Member Spotlight: Mike Belgard

June 20, 2014

Name: Mike BelgardMikeBelgrade

City of residence: Sacramento, CA

Occupation: IS&T Manager

How long have you been involved with Best Buddies? This will be my fifth year riding. I’ve done the 62 mile and 100 mile courses.

What inspired you to join Team Maria? After registering for my first Hearst Castle ride, I was invited to one of the local events in Sacramento and met very nice people who were focused on doing something meaningful for other people, which I thought was awesome.

Why is the Best Buddies program, and its mission, so important? Each year I come to the events and I hear the success stories that Best Buddies has helped to create. I am struck by the common threads to those stories. Those common threads are overcoming social isolation and engendering a sense of dignity. Best Buddies programs are about friendship and focusing on people’s abilities and not their disabilities. The power of social integration and dignity gives the Best Buddies clients the ability to be part of society, advocate for themselves and do amazing things in their lives.

What motivates you to participate in the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle? There are so many things about this ride to be motivated by. If the incredible scenery of Highway 1 through Carmel and Big Sur isn’t enough for you, then there are the amazing volunteers and supporters along the course. The support that you received from the donors to your fundraising drive pushes you up that long hill at mile 78 and knowing that you’ve done something to help people in your community is powerful for all 100 miles. Of course, the last 15 miles, your legs spin just a little bit faster because you know that the hills are done and there is cold beer waiting at San Simeon Beach.

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