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Huntsman Cancer Foundation and Cycling: A Powerful Partnership

Read Time: 3 minutes
Author: Brent Chambers

From time to time, Huntsman Cancer Institute invites guest commentary from our community. The views reflected in these commentaries are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Huntsman Hero cyclists at 2023 LoToJa
Huntsman Hero cyclists at 2023 LoToJa

Huntsman Cancer Foundation (HCF) has a long-standing tradition of teaming with top regional cycling events to support Huntsman Cancer Institute's critical work. Brent Chambers is a key figure behind this successful fundraising initiative. Brent shares his story about getting involved with HCF and why cyclists should join the cause at Huntsman SportsFest on June 8.

When did LoToJa start fundraising for HCF?

Since 1998, I’ve been the owner and race director for LoToJa, a 200-mile ride from Logan, Utah, to Jackson, Wyoming. It's the longest one-day, USA Cycling–sanctioned bicycle race in the country. Our first fundraising year was 2003. Coincidently, Jaryd Bern, the son of David Bern (one of LoToJa’s two founders), approached me and asked if LoToJa would like to help HCF. At the time, Jaryd was a student at the University of Utah serving as the president of the Sigma Chi fraternity. Sigma Chi was, and still is, a major supporter and fundraiser for HCF. In this first year, LoToJa raised and donated $345. We managed to jump that number to over $6,000 in 2004 and we worked hard over several seasons to grow to our current average of about $130,000 per year.

Why did you make HCF the charity for LoToJa?

We are all affected by cancer. I do not know of any family that has been exempt from some type of cancer diagnosis. Cancer does not discriminate.

My family is no exception. I was nine months old when my maternal grandmother, Lavern, passed from ovarian cancer. She was just two months shy of turning 64. Twenty-six years later, and coincidentally, at the same age, my aunt Madelyn (Lavern’s oldest daughter) was taken by the same cancer. In 2001, my ever-so-sweet and kind mother-in-law also fell victim to cancer from complications that developed from her chemotherapy treatment. She too, was 64 when she succumbed to the disease. A year prior to her passing, in March 2000, at the age of 64 (there’s that number again), my own mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She had a single mastectomy followed by radiation and chemotherapy. Gratefully, she is still living, but she still battles the lingering effects of cancer and the aggressive treatments she received.

What is your role in Huntsman SportsFest and how did you get involved?

In 2016, I joined the Events Team at HCF with great excitement. I knew this group well and respected it because of LoToJa’s fundraising association. My specific role at HCF is to plan and organize the ride portion of Huntsman SportsFest. This includes working with and developing good relationships with all vendors, sponsors, communities, and volunteers.

I am grateful to be a part of the HCF mission and team. I admire and enjoy the people I have the privilege of working with. They are kind, hardworking, and reliable. I am committed to doing my small part to help make sure Huntsman SportsFest is as safe as possible for every cyclist.

Brent Chambers crossing the 2023 LoToJa finish line in Jackson, Wyoming
Brent Chambers crossing the 2023 LoToJa finish line in Jackson, Wyoming

How do you feel about LoToJa nearing the $3 million mark for cancer research?

First and foremost, I feel immense gratitude for the support of so many LoToJa cyclists. Second, I have a renewed perspective and appreciation for the power of what one person’s fundraising commitment can do when combined with the grassroots efforts of others. Each year, roughly 200 LoToJa cyclists decide to join our charitable work. Some join LoToJa’s Huntsman Heroes VIP team. We also include the opportunity to support local charities, including HCF, when participants submit the LoToJa registration application. Year after year, it’s definitely heartwarming to witness the generosity of so many cyclists.

Why is it important to continue funding cancer research?

Funding cancer research is important to better understand these diseases and improve, expand, and discover new and more effective treatments, with the ultimate goal of curing cancer. Every dollar helps!

Why should cyclists ride in Huntsman SportsFest?

1. To be an integral part of HCF’s fundraising effort to fuel the important research at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

2. To join a community of amazing and inspiring humans who share similar experiences, values, and hope for the future of cancer research and treatment.

3. To get outside and experience an amazing event that deepens one’s purpose in life—and lifts and motivates other cyclists to join, give, and succeed with you.

Cancer touches all of us.