Students cycle for a fellow wildcat, a good cause

By Brittany Schaefer
On November 26, 2013

  • Students, Pi Kappa Alpha brothers and others participated in the Taylor Trudeau Cycle for Life event this past Saturday in the Hamel Recreation Center. Participants pledged donations and rode stationary bikes in 30-minute intervals. Courtesy Photo

"Amazed." This is the word Leslie Trudeau used when asked what her son would have thought of this event and the amount it has accomplished today. 

Six years ago, it didn't seem likely that the Taylor Trudeau Cycle for Life would reach a national level. Now, 98 other Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) chapters nationwide are involved with this event. 

PIKE lost a brother to leukemia in 2008. 

Taylor Thompson Trudeau, 22, graduated from UNH with the class of 2008. A few months later, he lost his yearlong battle with leukemia on Aug. 17, 2008, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, where he was being treated.

In Trudeau's memory, over 200 students, alumni and friends cycled in the Whittemore Center on Nov. 23, 2013, to raise money for leukemia, lymphoma and melanoma research. 

Last year the UNH PIKE chapter raised $10,000, while this year - through donations and the event - it raised $11,145.

Participants could sign up to cycle for increments of 30 minutes at $10 per increment. 

All proceeds were to be donated to the MDMS Leukemia Research Center and any outside donations were gratefully accepted.

UNH juniors Haley Coy and Abbey Luneau were among the many participants in this event. Both are members of Kappa Delta, they loved the idea of helping out a fellow Greek organization. 

"This is my third year cycling," Luneau said. "It's such a laid-back, fun event but it still affects a lot of people, which is powerful."

Students, alumni and friends grasped the handlebars while listening to upbeat music. 

A slideshow of photos of Taylor Trudeau and his time here at UNH was shown on a television throughout the entirety of the 12-hour event. 

"This morning was packed," UNH junior and PIKE member Brayden Rudert said. "All 23 bikes were full for over three hours. Even a PIKE brother that graduated in the '70s came to show his support. It was incredible."

Ned Harvey, a senior and UNH PIKE Chairman, was the leading organizer of this event. 

Harvey, along with others, spoke with many businesses around the area, asking for donations of any kind. Monster, Village Pizza and Muscle Milk all donated beverages or food for the participants.

"We hit the goal this year," Harvey said. "I'm proud of all the support we received."

"This event is a highlight of the community and has become a tradition on giving back while supporting a great family," UNH senior and PIKE member Marc Appolloni said. "Cycle for Life started at UNH and is now one of the leading leukemia philanthropy events." 

One thing that made the sixth year of this event different was the fact that Ivanhoe Broadcast News was present. 

They filmed the event to show how the Cycle for Life has funded $250,000 to a Phase I Clinical trial, which uses our body's natural killer cells to fight cancer cells. 

It will air in February 2014 on 250 TV stations across America. 

One thing that has been consistent through all six years is PIKE's true dedication to this great cause. 

"I love the commitment PIKE has to this event," Leslie Trudeau said. "It shows how much of a family this fraternity was to Taylor and how it still remains that way today."

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