Great American Bike Race announces changes to benefitting families

Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 12:02 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2023 at 10:58 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. - Changes are coming to the Great American Bike Race.

The annual stationary bike race was started more than 25 years ago as a fundraiser to help kids and young adults who live with cerebral palsy and other conditions.

Over the years, the event has raised nearly $5 million.

Now, the Sanford Health Foundation says money raised in this year’s race will go to help more kids, and not just those with C-P.

Shawnda Ereth has read and reread this letter dozens of times. It’s the letter she and other families affected by cerebral palsy received from the Sanford Health Foundation, outlining changes being made to the Great American Bike Race.

Starting this year, the foundation is broadening the mission of GABR to include all kids that are served by Sanford Health, and not just those with cerebral palsy.

“Lots of requests pass my desk every single day, but I’ve never been able to tell those kids yes because they didn’t have cerebral palsy or a disability that met the qualifications of GABR. Now we’re going to be able to tell many more kids yes, we’re here for you,” said Bismarck’s Sanford Health Foundation executive director Sara Haugen.

For years, GABR was an event the Ereth family looked forward to.

“This would have been our 11th year,” said Ereth.

The Ereth triplets were even GABR stars, but this year, the family won’t participate.

“Not only will we not participate in GABR we have asked our donors and those that support us not to participate. I can’t in good faith ask people to donate to GABR,” Ereth said.

Ereth says the changes to GABR will be devastating to many families.

“It just is like a knife in the gut. It’s devastating emotionally, and financially. It’s catastrophic for these families,” she said.

Ereth and many of those families have started making plans to launch a new fundraiser for kids with cerebral palsy. '

Meantime, Haugen says a Legacy Fund will also be established. Up $50,000 a year will be set aside to help families affected by C-P. GABR funds will also be used to support Sanford’s Child Life Program. She says the GABR event itself won’t change.

“The event is going to be as exciting as ever,” said Haugen.

This year’s GABR is scheduled for May 6 at the Bismarck Event Center.