The Ride for Hope was conceived by Florida State University College of Medicine student Jason Farrah and his brother Jeffrey who participated in two Lance Armstrong Foundation rides to help raise funds for the foundation in honor of their father, Lou Farrah, a cancer survivor. With the help of the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Foundation, they decided to create a similar ride for Tallahassee and the surrounding community.
Modeled after the highly successful Lance Armstrong Foundation’s annual bike ride and inspired by the amazing Lou Farrah, his two sons and wife Jenny came up with, “the living room dream”, as the Farrah family refers to it. When Jason approached Paula Fortunas, President of the TMH Foundation, with the concept, the relationship was formed and the first committee, made up of the Farrah Family, a group of dear friends and Aaron Kinnon, Director of Community Outreach for the TMH Foundation. The Ride for Hope’s inaugural event was held on June 3, 2006 at Celebration Baptist Church and was a resounding success with 81 riders and over $30,000 raised to benefit the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center and the people in this region. “Nothing is more inspiring than seeing someone cross the finish line after a long arduous bike ride with the words CANCER SURVIVOR or IN HONOR OF across the back of their jersey, tears in their eyes, knowing that their efforts are helping to bring us all one step closer to the ultimate goal of a cure,” said Jason Farrah who served as the 2006 ride director.
Lou Farrah passed away in November 2006, but his legacy lives on through this ride. Everything done through The Ride for Hope is a testament to Lou’s vision to have a charity event in Tallahassee to benefit cancer patients and survivors in our community and to keep cancer patients and their families close to home by providing the most comprehensive and compassionate care available – right here in the Big Bend. An integral part of Lou’s vision was to also help people live by promoting healthy lifestyles through physical activity, health related information and cancer awareness. That is why “it’s not just a ride”, but also a family friendly event that includes the cycling courses, a health fair and expo, a family fun area, music, food, and so much more.
“The Ride for Hope is so successful and has become what it is today because of the generous support of both the sponsors and participants – and most of all through the loving dedication of the many volunteers on the committee (Crew) and the army of volunteers who help during the event”, said Aaron Kinnon of the TMH Foundation. Aaron continued, “Since the inaugural event in 2006, the event has grown each year in participation and funds raised, primarily due to the compassionate and steadfast leadership of our volunteer ride directors – Jason Farrah (2006), Mandy Stark (2007-2009, and Tina Darnell (2010 – present). It could not be done without them.”
The Ride for Hope is in loving memory of its founder, Louis T. Farrah.