I think I know the question you may be asking yourself: Why should I pay $25 to participate in this year’s virtual Tour des Chutes? A voice over your left shoulder has some persuasive arguments. You can ride, run, or walk the traditional event courses any day of the week at no charge. You can finally sleep in on July 11th, the scheduled event day, rather than getting up early to prepare yourself and your gear for a challenging day of exercise. You can leave it to others in the community to do the heavy lifting for cancer patients and their families.
But another voice over your right shoulder knows that you have never been one to sit on the sidelines. You are a doer. You are a fighter. You are a survivor. Nothing makes you sleep better at night than knowing that you did your part to help other people in your community.
The coronavirus pandemic will make the 2020 Tour des Chutes different from the event that you have grown to cherish over the years. But it will not make the event any less meaningful or important. The reasons for you to participate as a sponsor, rider, runner, or walker are as compelling as they have ever been. In fact, the need for your involvement may never be greater than it is now. The beneficiaries of the Tour des Chutes may not only be dealing with the financial and emotional stress of cancer and cancer treatments; they may also be struggling with pandemic-related losses of income, mobility, resources, and support.
For the past 16 years, the Tour des Chutes has provided you with welcome and poignant reminders of how lucky you are to be healthy, happy, and living in Central Oregon. Do yourself the favor of registering for this year’s updates. When you head out to log miles for the virtual event, think of the parent whose name was lovingly written on the number badge of your fellow participant. When you find yourself struggling to climb a hill, think of the child who struggles every day just to survive. When you finish a hard workout, think of the friend who would give anything to feel the same sense of accomplishment, freedom, exhilaration that you have just experienced.
You may do the 2020 Tour des Chutes virtually. You may even log some miles by yourself. But you will not do the event alone. You will participate as a sponsor, rider, runner, or walker with others and for others. Your involvement will help people right here in our community, not only by generating revenues for needed treatments and support, but also by setting for your family members, friends, and others an inspiring example of activism and engagement. You will participate in this year because you can—and because you should. It’s just who you are.
Some things never change.
Gary Bruce, Tour des Chutes Board Chair