The St. Charles-based nonprofit group Cal’s Angels – which has a mission of raising awareness, granting wishes and funding research for pediatric cancer research – has announced the route for its annual W.A.R. on Wheels charity ride which will take cyclists from Mount Rushmore to St. Charles.
The WOW riders will begin the nearly 1,000-mile and 14-day trek at Mount Rushmore on Sept. 28, ending at Cal’s Angels headquarters in St. Charles on Oct. 11.
W.A.R. stands for wishes, awareness and research. Since 2007, Cal’s Angels has raised more than $13 million to support pediatric cancer programs, including research to help find new cures and treatments.
“The WOW Ride is a really special event, showcasing the lengths we are willing to go in order to provide the best treatment for children battling cancer,” said Stacey Wahlberg, co-founder and president of Cal’s Angels, in a news release. “The riders have all been impacted by pediatric cancer in some way, so for them this ride is a chance to shed light on this, support their loved ones and continue to foster the conversations of improving treatment for pediatric cancer through more fundings and new laws.”
The group was founded in 2007 after Wahlberg’s stepson, Cal Sutter, a South Elgin Little League all-star, lost his battle with acute myelogenous leukemia at the age of 13. The group’s mission is to grant wishes, raise awareness and fund research to help kids fighting cancer. Wahlberg said only 4% of what the government spends annually on cancer research is directed toward treating childhood cancer.
Since the beginning of the cross-country ride in 2019, WOW Riders have ridden over 3,000 miles to raise awareness for the ongoing battle and fight for a cure for pediatric cancer. The physical and mental battles the riders say they face during the rides are all made worth it knowing they are contributing to the ongoing support Cal’s Angels provides to children battling the life-threatening disease.
Beyond their fundraising events, Cal’s Angels has also worked with Illinois Representative Seth Lewis (R-Bartlett) to introduce Cal’s Law, which aims to make diagnostic testing for pediatric cancer patients more accessible. Currently the law has been passed out of the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate and is now heading to Governor Pritzker’s desk for his signature.
To find out how to support riders, give to Cal’s Angels or sponsor the 2021 ride, go to calsangels.org/wow.