Monday, July 18, 2011

Tour Des Chutes Raises Over $90,000 for Cancer Survivorship

Bend, Or.  The Punch Worthington Lab is pleased to have helped the 7th Annual Tour Des Chutes raise over $90,000 for cancer survivorship programs in Central Oregon.

Chris Horner, L, and Roger Worthington, R,
enjoying their moment in the sun at
the 2011 Tour Des Chutes in Bend, Oregon. 
Over 1,100 riders, a record, participated in the fun ride, which offered routes between 7 and 100 miles between Bend, Oregon and the Cascade Range. In it's 7th year, the TdC raised over $90,000, another record. Since 2006, the TdC has donated over $430,000 to cancer survivorship programs, including the Livestrong Foundation. 

"This was the best year ever, " beamed Roger Worthington, who has emceed the post-race party the last 5 years. "The live music was awesome, the food was delicious, the crowd was animated, the speakers were inspiring and it didn't rain the entire time."

The Punch Worthington Lab, in honor of Dave "Punch" Worthington, a rugged Oregonian crabber and bow hunter who passed away from asbestos cancer in 2006, is affiliated with the Pacific Heart Lung and Blood Institute, a 501(c)(3) medical foundation in Los Angeles. PHLBI dedicated the Punch Worthington Lab at UCLA Medical School in 2005. 

The Tour Des Chutes is a non-profit, all volunteer charity which holds an annual fun ride, the net proceeds of which are donated to cancer survivorship programs in Central Oregon. The TdC is the brainchild of Gary Bonacker, diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer five years ago, and is still smiling and looking stronger than ever. 

Punch Worthington
A highlight of the extraordinary day of fun, hope, gratitude, cycling and music was a cameo appearance by local hero Chris Horner, who recently crashed out of the Tour De France. Horner was predicted by insiders to be a podium contender, at the ripe young age of 39.  Horner will be hosting the Cascade Gran Fondo in Bend on August 18-20, a multi-day series of rides, lectures and parties, the proceeds of which will benefit local cancer research and advocacy programs.

Horner suffered a mild concussion after crashing in France.  Worthington jokingly asked him if he recalled their conversation the morning of the crash in which he promised Worthington a spot on the Radio Shack's team bus for next years Tour Des France. Horner, a seasoned and charismatic speaker, didn't miss a beat: "Actually that was the only thing I remembered from that day."

The Punch Worthington Lab has been a yellow jersey sponsor of the TdC the past 5 years and has enjoyed helping the event grow into one of the most prestigious, fun and successful cancer fundraising events in Oregon.  The ride registration filled up early this year and the TdC was forced to turn away willing participants, always a tough thing to do by a non-profit. Next year the TdC hopes to raise the ceiling on its registration and expand the venue, but just in case a reminder to sign up early!


Roger Worthington