Who is Riding: Kent Billingsley – Team Go for Gold
“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
LOVE. This single word motivates Kent Billingsley to travel all the way from Illinois to
participate in Pedal the Cause this year.
The LOVE Kent has for his sister, Diane Gold, and Diane’s husband has compelled him to do something to support and honor Diane’s husband who in November of 2013 was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
This is not the first time cancer disturbed Kent and Diane’s world. In 1985, at the age of 53, their mother passed away due to breast cancer.
“Once a family goes through watching a loved one fight and ultimately succumb to this disease it has a profound effect that lasts a lifetime,” said Kent. “Your thoughts are consumed in looking for ways to minimize your odds of getting tagged by this demon. You exercise regularly, eat healthy foods, and avoid hazardous chemicals. So, when we learned that Diane’s husband had pancreatic cancer, it rocked our world. Here was a healthy, physically fit, diet-conscience individual who was now sick. The demon was back visiting our family again.”
While Diane was at one of her husband’s many treatments, she learned about Pedal the Cause and thought this was the perfect way to show her support for the hospital that helped her family so much. Diane told Kent about Pedal the Cause and without hesitation, he said yes! The two formed the Pedal the Cause team called “Go for Gold” in honor and support for Diane’s husband.
“I love my sister, and would do anything to help her or her family,” said Kent. “I love her husband. He is a wonderful, caring husband to my sister, and he is a loving father to his three beautiful daughters. Pedal the Cause has become an important cause for them, and as a result of being asked to join the GO FOR GOLD team, it has become an important cause for me. All due to one word – LOVE.”
In just a couple months, team Go for Gold has already raised over $20,000 and is inching very close to their overall goal of $25,000. Even more, Kent has earned the title of first yellow jersey recipient for Pedal the Cause 2014. Diane is on his heals having earned the second yellow jersey for the year!
It is because of all the wonderful people, some that Kent knows, and many others he has
never met, who have teamed with Go for Gold through donations and words of support that has inspired Kent and Diane to succeed. Kent says he simply shares the story of what Diane and her husband are faced with and how the San Diego hospitals have helped them navigate through the troubled waters. Kent has reached out to friends, business associates, cycling teammates, and college friends.
“It is my guess, that every American knows someone who either has, or had cancer of some sort. It has played havoc in the lives of many,” said Kent. “In an effort to fight back, and in the hopes of making a difference, a number of good people donate and get others to donate as well.”
A touching example of people donating who don’t even know Kent or his brother-in-law, is with a steel mill in Michigan that Kent does business with. Kent shared his story and the work of Pedal the Cause with members of that company. They in turn made a $500 contribution. Then the union added another $200! A $700 dollar donation by itself is a wonderful contribution, but this company did not stop there. The workers passed a hat throughout the entire steel mill (all three shifts) and people donated $5, $10, and $15 dollars out of their own pockets. In the end, the company ended up donating $3,386!
“Every donor, every amount big or small makes a difference,” said Kent. “Every one of my donors is a special person. Whether they are making their contribution out of friendship for me or in honor of someone else in their lives, the common denominator is the opportunity to make a difference. Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.”