Pedaling for a cause: Barrett riding in Skinny Tire Festival to raise money for cancer research
Tom Barrett has always been involved in community events, but cancer had a way of dictating those events.
The 53-year-old owner of Standard Tire & Service Center in Montrose now channels his focus toward raising money for the fight against cancer.
Barrett, a cancer survivor himself, is riding in the 10th annual Skinny Tire Festival this weekend in Moab. The event begins Saturday and concludes Tuesday.
The registration fee is $100, plus a minimum of a $70 donation for the full weekend of the event or $70 with a minimum donation of $50 for Saturday and Sunday only. People can register online at skinnytireevents.com
Riders can start a team or join an existing team and raise money for their favorite beneficiary. The beneficiaries are the Moab Cancer Treatment and Resource Center, Huntsman Cancer Foundation, Caring Friends Foundation Supporting the San Juan Cancer Center, Kids on Bikes, Triumph Fitness Program and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Prizes will be awarded to the top two fundraisers as well as a Messenger Award for the biggest outreach..
Barrett, with the help of others, started the Caring Friends Foundation Supporting the San Juan Cancer Center.
The foundation’s birth came shortly after Barrett was diagnosed with colon cancer in January 2004.
After a regimen of chemotherapy, he had surgery in April 2004, but had complications that required two more surgeries.
A few of his friends organized a 150-mile bike ride in July around the Black Canyon National Park while Barrett was in the hospital. They called it the “Grin ‘n Barrett Black Canyon Butt Kicker.”
The ride started in Montrose and traveled over the Black Mesa into Crawford, Hotchkiss and Delta before returning to Montrose in one day.
“Through the San Juan Health Care Foundation associated with Montrose hospital, we started a Caring Friends Fund,” Barrett said. “What has transpired since, we have become associated with the Skinny Tire Festival.”
In 2005, the “Grin ‘n Barrett” event was turned into a charity ride to raise money to build a cancer center in Montrose.
The 14,549-square-foot San Juan Cancer Center opened two years later at South Fifth and Park streets.
Barrett is now a five-year cancer survivor and continues to be instrumental in health care.
He is on the Montrose health care board and raises money to help families cover the cost of receiving cancer treatment.
“We raise money for things such as a family out of Lake City coming to Montrose for treatment on a limited income,” Barrett said. “We provide them with a debit card for gas. We’ve also provided food for cancer patients with feeding tubes that insurance doesn’t cover 100 percent of it.
“It isn’t just about the cancer patient, it’s about the family and friends associated with them. I couldn’t have gotten through this without them. It’s family, friends and faith. Everybody’s got family and friends, if you don’t have that, it’s tough to survive anything.”
The Caring Friends Foundation Supporting the San Juan Cancer Center, which has other events, has raised more than $20,000 to date.