunch provided by Hy-Vee, rest stops full of live entertainment, shower facilities and SAG support.
On the same day of the ride, there will be a silent auction for bikers to participate in. Inside Iowa Mennonite School, there will be free skin cancer screenings provided by the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. The screenings are open to the public, and people are encouraged to go.
“I would like to thank the surrounding communities for all of their help these past few years,” Jackie said. “We wouldn’t be where we are now without their support.”
At the July 31 Kalona Rotary Club meeting, Kalona City Administrator Ryan Slabaugh presented Jackie with a $1,000 check for the Courage Ride.
Slabaugh said that the funds were raised by the sale of a commemorative patch sold during RAGBRAI and sponsored by Hills Bank and Trust and CBI Bank and Trust.