On October 27, thousands of cyclists will embark on a two-day, 200km+ charity ride to raise funds for cancer research: the Ride to Conquer Cancer. The Donvale Demon will be there … assuming he can raise enough money to take part …
UPDATE: I’ve just spoken with someone at Peter Mac about the fundraising target. Scroll to the bottom of the article for full details.
I’m being hassled by the Ride to Conquer Cancer people. Someone from Peter Mac phones me every other week, asking how my fundraising is going. ‘It’s going OK,’ I say. ‘It’s not bad’. Can they do anything for me? ‘No, I’ll be fine,’ I say. ‘Thanks for calling.’
I’ve raised $591 so far, and need to reach a total of $2,500 before the deadline on October 5 – nearly two grand. Gulp.
A couple of people have told me I won’t be allowed to take part in the event unless I raise the dough – and the ride website seems to back this up. That strikes me as unnecessarily punitive. What will happen to the money people have already donated if I don’t make it? Is a little cash not better than nothing?
I’m being pressured by the ride’s organisers in unsubtle ways. They want me to feel their pressure, and to act upon it, so that they can:
a) earn an honest wage
b) pump money into research that may or may not advance understanding and treatment for an illness that’s guaranteed to throw a shadow over most people’s lives.
The unrelenting – and unremittingly friendly – badgering from those Peter Mac callers is probably why I’m writing this now.
My fundraising effort to date has been modest.
I stopped letting Peter Mac post to my Facebook timeline on my behalf a couple of months ago because it felt like they were spamming my friends. And I haven’t acted on any of the emails from the organisation – like the one below – for much the same reason:
Are you ready for The Ride? It’ll be here before you know it! Now is the time to kick your fundraising into high gear. Be sure to ask all potential donors for contributions. We’ve made it easy to ask, just forward them our template email below.
Here’s how it works:
1. Click FORWARD
2. In the subject line type “Help me do something epic!”
3. Delete everything above the ********** line
4. Enter in the email addresses of your friends and family in the TO: field.
5. Press SEND!
************Delete this line and everything above it!************
I’m doing something big about cancer, something epic. I’m cycling for two days in the inaugural Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. AND I’m so committed to the cause that I’m fundraising at least $2,500! That’s why I am asking you for a donation to my fundraising account. Your contribution will play a role in the quest to conquer cancer.
Please visit my personal page and donate today:
Thank you in advance for your generosity!
I’d feel a bit weird sending that message to people I know – but, hey, it could be the cash cow I need.
Of course I have personal reasons for doing a ride to support cancer research. Most people, I’m sure, have charities picked for them by circumstance. I’ve yet to meet anyone with Escher Hirt syndrome but if I had, or if I’d been born with it, that would no doubt be my charity cause of choice.
I don’t expect the ride on October 27 and 28 to be physically demanding. I’ll be riding 200km over two days ‘out of majestic Melbourne as the urban landscape gradually gives way to the rolling hills and vineyard views of the world-class wine region of Yarra Valley’. I’d be surprised if we leave the city at race pace. I predict both days will be far easier on my legs than the training rides I do with friends most weekends.
But I do expect it to be emotional. I imagine I’ll see and meet people who are going through all kinds of suffering, and not just on their bikes. I hope to talk to some of them, to ride beside them, to hear what they have to say. And even to act as their domestique if they’re finding the going difficult.
For that to happen, from what I understand, you need to donate whatever money you can spare to my personal fundraising page right away.
This post first appeared at Innocent in Australia, the Donvale Demon’s mostly cycling-unrelated blog.
October 1 update:
So, I’m just off the phone with a guy from Peter Mac. Turns out the minimum I can raise and be ‘allowed’ to do the ride this month is $2,500. At present I’m sitting at $1,000 (which I’m pretty happy with) and the deadline’s later this week.
I asked the guy whether people who have sponsored me so far would get their money back if I didn’t do the ride, given I’d be forfeiting the challenge; and, no, they won’t be – technically they have ‘donated’ rather than ‘sponsored’, which is a clear distinction.
The guy said they’d be able to grant an extension on my deadline until post-ride, meaning I’d have until December to raise the dough. But this would involve me giving Peter Mac my credit card details and giving them permission to make up the difference – currently $1,500 – if I fall short of the target.
He asked me to email everyone I know three times this week to ask for money, which I’m not prepared to do – I reckon there are loads of good causes and loads of people doing things to raise money for them; I don’t want to hassle people beyond the emails, blogs and tweets I’ve written already.
In short, donate if you want – regardless of the tactics, cancer research is as important as ever, and something I’m still happy to donate to – but there’s a growing likelihood I won’t be doing the ride. Frankly, I can’t afford $1,500 or anywhere near it.
To those of you who have donated money, thanks a million: I’ve been a bit blown away by your kindness and generosity.
Apologies if you believed – as no doubt thousands of people do – your donation was contingent on someone actually doing something. On the plus side, it’s going to a good cause, even if the strategy used by the company on this occasion is, at best, disingenuous.