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Meet Ride for a Child Cyclist, John

Going into his third year as a Ride for a Child (Candlelighters biggest fundraiser), John Donnelly is leading the training ride schedule and part of the planning committee. We’re happy to have him on the team, and wanted to learn more about him through a Q&A.

Q: How long have you been cycling? How long with RFAC? 

I completed my first cycling tour during freshman year of high school. We rode from Cave Junction to the Golden Gate Bridge. I didn’t resume riding until 2022 when I was introduced to RFAC. This will be my 3rd year participating.

Q: What got you interested in RFAC?

I was introduced to RFAC by Jeff Yandle. Immediately, I was drawn to the camaraderie of the group. Everyone is incredibly motivated by the mission of RFAC and fundraising for children and families affected by cancer.

Q: What has been your favorite thing re. RFAC? What’s been challenging?

RFAC and Cycle Oregon is such a departure from day to day life. For one week a year, there are no concerns about work meetings, emails, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, etc. We spend the entire day outdoors riding through beautiful Oregon landscapes. It can be challenging finding the time to fundraise, train, and prepare your bike for the event, but it’s always worth the effort!

Q: How do you fundraise? What has worked best for you?

Starting early has been the biggest help for me. It’s an opportunity to share in a great cause with friends and family.

Q: Do you have a favorite place to ride?

I grew up in Southern California, and enjoyed biking around the Conejo Valley. Potrero Road and the farmland surrounding Camarillo are still favorites of mine.

Q: What are you looking forward to about this year’s ride?

I’m looking forward to the new “Rally” format. It will be great to more thoroughly explore the regions surrounding our camp locations. As well, the ride with the honored children is always a highlight of the experience and something I look forward to.

Learn more about riding or supporting our mission through Ride for a Child.

John Donnelly and cyclists at Cycle Oregon

Ride for a Child cyclists at Cycle Oregon 2023

23 years ago, Candlelighters family member Dick Hartung rode in Cycle Oregon in honor of his daughter, Jill. During his ride, he started a fundraising appeal that went out to his family, friends, and business associates. The ride was a huge success. Not only did he challenge himself and conquer the week of riding, he honored Jill’s life by enriching the lives of other families impacted by childhood cancer. In 2002, Dick raised over $12,000. Now, with a goal of $200,000 in 2024, Ride For A Child has raised millions for Candlelighters For Children With Cancer and continues to be Candlelighters’ largest fundraiser of the year.


Donor Spotlight

First Republic and Jeff Yandle

Jeff (pictured at Ride For a Child 2019, far right) serves as Treasurer on the Candlelighters Executive Board, and Sr. Director of Wealth Management at First Republic Bank. It will be his 10th year riding for Ride for a Child - that's dedication! Thank you Jeff, and...