ST. CHARLES – On June 2, a group of cycling enthusiasts will pull into Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles after biking 2,499 miles with the goal of raising $2,499 to fund pediatric cancer research.
This is the first year Cal’s Angels has put on the W.A.R. on Wheels charity ride, which kicked off in Santa Monica, California on April 27. Cal’s Angels is a nonprofit, St. Charles-based pediatric cancer foundation established in 2007 by Tom Sutter and Stacey Sutter after losing their oldest son, Cal, to leukemia in 2006.
The group’s mission is to grant wishes, raise awareness and fund research to help kids fighting cancer. W.A.R. stands for wishes, awareness and research.
“It’s not the research that you think, where you are throwing this money into a black hole and you don’t know where it goes,” Tom Sutter said during a presentation at the St. Charles City Council meeting on May 20. “It’s research through clinical trials with Lurie Children’s Hospital. We know where every dollar goes. They are doing research on trying to turn the adult drugs – there’s 900 and some adult drugs right now – and they’re trying to reformulate those for children. Right now, there’s only 27 or 28 drugs for kids.”
Those who come to Mount St. Mary’s Park on June 2 will be able to meet the riders starting at noon. The celebration also will feature food, ice cream, face painting, a DJ and a visit from 103.5 KISS FM radio host Christopher “Brotha’ Fred” Frederick. Those who attend are encouraged to bring their bicycles.
“A lot of them have taken the full 37 days off of work, away from their families, away from everybody,” Cal’s Angels board member Wendy Schifferer said. “And they are totally riding on a bike and pedaling 2,499 miles to get here. The money is going toward research because they don’t want any more children to die of leukemia.”
The group has been joined by fellow cyclists at various spots along the route. The final 46 miles of the ride from Joliet to St. Charles will be in honor of Cal Sutter.
And don’t be surprised to see St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina and St. Charles City Administrator Mark Koenen riding along with them.
“If called upon, the city administrator and I will ride the last mile or two with them,” Rogina said. “Thank you very much for all that you do. We appreciate everything that you are doing for pediatric research.”
To donate, go to Cal’s Angels website, calsangels.org.