DARIEN and NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Kim Kiner of Darien and John Murphy of New Canaan have their teamwork down pat. For the third straight year, they will bring riders from their various towns together for Saturday’s Connecticut Challenge.
The Connecticut Challenge creates and supports programs to empower cancer survivors. The cycling event raises money and awareness for the cause.
Kiner, whose husband Bob Mazzone is the chief operating officer of the Challenge, was diagnosed with cancer in November of 2003. Now, almost nine years later, she is cancer free and about to participate in her seventh ride. This year, she will be riding the 25 mile course with her two young daughters.
“When I first started Team Darien, after finishing my cancer treatment, I was riding for myself as a physical and mental challenge. Now, I am riding for other people going through it today,” Kiner said. “You become a survivor the moment you are diagnosed. But once you survive the disease, then you have to survive the harsh treatments and their long-term side-effects. The CT Challenge and its programs help people ‘survive the cure’ and get their lives back to some sort of ‘new normal.’”
As time went on, Kiner realized the importance of recruiting more riders, survivors and their networks of support to join the team. In 2010, she joined forces with Murphy, and they brought together riders from their towns who are generally rivals in every sport.
“It helps to have that fun-spirited rivalry of riders from the two towns when you’re trying to raise money together for a great cause,” Kiner said.
Murphy has several family members and friends who are cancer survivors and he said he rides for them.
“Darien and New Canaan are archrivals, but when you look at how many people in our communities who have been touched by cancer, we wanted to get both towns to work together. That’s why Kim and I formed the Darien-New Canaan team,” said Murphy, who will be riding the 100-mile event. “Everyone is actively raising funds, talking with cancer survivors and training to take on one of the fun and challenging CT Challenge bike routes that wind through the beautiful countryside in this area.”
Like Kiner, Murphy also welcomes new people with passion to join the team. One of this year’s new Team Darien-New Canaan members is cancer survivor Mimi Griffith of Darien, who is riding with passion and a purpose.
“I am riding to celebrate three years of being cancer free and to encourage cancer survivors to use the Challenge to find services for health and well-being in finding their ‘new normal,’’’ Griffith said.
For more information on Team Darien-New Canaan log on to its fund-raising page.