Ryding into the sunset and beyond: a 24-hour Ryde-a-thon fundraiser in Camana Bay

05 December 2019

Hart for Hearts and the Special Needs Foundation Cayman are the beneficiaries of a unique and healthy fundraising event that worked up a lot of perspiration.

The first-ever Ryde-A-Thon at the Ryde indoor cycling studio in Camana Bay involved 25 teams of eight people taking shifts throughout a 24-hour period starting at 6 p.m. on 22 November and ending at 6 p.m. on 23 November. The action moved outside to the Camana Bay Crescent for the final two hours, with a DJ providing musical entertainment.

The concept was the brainchild of Ryde instructor Michelle Fisher, who took inspiration from a 24-hour running event she used to participate in with her father when she was a young girl.

“Having seen the success of the event my dad participated in for 18 years and was so passionate about, I’d been looking to bring a 24-hour sporting challenge to the Cayman Islands for a few years,” she said. “I was just waiting for the right time.”

The right time also needed a right reason and Fisher found that reason when friends of hers lost their son at just a week old and wanted to do something meaningful in his memory.

“I contacted my friends to see if they thought the idea had merit and so the charity Ryde-A-Thon was born.”

Maya and Richard Lewis, parents of Leo Lewis who inspired the event, were also heavily involved in planning the Ryde-A-Thon. “After losing Leo we knew that nothing could bring him back, but what we could do was leave a positive mark on the world in his memory by helping others,” Maya said.

Registration for the Ryde-A-Thon sold out within two weeks of the event website going live. Teams paid $1,500 each to sign up and participants were then encouraged to solicit additional sponsorships, with the total reaching more than CI$65,000.

Kelly and David Walker, Ryde Cayman owners, were on board with the idea from the beginning.

“Ryde is committed to supporting the Cayman community and often hosts charity classes for a variety of different causes that are important to our regulars,” he said. “The Ryde-A-Thon felt like a natural extension of that commitment.”

This article originally appeared in the December 2019 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline “Ryding into the sunset and beyond.”