RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Kevin Breen didn’t have a road bike of his own and had no experience in fundraising when he joined CBS 17’s team for The V Foundation’s Victory Ride to Cure Cancer.
“I actually don’t own a bike. That was part of, I think, the irony or the funny part of the story. I don’t have a bike. I’ve never been an outdoor cyclist,” Breen said.
That didn’t prove to be much of a hurdle. Breen raised almost $22,000, which was more than any other rider in the 2021 event, and propelled Team CBS 17 to second place in team fundraising.
Breen committed to riding 60 miles in the event. He borrowed a 30-year-old bicycle from his uncle. He took his training from his Peloton to the roads in Davidson. He began with 15-mile rides and worked his way up to eclipsing the 50-mile mark the week before the Victory Ride.
His mother-in-law’s battle with cancer was the motivation behind it all.
“This year was a little more special, if you will, or just a little more important,” Breen said. “My mother-in-law, who, obviously, I’m very close to, has been battling breast cancer since 2015. It had gone into remission for a couple of years, and we thought she had beat it, but unfortunately, it came back two summers ago, and it’s been tough.
“I immediately thought of her. I thought in some small way, maybe I could make something good happen out of what she’s going through. I did it in support of her and in honor of her struggle.”
Breen said the heat, humidity, and hills — especially the hills — caught up with him as the ride went on. He was determined, though, and he crossed the finish line at North Carolina State’s Centennial Campus about 6 hours and 20 minutes after departing.
“There’s just no way I was going to let her down, or all the people who supported me through donations,” Breen said.
Drumming up so much support came down to reaching out to friends and family individually. He’s not on social media. Every penny he raised came from one-to-one emails and text messages to people he knows.
Breen said he was overwhelmed by the backing he got.
“It was an amazing experience. It was a humbling experience, quite frankly, just recognizing the generosity of so many friends and family who just gave, and gave immediately upon ask,” Breen said. “So, for background, I’ve never done this before. I’ve never done a charity ride and I’ve never done fundraising. That was part of my story. I simply went to friends and family. I made a list of everybody I knew, everybody I feel I knew. I didn’t call everybody in the world I’ve ever met.”
Even with how hot it was and how challenging the route was at times, whether he’d do it again was hardly a consideration for Breen.
“In a heartbeat. I would definitely do it again for a lot of reasons. One is, I’ve already said it’s an incredible cause. I’d love to continue to support it going forward. Then on the personal side, I just want to do it again. I know I can do it.
“I want to be more prepared, I guess, and I want to beat the heat next time. I’ll probably get a better bike, though.”
Breen also wanted to recognize the efforts of Braswell Family Farms and the volunteers who made sure the Victory Ride was a success. He also complimented all the other riders and their fundraising. In its fourth year, the Victory Ride has raised more than $1 million for The V Foundation.
Fundraising for the 2021 event is open until Sept. 28.