Father’s Passion Sparks Hope on 2 Wheels Ride for JDRF
If you said Scott Kasper is a super-dad, you would be right. Scott and his wife, Rachel, are proud parents to three boys, two of whom are living with type 1 diabetes. Scott is the Corporate Director of Emergency Services for Virtua, a photographer, Vice President of the Board of Directors at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) South Jersey Chapter and somehow still found time to co-found Hope on 2 Wheels.
In an effort to spark the interest of cyclists and encourage them to join the diabetes community in raising awareness of JDRF, Scott co-founded Hope on 2 Wheels with type 1 athlete, Mike Chadwick. With the first Hope on 2 Wheels event coming up next weekend, I asked Scott to share more about how he got into cycling and what fueled him to establish Hope on 2 Wheels.
Q: When did you first enter the sport of cycling?
A: I first started cycling the year I got married. My wife, Rachel, and I went on an eight day cycling and wine tasting journey through Southern France for our honeymoon. Over the years, life got hectic and training time was hard to find, so cycling became an afterthought until I learned about the JDRF Ride to Cure. Rachel and I participated in our first JDRF Ride to Cure last year and it was a life-changing experience. I remember going up a really steep, long hill, and I was about to get off my bike and walk it up the hill. One of the coaches came up behind me and said, ‘Scott, what are you doing? Does your son get to quit when he’s tired of diabetes?’ So, I kept peddling, and I made it to the top of that hill. Neither of my sons get to quit, no matter how hard it gets for them. That was just one of my experiences over the course of that weekend. When I got on the airplane to come home, I was changed.
Q: Can you tell us about Hope on 2 Wheels and why you started the ride?
A: Hope on 2 Wheels is a 250 mile, non-stop, bike ride from New York City to Washington, DC that will take 24 cyclists, including two members of Team Type 1, approximately 17 hours to complete on Saturday, June 23, 2012. We founded Hope on 2 Wheels as a vehicle to raise awareness for JDRF and gain additional funds for the JDRF Ride to Cure participants. Later this year, the 24 people who are doing Hope on 2 Wheels are going to disperse to five different places around the country to do the JDRF Ride to Cure races. Last year, Rachel and I fundraised more than $22,000 for the JDRF Ride to Cure, and we’ve already raised more than $13,000 so far this year.
Q: Where will you be riding and what can people do to support the event?
A: We will start at 5 a.m. at 26 Broadway in Manhattan, New York, the world headquarters for JDRF. Once we cross into New Jersey, we will divide into three teams of eight riders. Each team of eight will ride relay-style for 15 miles, and as one team rolls in, another team will roll out. Each of the transition points is a “cheer zone.” We hope that the diabetes community comes out to cheer us on, along with the non-diabetes community and the cycling community. We’d love for people to jump on thier bikes and come with us for a couple miles. The ride will continue all the way to Bethesda, Maryland and end at the National Institute of Health (NIH) headquarters. We need a lot of help from people in Washington in order to pursue a cure.
Q: Why did you choose June 23rd for the ride?
A: June 23rd is the longest weekend day of the year from a sunlight perspective. But, the number 23 has a more significant meaning in the JDRF cycling community. Jesse Alswager, who had type 1 diabetes, died unexpectedly two years ago on February 3 (2/3). In memory and honor of Jesse, and all who have ever had diabetes take their lives, mile 23 will be ridden in silence. Also, Jesse’s mother, Michelle, will be riding with Hope on 2 Wheels with 23 other riders. This number keeps repeating itself.
We also chose the date because we hope that people are inspired by what we are doing, and if they are, they will still have time to register and raise money for one of the JDRF Ride to Cure races. There are already more than 1,200 riders signed up for the five JDRF rides this year. That’s where the real work is getting done. If folks are moved by this, they should go to ride.jdrf.org to find out what they can do to become part of the solution.
Q: Just for fun, if you could take your family on a bike ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A: The entire length of the Great Wall of China. You can see the thing from the moon, how could you not want to ride your bike on it?
It doesn’t surprise me that super-dad Scott chose the Great Wall of China! His motivation to do everything bigger and better is driven by his desire to bring more attention to the cause. While Scott’s list of accomplishments is truly amazing, he is always quick to reiterate that he’s just one person making a difference. I would like to thank Scott for his time and to commend him for all he does to raise diabetes awareness.
All the best,
Disclosure: Scott Kasper received no compensation for this post. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewee, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.