As one of the premier cancer fundraisers in Charlotte, 24 Hours of Booty is helping to transform the course of cancer care for patients in our region. The 14th annual 24-hour cycling event took place from July 24-25, 2015 in the Myers Park neighborhood along the well-known route referred to as the “booty loop” of Charlotte. Since 2006, 24 Hours of Booty has supported Levine Cancer Institute through its annual 24-hour cycling event. Since its inception, the successful event has raised more than $3 million for cancer survivorship and wellness programs at Levine Cancer Institute, in addition to cancer research efforts underway at LCI and in the community. 2015 was no exception, with riders and supporters collectively raising over $1.3 million to support cancer research and related patient services in our region, including those at Levine Cancer Institute.

Levine Cancer Institute was well-represented at the event, bringing together more than 50 staff members and volunteers, as well as many cancer survivors, all of whom journeyed side by side with over 1,000 avid cyclists and cancer advocates committed to the fight against cancer. Many of the survivors who participated represent a group Levine Cancer Institute patients who continue benefit from the Institute’s free, 12-week Carolinas Cancer Wellness Program. Proceeds from 24 Hours of Booty Charlotte ensure that the program continues to provide the necessary resources to assist patients during treatment and recovery phases. One such patient (and survivor) is Daras Butler, whose story follows below.

One Survivor finds strength from the “Caped Crusaders 4 Cures”

2015 has marked more than one milestone for bladder cancer survivor Daras Butler. Not only has she been able to celebrate 5 years cancer-free, she has now experienced an emotional, but exhilarating, ride alongside hundreds of cyclists during 24 Hours of Booty as of last weekend. Her ride—a first for Daras—represented more than just a personal triumph over cancer; Daras also wanted to honor the memory of her late-mother, who lost her own battle with bladder cancer earlier in 2015.

In 2005, Daras received the shocking news that she had bladder cancer. But with the help of a dedicated team of physicians at Levine Cancer Institute, Daras bravely faced her diagnosis. With five years of cancer treatment behind her, Daras received the joyful news that she was officially cancer-free in 2011. Daras continues to regain her strength and credits her recovery to the Levine Cancer Institute Cancer Wellness Program, one of the very programs supported by 24 Hours of Booty. Leading up to 24 Hours of Booty this year, Daras said she wanted to ride but couldn’t get her balance. But, with the encouragement of her wellness team from LCI, she found the strength to push herself and made it to the event.

patient Daras Butler with staff Kelly RobertsSince 2006, 24 Hours of Booty has generated tremendous support for cancer survivorship and wellness programs at Levine Cancer Institute, from which local cancer survivors—like Daras—have benefited greatly. And, each year hundreds of survivors, advocates, and patients gather in solidarity at this unique event to fight cancer, one mile at a time. This spirit of compassion that is so evident in our community was perfectly exemplified in a single act of kindness that Daras will never forget. As she prepared herself for the 24 Hours of Booty Survivorship Lap, her strength faltered. But the “Caped Crusaders 4 Cures” (shown below) led by “Supergirl” (aka Stratford Kiger), were quick to respond, offering Daras her own personal victory-lap on a tandem bike with Supergirl leading the way.

See video.

We are grateful to the Caped Crusaders 4 Cures and to all of the many dedicated supporters and 24 Hours of Booty cyclists who are making a difference in the lives of Levine Cancer Institute’s patients and cancer survivors. And of course, a special word of thanks goes to Daras for sharing her touching story and being a part of this tremendous effort to impact patients in our community.

LaChandra in pink_Janelle_daughters of Daras Butler_web res

Above: Cancer survivor Daras Butler with her daughters, LaChandra (far left) and Janelle (far right) during the 24  Hours of Booty cycling event in Charlotte, NC.

Shown in article: Kelly Roberts, Coordinator, LCI Cancer Wellness Program Community Health and Wellness, with Daras at 24 Hours of Booty.