As a child, and already an avid cyclist, Kathy Betz’s dream was to ride a bicycle across the United States. At that time, her objective was to accomplish this physical and mental endurance journey as a personal victory. However, as her interest in women’s health issues strengthened she decided to dedicate her transcontinental bicycle ride to raise awareness for breast cancer.
Kathy teamed up with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and began a 29-day solo journey across the United States in July of 1996, appropriately named, Bike4BreastCancer. Her main objective was to raise awareness for breast cancer and to provide the latest information relating to all aspects of breast cancer detection and treatment. On the 3000-mile bike ride, she met hundreds of survivors, as well as families of those who had been lost to this dreaded disease, anxious to tell their story. While many experiences had a happy ending, there were those that were left with only memories of their loved one, wishing they could have done more, or known of a better, earlier method of detection or treatment, and thus ultimately saving the family member.
At the conclusion of Bike4BreastCancer 1996, there certainly was a sense of fulfillment, but at the same time a desire to do more. Ironically, it was only a couple of months following Kathy’s return from the 1996 ride that her mother, Lois, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankful that early detection and treatment had made her mother a survivor, and eager to share her personal experience in an effort to raise awareness, Kathy formed Bike4BreastCancer, Inc. as a non-profit organization. As a tax exempt non-profit organization, Bike4breastcancer will have bi-annual cross country bicycle rides as well as local events to achieve the mission of eradicating breast cancer.