Give Up A Little To Add A Lot To Charity
By Paul Peavy
Organizers of the Disney World Endurance Series once again got something very right. They saw an opportunity to make one of its events bigger, better and to benefit a worthy cause.
Disney had hosted an international distance triathlon (1K swim, 40K bike, 10K run) each September for several years with great success, even adding a kids’ triathlon and other events around it. Organizers had tweaked the event year after year in an effort to improve upon it from year to year—including moving it from The Contemporary Hotel to the Fort Wilderness Campground for better family and fan viewing. They had tweaked it enough to really have some valuable sweat equity and ownership in it.
Despite the success of and stake in the event, organizers decided to turn the event over to a new management team: Athletes for a Cure, a fundraising and awareness program of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Disney organizers had worked with some of the people behind Athletes for a Cure during the Half-Ironman Triathlon held there each year, so they felt confident that the team at Athletes for a Cure could handle the logistics of running the triathlon, which would still be held at Disney even though the name and management of the event had changed to Athletes for a Cure.
Scott Zagarino with Athletes for a Cure said the organization’s leaders were looking for an event to establish as its own, which would help raise as much money as possible for prostate cancer research and for patients. Athletes for a Cure developed three levels of participation: holding their own events like The Athletes for a Cure Triathlon; partnering with other events like the St. Anthony’s Triathlon as the featured charity (Athletes for a Cure hosts a dinner in exchange); and allowing individuals to raise donations for their participation in an Athletes for a Cure event.
I’ve participated in the Disney Triathlon for several years, and I noticed a different vibe to it as Athletes for a Cure this year—the most obvious being a nine-year-old girl named Winter Vinecki, who tackled the adult triathlon distance of a 1K swim, 40K bike and 10K run. Winter participates because her dad has prostate cancer. “Team Winter” raised $35,000 for prostate cancer research through the Athletes for a Cure Disney triathlon, and the event overall raised $100,000.
If your event isn’t associated with a charity already, consider giving it an added purpose by benefiting a charity. The folks at Disney World know a little bit about success, so why not follow their lead and give up a little to add a lot to charity?