VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) – Members of a fraternity at the University of South Dakota are keeping their fallen brother’s memory healthy and alive through a unique fundraiser.
PIKE fraternity brothers Connor Van Der Werff and Carter Linke are getting ready to instruct their own exercise bike classes at the USD Wellness Center.
“I have a nice, easy, little bit hard workout set up,” Van Der Werff said.
“I can promise you, if you’re in my class, it’s going to be a little more fun,” Linke said.
The only catch is that they aren’t your average cyclers.
“I actually do run a little bit. I have cycled in the past, but not in any races,” Van Der Werff said.
“I am not a huge cycler so it’s going to be interesting on how my classes are going to go,” Linke said.
Despite this, they cycle back to the USD wellness center once a year for the fraternity’s Cycle for Life fundraiser. It’s a nationwide event dedicated to raising funds for blood cancer research. It was formed in 2008 after member of the New Hampshire chapter Taylor Trudeau lost his battle with leukemia.
“Basically, everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer rather in their own life or their families life,” Van Der Werff said.
Van Der Werff’s own grandfather passed away from cancer before he was born. He says instead of dwelling on what could have been, he pedals ahead to what he can do now for others.
“Our main goal is that we at least continue to raise a $1,000 each year to add to that goal and continue to progress,” Linke said.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a few obstacles in their path.
“COVID this year is a going to look a little different, as far as turnout goes, because of the restrictions on the number of people,” Van Der Werff said.
“We’re going to have limited capacity while we are cycling so that we’re kind of able to space things out and maintain social distancing,” Linke said.
But they’re determined to push on through so they can help put an end to this vicious cycle.
“I guess I’m just excited that we can do this, we can still raise the money for such an amazing cause,” Van Der Werff said.
Cycle for Life starts at 12 p.m. and goes until 9 p.m. on Thursday. You can register at the wellness center or online.