Vicki Johnson-Cain rode over 400 miles in the month of September for the Great Cycle Challenge USA and the result of her time and dedication is astounding – she raised over $30,000 for pediatric cancer research.
“I’m so proud of my accomplishments for this charity and that at 63 years of age I can still make a difference,” she said. “This is my sixth year riding in the challenge and the most successful.”
Johnson-Cain, a Destrehan resident, has participated in the Great Cycle Challenge USA since its inception six years ago. Riders choose a mileage, fundraising goal and individual to ride in honor of and then ride to raise money for that goal.
This year Johnson-Cain she rode in honor of Caleb Page, who is from Slidell.
“He’s quite an amazing young man,” she said.
Page, who recently graduated from Northshore High School in Slidell, is battling brain cancer. He had been accepted into Mississippi State University, but due to his condition his family chose to keep him close at home with them and he will now be attending Northshore Technical Community College.
Johnson-Cain said Page, who is autistic, played in the high school band, loves Charlie Brown and Snoopy and knows how to fight and work hard to achieve and overcome obstacles.
“When I started this year I was basing my fundraising goal off of what I’ve done in the past, so I set the goal at $2,500,” she said.
That goal was exceeded in no time, and the numbers just kept growing from there.
“It just blew my socks off,” she said.
Johnson-Cain said Lisa Page, Caleb’s mother who works on the St. Tammany Parish School Board, was instrumental in driving fundraising efforts.
Hard work on behalf of your child is something Johnson-Cain said resonates with her personally.
“I lost my son William at the age of 27 in 2014,” she said, adding the loss was not due to cancer. “So I understand what it is like to lose a child and I dove into volunteering and service work as an outlet to deal with my personal grief.”
She said giving of her time and helping those in need has been rewarding and has helped with her own emotional health.
“I work a seven-days on, seven-days off schedule, which allows me to do a lot of volunteering hours on my weeks off and I can’t think of a better way to spend my time,” she said. “You can find me helping at our local animal shelter, food pantry, working with kids with special needs and I did a lot of volunteering during the 2016 Floods in Baton Rouge and French Settlement serving meals and gutting out flooded homes.”
Johnson-Cain also serves on the board for Turning Rescues Into Pets, which helps homeless pets of St. Charles Parish. The organization works closely with Wings Of Rescue.
“I got involved in biking just prior to my son’s death and I fell in love with it and the Great Cycle Challenge seemed to be a perfect fit for me to do some good for kids fighting cancer,” she said. “When I get up on the levee, it’s just a time for me to ride. I don’t have music on. I look at the sky and I meditate and I think about my son.”
Johnson-Cain said her mantra is “running, or in this case riding, on WILLpower” – an acknowledgement to the son she lost and the motivation behind the good that she does.
Although the official fundraiser was in the month of September, Johnson-Cain’s donation page is still available by visiting www.greatcyclechallenge.com/Leaderboards/Individuals.