Tour de La Porte Raises Record Funds

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By: Lakeshore Staff

September 30, 2014 — It was a record-breaking weekend for Tour de La Porte, Ind. this year, as more than 1,300 registrants from nine different states helped raise more than $70,000 to support cancer patients and their families in La Porte County.

The enhanced three-day event August 22-24 included a first-ever 5K trail run and Rotary spaghetti dinner on Friday evening, followed by running and mountain biking events on Saturday, and road cycling on Sunday. Tour de La Porte is spearheaded by The Foundation in support of IU Health La Porte Hospital to raise funds to support patients and families fighting cancer. All proceeds from the event remain in the local community.

Mark Kosior, Tour de La Porte committee chairperson, completed his first 100-mile bike ride that Sunday, and said participating in the event provides an entirely different perspective than helping to plan it.

“When you’re out on the road and you think you just can’t go one more mile, you start to realize that someone else out there is fighting a more severe battle – a cancer battle – and you know that you can keep going in their honor,” Kosior said. “The amount of community support that goes into this massive event is humbling – from sponsors, to volunteers, to committee members and participants. We had everyone from serious athletes to weekend warriors, families, children and seniors participating in all the events, and we couldn’t say thank you enough to every single person who was involved.”

Special stories this year included Jacinto Garcia, who rode his first ever cycling event with Dr. Aileen Stiller, who delivered him as a baby 13 years ago. Seven individuals completed the three-day challenge – an event on all three days of the Tour. They were: Laurel Baker, Kathleen Lang, John Ryder, Mike Steinhubel, Thor Thordarson, and Keith Baker and Josh Cook. Of those, Cook logged the most miles – about 70 total – of biking and running over the course of three days. Ryan Sobecki traveled home from South Dakota to join his father for Tour events this year, in honor of mother and wife Linda Sobecki. The Foundation assisted the Sobecki family during Linda’s battle with cancer, and participating in The Tour’s 5K walk was a proud moment for Linda before she passed away. Today, the Sobecki family, including Ryan, brother Eric and dad Jeffrey are sponsors of the event.

Maria Fruth, executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Foundation, expressed sincere gratitude to event sponsors, participants and the more than 120 volunteers who helped make the event successful.

“The very morning of Tour de La Porte, I was called back to the office for an emergency evaluation of a patient with cancer who needed help to pay for her medication. That was my reminder that the event is worth every effort, and every gift,” Fruth said. “We are so grateful that our sponsors approach this event as a partnership, and truly understand the need in our community.”

Al’s Supermarkets sponsored the food for tour participants at headquarters, and served as a SAG stop for cyclists on Sunday in Michigan City. But in a special event of their own, Al’s employees wore the bright pink Tour T-shirts while working, and raised more than $5,000 for the Tour by inviting shopping customers to donate and be recognized with a card posted inside the supermarkets.

“The gift and the awareness that Al’s helped create for the Tour de La Porte really was exceptional,” Fruth said.

Source: Indiana University Health

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