“It just hit me that this was it,” Armstrong said. “I get to combine my passion of biking with trying to help people.”
Armstrong, who works for ROI Communication in Scotts Valley, has undergone a number of changes in her life in the past several years and has found cycling — both mountain biking and road cycling — to be one of her passions. She learned about Team in Training while talking with a friend and signed up with the group to ride around Lake Tahoe in June.
Armstrong said training in the hills of Scotts Valley is a challenge that will prepare her for the ride. She aims to raise $3,100 by May 1 in honor of Marissa Shaffer, an eighth-grader and cancer survivor who attends the middle school.
She was helped toward that goal by a $1,000 donation from Fox Racing Shox, a cycling and off-road racing company that moved to Scotts Valley in the fall.
“It’s a great cause and we’re happy to do it,” said Fox CEO Larry Enterline. “A lot of our employees are involved in biking, but just as important is the cause.”
Marissa first became a Team in Training honoree in 2007, when her mother, Camilla Shaffer, joined Team in Training to commemorate her daughter’s battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Marissa was diagnosed in 2001, when she was almost 3 years old, and fought the disease until May 2005. Now in remission, Marissa is outspoken about her cancer.
“I love to be an honoree,” Marissa said. “It’s really fun to go to the kickoff, and then they ask me to be a guest speaker. I love to tell my story.”
Armstrong said she was excited about the ride as she prepared for the century ride in June.
“It’s a little bit tough,” Armstrong said, “But the coaches at Team in Training are awesome.”
To learn more about Armstrong’s fundraising efforts: http://pages.teamintraining.org/sj/ambbr12/darlenestilwellarmstrong.