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BIKERS PEDAL TO RAISE CANCER FUNDS; LOCAL RESIDENTS COMPLETE TRIP.

Byline: JEAN RUSSELL VOGEL Community Columnist

Having bicycled 3,168 cross-country miles to benefit the American Cancer Society, the Gathering for Life team now find themselves in the best shape ever.

Ranging from age 17 to 66, the six bicyclists accomplished an average of 75 miles a day for 40 days without difficulty, perhaps reflecting their six months of preparation, said Dan Stanton, Simi Valley Cancer Society unit volunteer who organized and rode with the team.

In addition to having no injury or illness, Stanton said that ``an envelope of good weather'' surrounded the group throughout the Sacramento-to-Washington, D.C., journey.

Kelly Mansfield, a registered nurse with Ventura's Community Memorial Hospital, the only female bicyclist, gained ``a few pounds of muscle,'' but most of the men dropped considerable poundage, Stanton said.

Bicyclists at the Gathering's send-off June 15 from Simi Valley were, in addition to Mansfield and Stanton: Newbury Park High School senior K.C. Olson, retiree Dave Wilkins of Newbury Park and Kevin Delson of Woodland Hills, an expert long-distance cyclist.

At Sacramento, where the custom mountain bikes actually started rolling June 17, the above five were joined by Giac Nguyen, formerly of San Jose. Headed for medical school, Nguyen took the Gathering for Life route east and is now enrolled at Harvard.

The riders' sleeping quarters, commissary, repair equipment and other living necessities rolled along with them in three vehicles.

Hannah Stanton, president-elect of the Simi Valley Cancer Society Unit, drove a mobile home in which she prepared three meals a day for the group.

Seventeen-year-old Jessica Stanton drove the ``sag wagon'' carrying emergency supplies, keeping pace with the bicyclists accompanied by her sister, Julie, 13.

Massage therapist Jon Trepettie of Newbury Park towed additional gear and tended to muscles stressed by long days' rides.

Dan Stanton said a dream gave him the idea for a countrywide appeal for $100 million for cancer research, donated in response to the commitment of the energetic bicyclists.

With support of Universal Studios, where he directs information processing services, Stanton gathered sponsors to guarantee a June departure.

At stops across America, the Gathering team was welcomed, Stanton said. They asked for $1 individual donations. Meanwhile, their story is reaching major corporations, and contributions continue to come in.

Hannah Stanton recalls the team's warm greeting by the lieutenant governors of Utah and Colorado. While the trip's literal high was crossing the Rockies at 12,000 feet, she said she was especially inspired by the group's periodic visits to hospitalized child cancer patients.

Before returning home, the team spent a couple of days exploring the nation's capital. A few nonbiking days had also been scheduled while crossing the country.

Team members are now recording their experiences in ``Gathering'' for publication in a book that also will benefit ACS.

Some of the motives riders gave for participation were personal losses to cancer, desire for a cancer-free world for their children, as well as the challenge of an adventure for an ``important cause.''

Of the major sponsors Stanton, said he first recruited CPS-INC, headed by Al Strong of Encino, a cancer survivor. His firm underwrote the purchase of the custom mountain bikes (as recommended by Michaels Bike Shop of Newbury Park) as well as training equipment and T-shirts. That allowed the team to start getting in condition six months before the big trip.

The riders were given the bikes at the trip's end. Fleetwood Homes provided the team's three escort vehicles. El Camino Real of Woodland Hills provided gasoline for the vehicles and food for the 10 participants.

Cornerstone Systems of Woodland Hills provided the funds for campsites and related supplies.

Sphinx Group, consultants, was represented on theD team by Kevin Delson, whose long-distance bicycling expertise was valued by the team.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

PHOTO The Gathering for Life team, left to right, Dan Stanton, Giac Nguyen, Dave Wilkens, Kelly Mansfield, Kevin Delson and K.C. Olson bicycled from Sacramento to Washington, D.C.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 12, 1998
Words:658
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