Annual LOWVELO community ride supports cancer research, survivors

March 23, 2021
Group of cyclists riding on the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston during Lowvelo 2019
LOWVELO returns to the road this year with new routes, including a family-friendly 8-mile option. There are also new stationary cycling classes and ways to participate virtually or as a volunteer.

MUSC Hollings Cancer Center will glow blue this week as the center opens registration for its annual LOWVELO event, which includes a wide array of ways registrants can participate in person or virtually, all for the same goal of raising money for lifesaving cancer research.

This year’s event will occur Nov. 6, with registration opening March 24, and will include the addition of a shorter 8-mile island route along with the three longer cycling routes of 25, 50 and 100 miles. There also will be stationary cycling classes and a Home Team option, where people can participate virtually by walking, running or cycling.

In addition to being a critically important event to raise money for cancer research, it also is a way to celebrate the memory of those who have been lost to the disease, the courage of survivors and the passion of cancer researchers at Hollings, who are dedicated to finding new treatments, said Hollings director Raymond N. DuBois, M.D., Ph.D.

“Since LOWVELO first took hold in 2019, we’ve been amazed at how our community has come together to raise money for cancer research and make a difference in the lives of those who have been affected by cancer. Events like this really do make a difference in the fight against a disease that touches so many, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see it return to the beautiful roads of Charleston this fall.”

Lowvelo 21: 100% of every rider-raised dollar goes directly to cancer research

Hollings’ director of Development, Deborah Bordeau, said LOWVELO participants know that every cent they raise goes to support research into new treatments and discoveries at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, which generates a lot of passion and energy during the event. This is possible because of community sponsors, including a new premier sponsor, the Beemok Family Foundation.

“Its founder, Ben Navarro, brings a genuine passion and commitment in supporting our mission and ensuring that this year's ride is not only the most fun and exciting one yet but also 100% safe for every single person involved. We are very grateful for his tremendous support,” said Bordeau.

In 2019, the event’s inaugural year, LOWVELO attracted more than 600 riders and raised nearly $700,000 in funding that has already been put to good use. The 2020 ride, which was held virtually due to the pandemic, included more than 600 participants from 26 states and raised more than $114,000 for cancer research.

“LOWVELO dollars already have made a powerful impact by funding the first LOWVELO fellow, Timmy Samec, whose research focuses on developing new delivery methods for gene therapy for ovarian cancer treatment and assessing the effectiveness of drug therapies in brain cancer,” said Bordeau. "The most recent recipient of LOWVELO funds is Hollings' CAR T-cell therapy program, which offers a dynamic treatment that modifies patients’ immune system activity to improve their body’s own ability to fight certain cancers.”

Hollings first introduced CAR T-cell therapy to South Carolina and is the only center in the state with both an adult and pediatric CAR T-cell immunotherapy program. Money raised through LOWVELO will continue to support cutting-edge cancer research, thanks to those who participate, she said.

Three women stand with their bikes as they prepare to ride in Lowvelo 2019 
LOWVELO is offering reduced fundraising minimums for students, cancer patients and cancer survivors for this year's event.

Chris Aronhalt, owner and president of Medalist Sports, which handles the event’s logistics, said the Lowcountry offers amazing scenic vistas for cycling routes, and the addition of family-friendly events this year means that children even as young as 10 can participate. Because of the evolving situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the LOWVELO team is taking special care to implement protocols for hygiene and safety for those who choose the in-person event. That will include staggered start times for the rides. More information on this year’s safety plan can be found on the LOWVELO website.

The LOWVELO team will continue to monitor the latest health and safety guidance from public health authorities and will adjust plans as needed. Riders will also be able to cancel or switch their registration preferences between the in-person and virtual options until Oct. 6.

“LOWVELO represents the best of all worlds, combining Charleston’s world-class hospitality and community with passion and support of Hollings Cancer Center,” said Aronhalt. “We have some exciting plans for this year’s ride, whether in-person or from a distance, which will combine all attributes of the area as well as introducing new forms of engagement and partnership. Being outdoors, celebrating cycling and community and uniting together for a common cause creates a powerful event.”

Registration will be free from March 24 through 11:59 p.m. on March 28 with code RIDE21. To learn more about the event or to register, visit the LOWVELO website.

About the Author

Dawn Brazell
MUSC Hollings Cancer Center

Keywords: Cancer, Fitness and Wellness, Research