More than 30 local women will don their ‘witchiest’ garb and hop on their bikes to ride against cancer on Saturday night for the inaugural Lee County Witches Ride 2017.
The event, started this year by Kimberly Myers and Katie Kingston, marks the end of a month-long campaign to raise money for the American Cancer Society, or the ACS. The group partnered with the city to hold their ride at the Opelika Sportsplex in conjunction with a public outdoor movie showing of “Hocus Pocus” at the amphitheater, also a new event this year.
Myers works as a community development manager for the ACS, fundraising in several communities including Lee County.
“I went to a meeting up in Birmingham … and I heard that there was some success with a witches ride,” Myers said. “I had been wanting to do an additional event in Lee County just because I felt like there was sort of a need for a more family-friendly event. So I thought I would give it a go.”
Myers and Kingston put their heads together and decided to hold the witches ride. A committee chose local women to participate and presented them with a witch’s hat and invitation to help fundraise. Each “witch” and her raised funds are listed on a Lee County Witches Ride page on the ACS website. Contributors can support their favorite “witch” and donate through her.
“Most everybody that’s participating has either had some sort of cancer or has had an immediate family member who has had cancer or passed from cancer,” Myers said. “There are a lot of stories behind why these women are so passionate about fundraising for an organization that they really care about.”
Myers’ father is a cancer survivor. The test that caught his cancer early was developed by a researcher whom the ACS funded.
“If that doesn’t make you passionate I don’t know what does,” Myers said.
Most of the “witches” have been spreading the word about the project and gaining supporters through social media. The group’s fundraising goal was $10,000, but they have almost reached the $12,000 mark as of publication.
The ride will start at 6 p.m. at the Opelika Sportsplex.
“The witches will be tossing out all kinds of goodies,” Myers said. “And then we are crowning the Witchiest Witch Award, who will be the best-dressed witch, and then the Glinda Good Witch Award, who is our top fundraiser.”
Myers said she absolutely plans to hold the event again next year.
“I have had a ton of feedback and just people finding out through seeing it on Facebook or seeing people asking for donations, and people have already reached out to me wanting to participate next year,” she said. “So I think yeah, it’ll definitely be back.”
The group organizers had originally considered opening the campaign up to men fundraisers as well, but ultimately decided to nominate only women.
“We talked about maybe doing witches and warlocks or whatever,” Myers said. “But with it being October, which we’re all very aware is breast cancer awareness month, even though ACS does research and support for all sorts of cancer, I just kind of thought it was fitting to bring some powerful women together in the month of October.”