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Riding to Victory! Cancer Early Detection Fundraising at the Canary Challenge 2013

October 3, 2013

This past weekend, 800 cyclists converged at VMware village to kick off Canary Challenge 2013, a great increase over the number of riders from last year! Over $800,000 was raised to benefit cancer research at the Stanford Cancer Institute and Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection at Stanford.

Cyclists rode (or a handful walked, in the case of the 5K) collectively 39, 290 miles!
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There were a total of 78 teams participating, with over 120 volunteers cheering, manning registration, and passing out drinks and snacks to replenish riders along the route. Most incredible was the great energy at the event – participants’ dedication and commitment to the cause was palpable, and the celebratory air when cyclists returned triumphant from their rides was electric.

Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 4.04.43 PMWe loved when riders stopped by the social photo booth to show us “#WhyIRideCanary”. Everyone who contributed to the event did so because they were inspired by the need for cancer early detection research. It was incredible to hear their stories – a great reminder of why we ride.

A great thank you to all the riders, sponsors, volunteers and staff who came together on September 28 to make this ride such a great success. Ride on, Canary Challenge participants! Save the date for next year: September 27, 2014!

Cancer Early Detection Contest: Fundraising and Riding for the Canary Challenge

September 18, 2013

We’re currently 10 days away from the Canary Challenge, and weather reports show that conditions will be perfect the day of the ride. We are so excited to see all the riders, sponsors, and volunteers (and their families) at the Canary Challenge on the 28th!

Currently, we’re running a contest to get you excited about raising funds for cancer early detection and getting your friends signed up for the ride. The incentive? A pair of FABULOUS high end display goggles from Recon Instruments (UVEX Model G.GL9). These goggles give you all the information you could ever dream of wanting delivered instantly, hands free and direct to eye. It’s the world’s first heads up display for sports. Thanks to Recon Instruments for their generous donation!

Uvex ggl9 recon

This incredible prize will go to the first three cyclists who complete two tasks:

1: Raise at least $400 or more

2: Bring in ONE new cyclist who raises $400 or more

The deadline for this contest is Monday, September 23. To participate, complete the steps above and email Jesse to let him know you’re eligible for the prize.

Additionally, we’d like to call attention to the top five Canary Challenge fundraisers so far. These individuals have collectively raised more than $45,000 and they’re still going strong!

  1. Julie Kaufman ($11,667.00)
  2. Steve Ciesinski ($10,695.00)
  3. Don Listwin ($10,000.00)
  4. Stephen Rooks ($8,000.00)
  5. Patrick Gelsinger ($6,850.00)

Many thanks to these fundraisers for serving as such great inspiration to keep reaching for as many donations as possible to benefit cancer early detection research at the Stanford Cancer Institute and the Canary Center at Stanford. Way to go!

Canary Challenge Benefit Cycling Event Experiences Major Growth Spurt

September 13, 2013

For Immediate Release
Contact: Erica Glessing


September 28, 2013 Event Draws Vanderkitten Pro Cyclists

Palo Alto, CA – The California cycling event Canary Challenge on Sept. 28 2013 in Palo Alto is experiencing a major growth spurt in registration over 2012 with registration up more than 60 percent. The event, produced by the Canary Foundation, benefits Stanford Cancer Institute and the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection. “We are thrilled with the surge in registration and sponsorships in 2013,” says Don Listwin, Canary Foundation chairman and founder of the Canary Challenge. “We built an outstanding series of routes that will challenge or entertain every level of cyclist, from the new 5K Canary Cruiser to the Century.”

More than 815 cyclists have registered to participate, an exciting 61 percent increase over 2012 registration. Many of the cyclists participate with a personal reason for riding. For instance, Carolyn Helmke of Mountain View, an accomplished individual fundraiser, is a cancer survivor. “I support the Canary Challenge 100 percent,” says Helmke, who encouraged her friends to give a donation to the Canary Challenge in lieu of birthday gifts this year. She has raised over $4,000 to date, just one of the hundreds of participants who are on track to collectively raise $1 million in donations for cancer research this year. Cancer early detection research is a cornerstone of Canary Foundation.

Pros from the Vanderkitten Racing team are among those to support Canary Challenge in a big way, with more than six of the professional women cyclists on board to fundraise and ride on September 28. “Funds raised by the Canary Challenge go directly to early cancer detection research, and this makes the event a perfect fit for Vanderkitten Racing,” says Dave Verrecchia,Vanderkitten team owner. More »

Cancer Early Detection: Canary Minute Series

September 11, 2013

In this latest installment of our Canary Minute series, Sasha Hao interviews Canary Challenge participants taking part in the last Vanderkitten last training ride before the Canary Challenge, the premier Palo Alto CA cycling event held each September to raise funds for cancer early detection and the Stanford Cancer Institute. This video gives an inside look into the Vanderkitten training ride and all the different reasons why the riders are passionate about the Canary Challenge.

Check out our entire Canary Minute playlist on YouTube!

Cancer Early Detection Ride: How to Prepare for the Canary Challenge

September 6, 2013

The countdown has begun! It’s less than two full weeks to the day of the Canary Challenge, and everyone is looking forward to the big day. Whether you’re going for the full century ride, or have your sights set on the 5k walk/run route, it’s essential to get ready and be prepared for what’s ahead. To make it easy, we’ve put together a short checklist to help guide you!


Part of participating in the Canary Challenge is fundraising to benefit cancer early detection research at Stanford Cancer Institute and the Canary Center at Stanford. Keep an eye on your fundraising progress and monitor how far you’ve come to reach your goals. If you’re struggling with the fundraising aspect of the Canary Challenge, take a look at our blog: How to Raise $400 in 5 Days.

Stay Healthy & Hydrate
One key to a good athletic performance is to treat your body right by eating healthy and hydrating. In the weeks and days leading up to the Canary Challenge, drink as much water as possible, while eating healthy, balanced meals. Your body will thank you during the ride!

Check Your Ride
Whether you ride your bike every day, or if you’re taking it out of the basement and dusting it off, it’s critical to make sure your bike is in working order. Check your tires and brakes so that you can have a smooth — and safe — ride on September 28. For the ultimate safety check, go to a bike shop, like Mike’s Bikes, one of our sponsors, and ask for a check-up on your bike.

Recruit Volunteers
If you can, get more friends to register for the Canary Challenge! However, some of your friends, family and acquaintances might be more comfortable volunteering as opposed to riding. We’re actively looking for volunteers- if you know someone who’s interested in volunteering, have them register with us ASAP!

Make a Plan with Your Team Members
Many people who ride the Canary Challenge do so with a team, either organized around a company, a concept, or a person whose memory they’re honoring. Get in touch with your team members and communicate about timing, outfits, and other plans to meet up and ride together. Coordinating your team will help you build more great memories during the Canary Challenge.


Early Cancer Detection: Canary Minute with Vanderkitten Owner Dave Verrecchia

September 3, 2013

In this Canary Minute, Sasha Hao interviews Dave Verrecchia, the owner of the Vanderkittens, a fantastic women’s pro cycling team partnered with the Canary Challenge. He shares why the Vanderkittens support the Canary Challenge, the premier Palo Alto CA cycling event held each September to raise funds for cancer early detection and the Stanford Cancer Institute as well as provides us with some useful tips for what to do before the ride!

Early cancer detection is the focus of Canary Foundation’s annual fundraising event The Canary Challenge!

Early Cancer Detection: Canary Minute with Canary Challenge Fundraising Winner

August 29, 2013

In this Canary Minute, Sasha Hao interviews Carolyn Helmke, a woman affected by cancer and a Canary Challenge fundraising contest winner. She explains why she is passionate about Canary Challenge, the premier Palo Alto CA cycling event held each September to raise funds for cancer early detection and the Stanford Cancer Institute. Carolyn also provides useful fundraising tips for other Canary Challenge riders!

Early cancer detection is the focus of Canary Foundation’s annual fundraising event, the Canary Challenge!

Early Cancer Detection: It’s Not too Late to Get Involved!

August 27, 2013

It’s not too late to get involved in the Canary Challenge on September 28 – you have the unique opportunity to contribute to fundraising and to earn prizes while doing it!  If you’re fundraising for the Canary Challenge we’ve got some amazing new prizes and benefits. If you’re not riding, consider contributing to the success of cutting edge early cancer detection research by volunteering! Your time and money are so valuable in reaching the $1 million fundraising goal.

The individual who fundraises the greatest amount between August 28, 2013 and midnight September 8, 2013 wins either a 1:1 2-hour personal training session with the incredible pro cyclist Liza Rachetto from Vanderkitten Racing and a GoPro camera.


Additionally, we are offering an amazing opportunity to ride and dine with pro cyclists on September 27, the day before the highly anticipated Canary Challenge 2013. Participants who raise at least $3,500 will be able to participant in a VIP “Ride with the Pros” event. There will be route options for beginners as well as experts, as well as a wonderful lunch provided where you can chat with pro (and non-pro) cyclists and the Canary Foundation founder, Don Listwin.

Participants who raise over $5,000 will be able to participate in everything above as well as a VIP dinner with the Canary Foundation founder, Don Listwin. To check out all the other VIP goodies please visit and check out the benefits matrix!

Join us in knocking our fundraising out of the ballpark during this final push before the finish line! Thank you to all those who have raised funds so far and for helping us to reach our ambitious $1 million goal- your support and unparalleled dedication to the Canary Challenge is deeply appreciated. Don’t miss out on all the fun! Keep raising those dollars and reaching out to your networks!

Early Cancer Detection on Social: #CanaryChallenge Photo Contest Highlights

August 21, 2013

In July, Canary Foundation launched a social media photo contest designed to get Canary Challenge cyclists psyched about about the ride, their training, and raising funds for early cancer detection research. Over the last two months, we’ve received over 200 photos from excited riders showing off bikes, scenic views, and fundraising activities. Submissions poured in on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the #CanaryChallenge hashtag, illustrating the collective excitement and buzz generated on social media networks.

You can view the full photo gallery of user submissions on our custom Facebook tab, but we’ve chosen some recently uploaded images to demonstrate some examples of the many phenomenal photos posted so far:

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Some of the prizes given out to date include a GoPro camera, a Vanderkitten T Shirt, Canary “Cancer Sucks” socks, and Canary Challenge sunblock sticks. In the coming weeks, we’re giving away another GoPro Camera, and an incredible Castelli Wilier Triestina Granturismo Track Jacket, generously donated by our partners at Vanderkitten Women’s Cycling. It’s not too late to throw your hat (or photo) in the ring! Submit your photo using #CanaryChallenge on social media networks for a chance to snag one of these incredible prizes!


Early Cancer Detection Fundraising: How to Raise $400 in 5 Days

August 13, 2013

It’s six weeks until the Canary Challenge and you haven’t raised the $400 minimum.  You still have plenty of time but you have to get busy and start reaching out to your network.  Here’s an easy way to raise $400 in 5 days.  5 days!

four hundred

Day 1:  Donate $50 to yourself.                                                                               $50

Day 2:  Ask your housemate/spouse/partner to donate $50                           $100

Day 3:  Ask two relatives to donate $50 each                                                    $200

Day 4:  Ask two friends to donate $50 each                                                       $300

Day 5 (Backup)Ask two neighbors/colleagues for $50 each             Total: $400

Top fundraisers have found letter writing campaigns very successful.  Write a letter or email friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to let them know what you’re doing and ask them to donate to you.  Tell your story, why you are doing the Canary Challenge, where the money goes and why this is important to you.  Remember: always send a thank you note to your donors.

Another great way to solicit contributions is to use social media- post your Canary Challenge fundraising page on your Facebook and Twitter accounts so that your friends and family know you’re getting involved. So many people in this world have been affected by this tragic disease. You may be surprised at how many people contribute and help you spread the world, whether they’re close friends or distant acquaintances.

Below is an example of Canary Challenge rider Maria, whose friends have started reposting and soliciting contributions on her behalf. It’s equally important to thank those who donate or help spread the word on social media.

Best of luck, Canary Challenge riders! Don’t forget- we’re here to help. Tweet your fundraising pages at @CanaryFound or use the #CanaryChallenge hashtag, and we’ll help you spread the word as well.