Staying up for 24 hours and donating to a good cause? That’s easy, compared to fighting breast cancer. That was the thinking behind Kawasaki’s decision to hold a dirt bike school to raise awareness for breast cancer. The event, Moto Marathon for the Cure, raised $2,500 for the cause, as well as raising a little dirt, a little fun and lots of breast health awareness.
Two inspirations sparked the idea for Jan Plessner, Kawasaki’s Public Relations Manager. First was the Monster Energy AMA Supercross event in Anaheim in February, which went pink with breast cancer awareness. The second inspiration was friend Shasta Johnson, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35. Now 38 years old, Shasta’s cancer is thankfully in remission, although her younger sister Fiona died at age 29 from the disease.
The Moto Marathon had a perfect setting – the 5.5 acre dirt and grass field next to Kawasaki’s headquarters in Irvine. There was no problem getting participants – the spots were filled, with a waiting list. Riders were divided into beginners and riders with experience. The lucky riders got four free hours of dirt bike instruction, plus other goodies from Kawasaki. All in exchange for a donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The Kawasaki employees who put on the event went from 8 a.m. one day until 8 a.m. the next day to finish all the classes.
The instructors who ran the Marathon, and the riders, were happy in the end. Instructor Tania Satchwell summed it up this way: “The battle to stay up for 24 hours is nothing like the battle breast cancer survivors have to go through. It’s awesome. Crazy, but awesome.”
Rider Beverly Morgan of Newport Beach has a boss who is a breast cancer survivor. Did she have fun? “This is a great setup. The bikes feel brand new and they’re spoiling the hell out of us,” she said.