The impact of an upcoming event, hits home for a WNC Family

The four words no parent wants to hear: “Your child has cancer.” Childhood cancer is not rare; the statistics are staggering. In the U.S., 43 children are diagnosed with cancer every day, and one in five will not survive. Cancer is the leading cause of death in children, and 95% of the survivors have significant treatment related issues. Sadly, the research to develop better treatments is underfunded, and many people are not even aware of the disparity. To raise awareness, ten years ago the president declared September as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

St Baldricks Foundation has raised over $322 million since 2005 for all types of childhood cancer research grants, and has made huge strides in treatments and cures for many of them.

Noah and Tiffany Martin are well aware of cancer’s devastating effects on children and their families. Four months after the birth of their fourth child, their daughter Olivia was diagnosed with retinoblastoma March 3, 2014. Living in Camden, SC at the time, the Martins rushed to the Palmetto Children’s Hospital in Columbia, SC, and later referred to the hospital in Charleston. Two days after her third birthday, Olivia underwent surgery to remove her right eye. Fortunately, the surgery was a success; the cancer had not spread outside the orbit. But, like all families affected by the disease, the trials had only just begun; Tiffany lost her job as a nurse in the hospital nursery and Noah had to work two jobs to make ends meet. Frequent visits to Charleston, expenses not covered by insurance, and the loss of a substantial source of income forced them to move. By what can only be viewed as divine providence, Noah was offered a job at Bonclarken Conference Center in Flat Rock, and that job came with an on-site residence. That was in 2015. Now the Martin Family—Noah, Tiffany, Zoe (15), Landon (13), Olivia (11), and Avery (8)—are thriving here in western North Carolina, homeschooling the kids, working, and biking the trails.

Daphne Kirkwood, owner and executive director of iDaph events, reached out to Barbara Ritchey, the local volunteer event organizer for St Baldrick’s; for the second year in a row, St Baldrick’s is one of the featured nonprofit partners for the Asheville Off Road Series at Ride Kanuga on September 18. As part of their ongoing effort to give back to the local community, donations through the AORS will support St. Baldrick’s Foundation and their efforts to help conquer kids’ cancer, and iDream Athletes Foundation. St. Baldrick’s Foundation funds the most promising research to give families new options and give kids long and healthy lives. Participants who donate $35 or more by September 5th will receive a free St. Baldrick’s goody bag! iDream Athletes Foundation is a tax-exempt nonprofit that provides needs-based scholarships for youth and adults of WNC who are unable to pay for sporting event fees, coaching, travel expenses or equipment to train for and/or participate in events.

Participants can choose between three racing options for the AORS. The Asheville Duathlon is a 2.5 mile, mostly single-track trail run, 13 mile mixed surface (both paved and gravel/dirt roads) bike, and a final 2.5 mile trail off-road run. The Asheville Gravel Grinder bike events offer a 25 or 42 mile option. NEW for 2022 - the Team Duathlon! One runner + One biker = 2 person duathlon team!

All these events are perfect for the seasoned athlete, the weekend warriors and even the joy-riders in search of some gorgeous WNC scenery. Participants who register by August 31st will receive a free shirt and a goody bag with their registration and award winners will receive a gorgeous, locally handmade AORS pottery mug. Find out more about the Asheville off Road Series HERE! 

This year, the goal is $2000! Want to give back NOW!?! Check out the new Weekend Warrior Giveaway where you could win $700 worth of swag, entries and prizes all to help raise funds for St. Baldrick’s HERE!