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Kicking Up a Little Dirt

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.

Shasta, Supercross and Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Any Supercross fans out there? Here’s a story that we hope will inspire you as much as it did us. Shasta Johnson is a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed in 2007 at the young age of 35. For Shasta, it was an echo of a recent family tragedy – in 2005, her sister Fiona passed away from the disease at only age 29. Ever since, Shasta (second from right in the photo above) has participated in the Susan G. Komen 3-day walk, along with a team of family and friends. Even in the year of her diagnosis, she made it a full 25 miles. 

Not content just to walk for the cure, Shasta has turned her efforts into a massive fundraiser in conjunction with motocross championships around the country to raise money for the cause! And she’s doing it again, this February 13th at Monster Energy Supercross at Angel’s Stadium. The event will take on a pink theme, and contributions will go to Komen for the Cure.

“Monster Energy Supercross fans have shown an unprecedented outpouring of support in my efforts to raise awareness and funds this year, encouraging me to continue in 2010,” said Shasta. “It is very rewarding to know my commitment has brought so many people in our industry together in support of my team’s bold efforts to raise funds to end breast cancer. The fans really are phenomenal.”

Want to be part of the action? Buy your tickets for Anaheim Supercross on February 13th right here!