Athletes participate in Colden cyclocross race to benefit Take a Breath for Life Foundation and the Lung Cancer Alliance
Cyclists and spectators from as far away as Rochester and Ontario showed up to support lung cancer research and participate in the festivities.
Michelle McMahon, cofounder of Take a Breath for Life, called the stigma of lung cancer’s being a “smoker’s disease” unfair. McMahon’s mother died of lung cancer in the 1970s. McMahon herself is a survivor of lung cancer and neither woman was a smoker.
Having seen, first-hand, the effects of lung cancer, McMahon said that she is doing everything within her power to raise awareness of that disease.
The Bank of Holland has been a title sponsor for the Take a Breath for Life event for two years. “They took care of all the race stuff and we took care of the food and other things,” McMahon said.
Approximately 80 racers took part in the cyclocross race. They paid a fee to register; 33 percent of the earnings went to the Take a Breath for Life organization and 100 percent of those profits went to lung cancer research and to support the Lung Cancer Alliance.
McMahon said that volunteers were a “staple” in this fundraising event, and said the participants “worked diligently at the raffle and refreshment stand.” Among the volunteers at the refreshment stand was Councilwoman Patricia Zurbrick of the Colden Town Board.
Porcelain Train, an acoustic duo featuring Buffalo area natives Tamala and Ralph Fonda, performed next to the raffle and refreshment stand. Tamala Fonda played the acoustic guitar and Ralph Fonda played the djembe. Both added vocals to the music.
The cyclocross race took up much of the park’s open area. Yellow tape marked the racetrack and the spots where the cyclists needed to turn.
Alexa Herding, who traveled from Rochester to take part in the women’s open portion of the race, said, “The top half was pretty fun, the corners were slippery, but manageable, and the bottom was a big mud pit, which was fun.”
David Farrett, a respiratory therapist from Salamanca, participated in the 3/4-mile race and his wife, Michelle Farrett, showed her support on the sideline. Many supporters and spectators were present for the races, including a kids’ racing event at the top of the hill.
The winners of the citizens’ race were Tom Kapturowski in third place, James Hughey in second and Jonathan Finn in first place.
The victors of the women’s open race included Anne August in third place, Bonnie Symes in second place and Casey Kelly in first.
Christopher Fuller came in first place in the masters men 45-and-older division. Following behind him in second place was Justin Gabreski and, in third, was Brian Rohr.
Interested parties may still support the Take a Breath for Life initiative through donations. Checks made payable to the Take a Breath for Life Foundation can be mailed to 8448 Heath Road, Colden NY 14033. PayPal® donations are also accepted through the foundation’s site at www.takeabreathforlife.com.