In the heart of southern Arkansas, Glen Jones embarked on a journey that would transform him into a 100-Mile BellRinger Rider. What began with a leisurely cruiser ride on weekends evolved into a passionate commitment to raising funds for cancer research and treatment at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center after his move to Washington, DC just two years ago.
Cycling was never a major feat in his community. A few people rode their bikes here and there. A friend moving out of the area gifted him a cruiser, which allowed him to dip his toe in the water of cycling as a fun weekend activity. After three years of using the cruiser, his wife and a former student of his devised a plan for his birthday, and they gifted Glen a sleek road bike. Seven years later, he uses this bike to this day, as it’s a reminder of where his journey truly began.
During the pandemic in 2019, Glen started riding more and more. He had a couple of friends who would meet up with him in Little Rock for Saturday morning Rides. But after a move to the DMV in 2021, he found himself in a new area with a lot more ground to explore. Every weekend he would go further and further on the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) trail, and his curiosity to see more would motivate him to go further and further.
By this point, Glen had heard about BellRinger through his colleagues at Georgetown University. Cancer has deeply affected his family, as his wife lost both parents within four months to separate terminal cancers. They have friends who are fighting cancer and many who are survivors. This past year, a mentor he admired passed away after battling cancer for five years. The weight of these experiences, combined with the awareness of the soaring costs of cancer treatments and the challenges of obtaining sufficient healthcare coverage, solidified his commitment to contribute in whatever way he could.
As he began reaching out for support, the initial responders were his fellow riders from Arkansas — the same people who shared this journey with him from the beginning. Garnering around $1,500, he initially thought he had met his goal. However, a friend urged him to ask for more from those who cared about the cause, as it provided them an avenue to make a difference. This encouragement led him to set a stretch goal of $5,000, but that wasn’t the end. The same friend persisted, pushing him further, suggesting that his community’s love and commitment deserved an even bolder aim – $10,000. A bit hesitant, he thought it might seem too high, but the encouragement to invite others to contribute resounded in his mind. With a simple yet profound question – “Will you support me?” – he found people eager to stand beside him and say, “Yes, without a doubt.”
After a year of fundraising success, Glen took to the roads in October during BellRinger’s Inaugural Ride on the 100-mile route. During the ride, Glen connected with fellow cyclists, including a cancer survivor who had a major yet successful surgery just three months prior. With awe in his voice, Glen recalls, “He finished it. He finished the 100-mile Ride. It was remarkable and a testament to the resilience of those battling cancer.”
Glen continued to meet others along the route during his Ride, and he went from Riding alone to crossing the finish line with a group of riders who hadn’t left each other’s sides for the last half of the ride. Glen reflected on the strength of the community in year one and how he is excited for the growth of BellRinger for years to come.
“We all have a part in this — and that's where the power lies. Uniting against cancer as a community is going to make all the difference in our ability to end this terrible disease.”
Glen Jones, 100-mile Rider
Glen will be riding 100-miles again in BellRinger 2023, and the heart of his motivation remains in the stories shared by his donors, friends, and family. His fundraising journey began with simple conversations, where people revealed their stories and pledged their support. His donations, ranging from $36 to a thousand dollars, have all contributed to the cause and are celebrated with equal enthusiasm, as every single dollar makes a difference.
Glen has already raised almost $6,000 for his Ride this October, and there is no stopping in sight to hit his goals in honor everyone in his life affected by cancer.