The fourth annual “Tour DaVita” is Sunday through Tuesday. Four hundred riders – both from western Washington and across the country – will ride 240 miles on their bike to raise awareness and money for the fight against kidney disease.
At first when I realized the scope of this opening day party – free food, huge stage, free beer, a rockin’ band, free food, strolling entertainment (juggler, balloon artist, clown, and me), free carnival-style games, and free food (did I mention that?) I thought, “Geez, what kind of a fundraiser is this?”
So I talked to one of the riders, David from Tennessee. To participate, riders raised a minimum of $750 to $2,000 in donations each and paid their own travel expenses. Their fundraising combined with donations from DaVita and other corporate sponsors is expected to raise more than $700,000. Talking to two of their band members afterward I learned that they are also DaVita employees – the whole band is – and they do 8-10 of these big gigs each year. They’re treated like rockstars and it gives them a chance to do big shows while still having the comfort of a “real job” with security and benefits. It also saves DaVita from dropping $15K on a band. So hey, party on!
It was a beautiful sunny day until the last forty five minutes of the event when the drizzle and then rain kicked in. I kind of feel bad for the cyclists about to embark on three days of riding many hours in the rain. Welcome to Washington!