Removing the awkward in fundraising

#BoOnABike one week later
Bo on a bike
Photo courtesy by Bo Jungmayer

Editor’s note: This is part of weekly series chronicling a novice-cyclist’s ramp up to riding in Obliteride, an annual bike ride, held this year Aug. 7-9, that raises money for Fred Hutch.  

First week of training done. One success, one … “better luck next time.”

The farther you live from Seattle, the more the cyclist-friendly roads begin to disappear. Luckily, our home is near the Interurban Trail. The trail follows the route used by the former Interurban Trolley that ran between Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood and Everett in the early 20th century until being abandoned in 1939.

Saturday morning, I went in search of the entrance to the trail. Fast-forward an hour and a half later and I finally found the entrance. Let’s just say I passed the “clearly marked trail” and kept riding around various neighborhoods. On my way home I mapped my ride and it was only a 10-minute bike ride from my house (insert deep sigh here).

To some, that first training may not have been a complete success but to me it was close enough. I dusted off my bike, put on my riding gear and rode for an hour and a half without stopping and got a good work out.

Till we meet again Interurban Trail.

With less than four weeks to go when I signed up for Obliteride, like many other riders, I feared that I wouldn’t reach my fundraising goal. It has been so long since I did any type of fundraising.

In high school, I was very involved with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and fundraised for that cause. It’s been a good number of years later and I feared that the skill to ask for donations was gone. Luckily, Obliteride gives participants many resources and tools to help them reach their goal and decrease the daunting task.

After registering, participants are given a fundraising page showing their profile photo, goal and brief statement. When I first saw this I thought, how am I going to write something so good that my family and friends will be compelled to donate? The Obliteride team provided many templates to get me started. One resonated with me so much I kept it as my text. I did however add my reason to ride: Rylee.

After that, I uploaded my photo, picked my goal and off I went. But what was next? How to start? How do I ask my family and friends to donate without feeling awkward?

Wait. Awkward asking for a donation that would go 100 percent toward accelerating cancer research? Now that just sounded silly.

As I was contemplating what medium I should use to ask for donations, the answer was right in front of me: Facebook. Like many people, social media is a big part of my life, in and outside of work. I opened a new tab on my browser and navigated to Facebook Messenger and just started typing. I reached out to relatives. Started out with a quick hello and went for it…  

Screenshot of Facebook message

Who would have thought that after just five personal fundraising asks and posts on my social media, I achieved my goal. That said, I’m going to continue to fundraise.

Below I have tips for those of you who have joined me in this challenge. The biggest takeaway: Just start asking and you might be surprised by what you get.

Personalize your Obliteride fundraising page by adding a photo and expand on the text template options.

Make the donation ask personal. Start with a simple hello, connect with the person and then introduce the ride. Remember to include the link to your fundraising page.

Follow Obliteride on Facebook and Twitter. They continue to post fundraising ideas and training tips. Their most recent one:

Screenshot of Obliteride Facebook post

For the last two weeks, I might have to try this method of fundraising. Wearing a tutu while riding? Maybe shave my head? Hugs from this girl?  

Photo of Rylee
My daughter, Rylee, is the reason why I ride Obliteride. Photo by Bo Jungmayer

The possibilities are endless.

Obliteride has more fundraising tips here.

Till next time, follow me on social media using hashtag #BoOnABike.

#BoOnABike by the numbers

Number of training rides: 2
Approximate training miles: 18 miles
Personal fundraising asks sent: 5
Donations received to date: $600
New brake pads: $10

What's your reason for riding in Obliteride? Tell us about it on Facebook.

Bo Jungmayer is a staff photographer and multimedia editor at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He’s a graduate of the University of Washington and is instrumental in finding and executing innovative ways to tell stories through words, pictures and video. Reach him at

Related News

All news
Riding for a reason: A novice cyclist rides for daughter to live in a cancer-free world #BoOnABike: A weekly series following a new father’s mission to ride Obliteride July 15, 2015
What diamonds, a bicycle and one man's mission have to do with curing cancer For the CEO of Blue Nile, raising money for research by cycling in Obliteride is personal July 15, 2015
Untangling the kinetochore Dr. Changkun Hu named Jane Coffin Childs – HHMI Fellow; Boosts research into critical and complex molecular machine November 29, 2023

Help Us Eliminate Cancer

Every dollar counts. Please support lifesaving research today.