Pedaling for a hope of life
Over 25 hundred cyclists from both sides of the border participated on Saturday, March 19 in the second edition of the family ride called “Pedaling for a hope of life”, organized by the Castro-Limon Foundation (CLF) to benefit children with cancer in Baja California.
The CLF is a non-profit organization founded in 2002, when two young Baja California businessmen Juan Carlos Castro Munguía and Irineo Limon Vargas where diagnosed with cancer, and dreamed one day to create a foundation to help children overcome this disease.
In honor of their memory, family members now work to raise funds for the medical attention of more than 35 children.
In 2010 they created a 60 kilometer bicycle ride which started in the former Baja FOX Studios in Rosarito Beach and finished in the Bibayoff vineyards in the Valley of Guadalupe in Ensenada.
The results of the first bike ride were so positive for the organization that they decided to organize a second one in 2011.
For Julia Limon, CLF board member and event organizer, this year’s outcome was better than everyone expected.
“We were all very pleased with the participation of all of the cyclists, the sponsors and the government agencies that helped us with the event” said Limon, pleasantly surprised with the positive family and sports atmosphere.
The official registration began very early Saturday morning, with the help of hundreds of volunteers from CLF and the sponsoring companies. The ride took off at 10 am at the kilometer 35 of the Tijuana-Ensenada toll-free road.
During most of the ride cyclists enjoyed the beautiful coastal scenery of Rosarito Beach, and after that they enjoyed the country scenery of the famous Wine Route of Ensenada during the second part of the trip.
The 300 peso (25 dollar) contribution included water and fruit in the four refreshment stations located at various stages of the trip, and event t-shirts for the first 15 hundred cyclists to reach the finishing point. They where also provided with technical and medical assistance during the ride, as well as insurance coverage in case of accidents.
Participants who couldn’t physically continue riding were picked up by “the sweeper,” a vehicle that transported cyclists and their bikes to the finishing point. Officers from the Ensenada and Rosarito Police Department, as well as Federal Police agents cleared the traffic during the bike ride.
The finishing point was located in the Bibayoff vineyards, property of a family of wine-making Russians who immigrated to the Valley of Guadalupe over a hundred years ago and carrying on the ancient family tradition.
At their arrival, participants enjoyed an open-air festival with food, wine and music for the whole family. This year’s success was such that organizers have decided to continue the family bicycle ride in 2012.
The Castro-Limon Foundation
The funds raised will be destined to the medical treatment of children with cancer who require two-month chemotherapy sessions with an average cost of 300 thousand pesos (25 thousand dollars).
Since 2006 the Castro-Limon Foundation has operated the Oncological-Pediatric Center of Baja California, a medical complex specially designed to provide comprehensive treatment for infants.
This is the only hospital of it’s king in Mexico and it has provided attention to over 700 children and their families, “because when a children gets sick, the whole family gets sick” said Julia Limon.
She explained that kids are not only provided with medical attention, they also receive psychological support from the beginning of their treatment, “because when they get sick, the first thing they think is that they will no longer be here in this world.”
She also takes importance in tendering children exclusively, because otherwise they are treated with adults and elderly people, which tends to impact them emotionally. “That’s why we say that it’s a comprehensive treatment” said Limon.
Proud of the hard work of all of the members of the CLF, Julia explained that during their nine years as a foundation they have contributed to the increase of the survival rate in children with cancer in Baja California from 6 to 8.4 percent.
“For many children the foundation has been a hope of life”.