Posted on July 27, 2012 at 7:16 AM
Friday, Jul 27 at 7:20 AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- After doctors removed a sarcoma tumor from his abdomen last year, Steve Kravitz came out of anesthesia with something to tell his oldest daughter.
“He called me into the room by myself,” recalled Krissy Kravitz, 27. “He whispered, ‘I’m going to walk you down the aisle.’ ”
Today, Krissy is engaged, and she bought a wedding gown with her father present on Thursday.
Friday night, they’ll bike a route known as the “Booty Loop” along with his wife and two other daughters for Charlotte’s 11th 24 Hours of Booty.
The bicycling event, which raises money for cancer research, kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday with the survivor’s lap of the “Booty Loop,” which goes from Queens Road West to Hopedale Avenue to Queens Road to Selwyn Avenue.
The survivor’s lap will be different this year: Some cancer survivors will be cruising the Booty Loop in 16 Corvette convertibles, while those who are able will ride bikes behind them.
The Corvettes will be borrowed from the Queen City Corvette Club, which has about 275 members, said Steve Kravitz, who is a member.
He came up with the idea. The two-time cancer survivor always dreamed of having a Corvette, and when he beat cancer in 2009, he bought a 1980 red coupe. He had a relapse in 2011, and after a second victory, bought a 2008 black convertible.
Kravitz said the club loved his idea.
“We’re always in parades carrying beauty queens, and I thought, how cool would it be to carry cancer survivors that can’t bike?” he said.
Jenni Walker, a spokeswoman for the 24 Hours of Booty, said she’s excited that all 150 survivors will get to participate.
“Seeing that tangible aspect of it is so powerful,” Walker said. “It makes me feel so proud to be here in Charlotte and say we have this event.”
Another change this year: having Myers Park High School as the location of Bootyville, the home base camp-out area for biking teams.
Bootyville is typically at Queens University, but construction on the site prompted organizers to change locations.
The school is about a mile from the Booty Loop, and the main streets of the loop will be closed to traffic. Bikers will be directed to ride from the school on Colony Road to Roswell Avenue to the loop, and those roads will not be closed to traffic.
“We just ask drivers to be safe and keep a watchful eye because there will be a lot more cyclists on the road than a typical Friday or Saturday,” said Basil Lyberg, the event’s executive director.
Lyberg said the event was capped at 1,200 cyclists, and that he expects about 250 more to join the ride Saturday morning as part of the event’s Reboot sign-up. Participants have raised a record amount of money, too, Lyberg said: $1.3 million. “We’re very excited to be able to cross this threshold,” he said. “It’s amazing what these participants have been able to do.”
Money raised goes to cancer research groups, and the two biggest recipients are the Levine Cancer Institute and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Lyberg said.
For Kravitz, raising money and participating in 24 Hours of Booty is his way of helping others fighting the battle he did. “My cancer was really rare,” he said. “Everywhere I turned, the knowledge on it was very limited, and this is something I can do to help other people in the future.”
So far, he’s raised $43,000. He’s got a team of 25 riders, the Charlotte Sharks, named after his first celebratory Corvette.
The survivor’s lap – this time in one of his Corvettes – will be full of meaning and emotion, he said.
“You’re glad you’re here and you’re glad you’re doing it,” he said, “because you don’t take life for granted anymore.”