LOWVELO ambassador pushes MUSC, community to pedal for cancer

June 06, 2019
Kathy Cole with a Lowvelo bike
MUSC First Lady Kathy Cole sees new bike ride as an innovative way to create healthier communities while raising money for cancer research. Photo by Emma Vought

Always one to support an innovative idea, MUSC first lady Kathy Cole was intrigued when she heard about LOWVELO, a new bike ride coming to Charleston where 100 percent of the rider-raised dollars will go to fund cancer research at Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

The wife of MUSC President David Cole, M.D., FACS, Kathy has strong ties to the medical community and hopes to encourage MUSC employees and others who join MUSC teams to get the most out of participating in the event. Scheduled for Nov. 1 and 2, the ride features three routes, 25-, 50- and 100-mile options, which showcase the scenic landscapes of the Lowcountry.

One of her favorite features? The community joins together for a common cause.

Kathy explains why she’s so passionate about the bike ride.

How can this innovative fundraiser be a game changer?

Every dollar raised by riders goes directly to cancer research. Every dollar! That is one thing that makes this fundraising campaign so special.

Why was it important for you to serve as team captain of MUSC’s super Peloton named oneMUSC?

My career started as a pediatric oncology nurse. I have seen firsthand how cancer can affect an individual, a family, a community. I have also been married to a surgical oncologist for over 30 years, so “cancer” has always been a part of our lives. As team captain, I can help make an impact in our MUSC family and community by supporting those who have dedicated their time and effort for this great cause.

How has cancer affected your family?

Cancer has touched many members of both my and Dave’s family. It makes us appreciate the days and time we have with each other. It also makes me want to find a cure, finally, so families don’t have to go through the pain.

Why is it so important to advance cancer research? 

As an institution, we have made great strides in cancer research – strides that are only made possible through extramural funding such as research grants and the generosity of philanthropy. Fundraising is essential to ensure that these research strides continue in a positive and forward-moving direction.

Beyond supporting cancer research, this ride also promotes healthy lifestyles. Why is this an important mission to you?

Living a healthy lifestyle and supporting the promotion of healthy communities is not only one of MUSC’s Imagine 2020 initiatives, it is also a way that we, as a family, can come together to support each other. This ride does just that. It will bring together hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals from MUSC and all over the state to support each other and to stand together for a purpose that promotes healthy living while simultaneously funding cancer research. Sounds like a win-win to me!

This event encompasses every one of MUSC’s five Imagine 2020 goals.. Why is that exciting?

Our MUSC family, including leaders, faculty, staff and students, worked together for countless hours, with insight from every entity across our institution, to design a strategic plan that supports the mission and vision of MUSC. The mere fact that we can see all five of these goals being implemented on a daily basis proves that the thought that went into designing this strategy was purposeful, insightful, mission-based work. This event not only supports our goals of Patients and Families First, Healthy Communities, Diversity and Inclusion, Scientific Discoveries and Innovative Learning but also promotes our values of Compassion, Collaboration, Respect, Integrity and Innovation. This is truly amazing. 

What’s your favorite part about the ride?

Having the opportunity to be a part of it! I plan to be here every step of the way – to support our riders and to be at the registration event and the post-ride celebrations where I can interact with my MUSC family members, congratulate them on an amazing and fun day and thank them for the impact  they are making for the future of cancer research.

This ride helps take the message of cancer prevention into the community – literally. Why is this important? 

You cannot support something that you are unaware of. The more people we can affect, the better. The more people who see our riders on the streets and ask “What is this about?” – the more awareness we can raise. More awareness leads to more interest, and  more interest brings even more participation and contributions.

Why should people participate?

Every person, in one way or another, is affected by cancer. Whether it is personally, their family members, their friends or acquaintances. Making an impact through awareness and fundraising touches everyone. This helps move cancer research to the next phase. It’s a small yet mighty contribution.

About the Author

Dawn Brazell

Keywords: Cancer