When the cycle instructor of Matt Hazel’s regular lunchtime indoor cycle class at LIFE TIME FITNESS recruited participants last spring for a new charitable initiative, the Ride for a Reason Benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Life Time Foundation, the 55-year-old liked the idea of adding extra motivation to his fitness regimen.
As he learned more about the lifesaving mission of St. Jude, Hazel committed to gaining as many donations as possible before the event, which was then less than six weeks away.
“I'm a big prayer guy, and I started figuring out who I would ask,” Hazel said. “I prayed over the list for people to open up their hearts. And then I bugged the living daylights out of them — called them, texted them, emailed them.”
Hazel found friends, family members and co-workers receptive to his appeals, especially when he explained that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.
“My pitch was, if you knew your $100 could help save someone's life, would you do it?” Hazel said.
Hazel was one of more than 1,600 participants last year in the new partnership between St. Jude and Life Time Foundation, which owns LIFE TIME FITNESS centers in the United States and Canada.
Hazel lives in Chanhassen, Minnesota, where LIFE TIME FITNESS is based, and by the weekend of the event, he had eclipsed his original goal of $10,000 in fundraising. Hazel ended up generating more than $17,000 for St. Jude, which made him one of the top St. Jude Ride for a Reason fundraisers, helping the inaugural event top the $400,000 mark.
The inspiration Hazel drew from thinking about the kids of St. Jude helped him complete four full one-hour cycle sessions during the event.
“That's 72 miles,” Hazel said. “I tracked it.”
This year’s Ride for a Reason Benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Life Time Foundation is set for April 22, and Hazel said he’s looking forward to doing his part again to further the lifesaving mission of St. Jude: Finding cures. Saving children.®