Pedaling with a purpose

By - Oct 4th, 2011 04:00 am
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All photos by Lacy Landre for ThirdCoast Digest.

The familiar chaos of excited children reported off the bleachers of the Milwaukee Mile as three different age groups competed in their own races. Even though the children probably had little idea of the good they were doing, they reminded the grown-ups in attendance what an extraordinary thing a healthy child can be.

Jeff Castelaz and Jo Ann Thrailkill founded the Pablove Foundation after their son Pablo lost a year-long battle with a rare form of children’s cancer called Wilms Tumor. Since 2010, Pablove has been doing everything it can to alleviate the suffering felt by families who are affected by childhood cancer. Efforts have included the a symposium on Wilms Tumor, the Pablove Shutterbugs program, which gives a creative voice to children living with cancer through the medium of photography and Pablove Across America, a 17-day bike ride that starts in Milwaukee and ends in New Orleans.

Castelaz is a Milwaukee native, so the choice to make Milwaukee the starting line isn’t a surprise. Castelaz translated his experience in the Milwaukee music scene into a successful career as founder and CEO of the Los Angeles-based Dangerbird Records (home to Silversun Pickups, Hot Hot Heat and Minus the Bear). Pablove also chose Castelaz’s hometown for Sunday’s “Pedaling for Pablove” event at State Fair Park.

The event included a tent set-up by South Shore Cyclery, who offered tune-ups on bikes big and small, food and drinks from Cafe Hollander, a DJ set from Radio Milwaukee, a silent auction, and a visit from Roscoe, the Milwaukee Admirals’ mascot.

“Kids love riding bikes,” said Megan Rudebeck, Communications, Social Media and Outreach Manager for The Pablove Foundation. “So we thought, let’s put together an event where kids can come and do something they already love to do and help other kids [in] the process.”

The actual races were fairly competitive, especially considering some of the contestants still use training wheels. Though the track was littered with parents trying to flag down or snap a photo of their children, it did little to dampen the wild joy of children on bicycles. While this might seem light-hearted and maybe even a little cutesy, the legacy of Pablo was never out of mind.

Registration for Pablove Across America is well under way, and every cyclist in Milwaukee, amateur to avid, should to www.pablove.org to check out how they can help the foundation reach their $500,000 goal. While few will push themselves through the 1,420 mile entirety of the tour to New Orleans, there are plenty of shorter day rides to participate in.

We soaked in the sun and listened to the laughter of children during the early leg of Sunday’s ride. For a full slideshow, visit our Flickr set here.

Pablove Across America officially kicks off with the Project Pablove Reception at Hanson Dodge Creative on Thursday, Oct. 6, and will head south from Milwaukee on Saturday, Oct. 8. 

Categories: Life & Leisure

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