Last year, Design Outreach engineering volunteer Michael Cook felt called to raise funds for LifePumps for people in Malawi by riding a 1,300+ mile section of the Transamerica Bicycle Trail. His ride inspired co-workers from DePuy Synthes in Indiana to “match Michael’s miles” and support the fundraising effort, raising enough funds to provide five LifePumps that will be installed in Malawi this summer.
Right after they returned home from the 2020 ride, Michael and his wife Rebecca began planning for this summer’s ride that will cover another 1,315 miles starting at West Yellowstone, Montana, where the 2020 ride ended. Along the way, he will traverse the Rocky Mountains and pass-through Wyoming and Colorado, and then cross the plains of Kansas, where he will finish the ride. He will be riding from June 21-July 3.
This year, the Golden Cup is going to be bigger and better. DePuy Synthes is fully engaging in Michael’s efforts by creating teams that will help raise funds and again try to match or beat Michael’s miles by participating in riding/walking or running events. Each DePuy Synthes team will have a fundraising goal and will be “competing” against other teams for miles and funds raised.
“Join Team Michael”
You can help Michael reach his fundraising goal by riding/walking or running (virtually or in-person) or by making a donation. Be on the lookout for daily updates on DO’s social media to keep track of Michael’s progress.
DO: What are you excited about for the 2021 Golden Cup Ride?
Michael: “Where do I start? I’m super thankful for the ride last year in 2020 when we didn’t really know what the future held and hadn’t done it before. We started with a $10,000 goal that turned into $30,000 and raised $66,000 with support from co-workers and friends across the US and internationally as well. We’re excited to see it multiply and see how God’s math is different than our math—God can multiply it in ways that we don’t expect.”
“Rebecca and I are excited to get out and see the mountains again. We will be starting the ride at the west entrance of Yellowstone Park and take a new section of the Transamerica Bicycle Trail to raise funds for clean water in Malawi. I am also excited to see the DePuy Synthes Team Captains coming on. Just yesterday, I had an employee reach out to get involved, because she is interested in clean water projects and heard about our exciting undertaking from a co-worker.”
DO: Tell us more about the concept of the DePuy Synthes Team Captains.
Michael: “Last year, we had about 25 people from DePuy Synthes participate in a campaign to ride/walk or run to match my miles and raise funds—it was great to have their support. This year, we are creating teams with volunteer Team Captains who will have a fundraising goal, and they will assemble teams who will walk/ride/run in person or virtually to hit their goals. Already we have people, including those from the United Kingdom, interested in participating in the effort. It allows us to engage different ages and stages in the campaign to bring awareness and support beyond what we could on our own. It will be an amazing way to multiply the benefits for our friends in Malawi.”
DO: What is different about the ride this year?
Michael: “Being more prepared and already knowing how things actually work technically and what we might need, like bicycle tubes. Last year I had two flat tires and only had a few more tubes for backup, so this year I bought a bunch, just in case. Last year, there were many unknowns, especially due to COVID. We weren’t always sure there would be an open campground, etc. A big unknown last year was how my lungs would handle the high altitudes, and this year I can train in “flat” Indiana knowing that all should be well in that category. Also, I’ll know to bring extra rain gear this year from our experience with unseasonably wet weather last year. While we didn’t encounter too many challenges, being better prepared and experienced will allow for more enjoyment and engagement along the route.”
DO: What are the highlights of this year’s route?
Michael: “This year, I plan to ride another 1,315 miles, including a beautiful ride through the Grand Teton’s, which will include a side trip on a spur of the Grand Teton route that is supposed to have a stunning overlook. I’ll be riding through more national forests this year and spend a good amount of time in the mountains. It should be both challenging and beautiful. We’ll start at West Yellowstone, Montana, and end in Eureka, Kansas. Ending there seems appropriate after 1,300+ miles, because eureka means ‘I have found it.’ I think I will have found a deep satisfaction in going the distance and raising awareness and funds to provide water for the dear people in Malawi.”
DO: What would you want to say to people to give and participate?
Michael: “Thank you for your support last year. Your support is making a difference. I remember Greg Bixler talking about the huge impact the LifePump is making in people’s lives in Africa, after returning from his December trip to Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. When a LifePump comes to a village it causes lives to be transformed, because they no longer have to spend hours walking to draw dirty water from contaminated sources that can lead to disease or even death. The LifePump is bringing life by providing a reliable water source for people, animals, and crops.”
He continued, “I want you to know that when you support this work that you aren’t alone, others are pulling along with you, and together we can have a great impact. I am inviting you to be part of the team and this effort.”