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Growing up on a dairy farm in Dousman, Wisconsin, cycling was ingrained in Shari Holland from a young age.

When she was a freshman in high school, Shari’s brother, Larry, gifted her with her first bicycle and would time her racing around the fields. Shari found comfort in the rhythm of her pedals. Cycling became her sanctuary– a sacred, spiritual time to commune with nature and reflect on life’s intricacies. These emotions only intensify when she rides in Wisconsin.

It was this deep-seated love for cycling that drew Shari Holland to the CowaLUNGa™ Charity Bike Tour. Amidst the sprawling Wisconsin countryside, she found more than just a cycling event; she found camaraderie and encouragement from fellow riders, even as she embarked on the journey solo. Teams of fellow riders would often help her to stay on the course or invite her out to lunch.

“Midwest people are the best,” commented Shari. “They are friendly and have heart.”

Larry “loved to ride the country roads and I followed his passion…because of him, I feel a connection to bike riding,” commented Shari. Tragically, Larry passed away in 1979 at age 26 in a freak baseball accident.

Naturally, the bike he had given Shari just three years earlier gained a spiritual significance to her. Inspired by her son’s battle with diabetes and fueled by the memory of her late brother, Shari sought to make a meaningful impact through charity cycling. Riding for charity became a way for her to merge her passion for cycling with her desire to support those in need.

“It’s important to find your why. What’s your why? Is it a cause? Are you thinking of someone?”

Shari Holland

Shari is a personal trainer and a massage therapist by trade and receives significant fundraising support from her clients. Her advice: Just ask. Shari states, “most people want to do good, help and contribute. Don’t be bashful. Don’t be shy. Believe in what you’re doing.”

As Shari gears up for this year’s CowaLUNGa Charity Bike Tour, her sights are set on more than just the road ahead. With a 5-day bike ride in Denmark looming on the horizon, she views CowaLUNGa as more than just training; it’s a chance to elevate her passion for cycling to new heights while continuing to make a difference in the world.

Get all the details and register for the August 3-4, 2024 ride!

Visit the Respiratory Health Association’s CowaLUNGa event page.