24 Hours of Booty raises $1.25 million for cancer research

MYERS PARK, NC (WBTV) - More than a thousand cyclists took to the streets of Charlotte this weekend, all riding to raise money for cancer research.

This year was the tenth year for the 24 Hours of Booty event. The event began Friday at 7 p.m. and ended Saturday evening.

24 Hours of Booty Executive Director Basil Lyberg said they raised $1.25 million, and had 1,200 riders taking part in the full event and 400 registered in the Reboot program.

Chris Fernandez has been a volunteer at the event for many years. As the avid rider in his family, it was natural for Fernandez to ride to raise money.

"You see people in all kinds of physical conditions who are battling through the disease, but are out there riding," he said.

Little did he know, his passion had purpose.

"What you get to see is cancer survivors, and so much inspiration on the route," he said.

What Fernandez saw along the route, he would also see in the mirror when he learned he had a brain tumor.

The first year was tough, but he and his family battled through surgery, recovery and all.

"I couldn't escape the irony of that because it had been the charity that I had thrown my time behind and there I was on the other side," Fernandez said. "You can't really understand something until you go through it unfortunately."

Now, he's back on the bike ready to ride again; inspiring his own family, friends and fellow survivors.

"As a survivor, you have two choices, you can either crawl into a hole and wallow yourself in your own pity, or you can get out there and do something about it," said fellow survivor Carrie Futral.

Futral teams up each year with Fernandez's wife Beth helping organize the Haven of Hope -- a place made just for survivors to relax and reflect at the event. It's her way of helping kick cancer's booty.

"It feels wonderful, it really does," Futral laughed, "I am just amazed every year at the support that we get."

When you talk to anyone involved with 24 Hours of Booty, you quickly notice, there are no strangers. This group -- survivors and supports alike -- are all family.

"People say, oh that's great, you're a survivor, but when you're in that situation, what choice do you have, being a survivor is more of a testament to the family and support network to me," Fernandez said.

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