Riders of all ages and skill levels are invited to participate in CowaLUNGa July 29-31, 2023. The charity ride is a summertime cycling tradition in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin that helps raise money for lung disease research and programs.
It’s only Steve Seidenberg’s second year riding Respiratory Health Association’s (RHA) CowaLUNGa
Charity Bike Tour, but he’s already felt the warm and welcoming energy CowaLUNGa is known for. Steve is an avid cyclist and member of the Arlington Heights and Wheeling, IL Bike Clubs. He rides 20 miles back and forth to work several times a week. He says the bike keeps him both healthy and sane, but it wasn’t until his wife was diagnosed with sarcoid, an autoimmune disease, that he realized the true impact a bike ride could have.
For Steve, the CowaLUNGa ride was about more than just the physical challenge, but an opportunity to support people who struggle to breathe. “I have a daughter, I have grandchildren, the air quality is very important to me,” said Seidenberg. “I believe everybody is born into this world…to leave the world a little better place…than when you came in it, and this is just my way to contribute towards that goal.”
Last year, Steve raised $3,900, including a 1 to 1 match from his employer, and celebrated his 65th
birthday on the ride, all while challenging himself to ride 66 miles (his age + one mile) each day. He
enjoys both the nice, well-marked, route and the challenging hills, but his favorite part is the camaraderie. Last year, “I happened to find Joe and Sara of Team CowaLUNGa and they let me tag along for the whole weekend, but I really felt that it didn’t matter who I would have found. Everyone would have been as welcoming.”
This year, Steve will be riding with Team Cattle Moraine, and he’s excited to get more involved with the
group and the people on the team. He’ll also be volunteering as part of the Cow Ambassador Team,
helping to make the ride a success for everyone involved.
Meanwhile, Suzanne Covoloskie from Madison, WI, has been riding CowaLUNGa for years, some virtually. As someone who suffers from asthma, she knows firsthand the importance of supporting respiratory health. Even after contracting COVID-19 early in the pandemic and losing lung capacity, she continues to ride with her friend Staci Willems and their team, The Skirts, living by the motto: You can wear a skirt and still be tough.
However, it’s fundraising where Suzanne and her team shine. They have used football and NCAA bracket pools, as well as game nights, such as ‘Bingo for Booze,’ to raise money for the ride. They even sold candy bars and t-shirts with The Skirts logo and raffled off items to support their cause.
Among their most successful fundraising events were hiking trips with Devil’s Lake Adventure Hikes, where they went offroad with a certified guide. Another time, someone donated a pedal cart. They sold all the seats on it, and pedaled people around, raising money. They’ve organized $10 bike rides and raffled off various items to support their cause. Their ‘50 for 50’ initiative was a hit. If someone donated $50, they would ride 50 miles, and even new riders joined in on the fun.
Social media plays a crucial role in their fundraising efforts. They post regular updates to keep people informed about their progress and share their stories to inspire others to join in their cause. They also send out monthly newsletters to keep their supporters in the loop.
Suzanne’s favorite part is cycling with likeminded people in a drama-free environment. “The people are personable, caring, and always willing to lend a hand. This smaller ride is a chance to build relationships and make a difference, all while having fun and enjoying the beautiful scenery” says Covoloskie, “Plus the food and snacks are always good! And there is no required camping, always a plus!”
For both Steve and Suzanne, CowaLUNGa is more than just a bike ride. It’s a chance to support a cause they believe in, and to connect with others who share their passion for cycling and respiratory health.
You can join the fun and help raise money to support the fight against lung disease.
Registration for the 2023 ride is open until July 26th. To learn more and register, visit RespHealth.org/CowaLUNGa.