Charlotte Sharks take a bite out of cancer

When Ballantyne resident Steve Kravitz thinks back on his battle with Sarcoma, he thinks about two things – 24 Hours of Booty and new Corvettes.

A group of friends asked Kravitz after his first diagnosis in 2009 if they could support his fight by riding in the cancer research fundraiser 24 Hours of Booty. The annual south Charlotte cycling event raises thousands of dollars for local and national charities. People come from across the country to ride in the often-sold-out event, where they can bike for just part of the evening or all 24 hours.

The group rode in Kravitz’s honor for two years before he recovered enough to join them on a bike. Now, in his second year of being cancer free and riding in the event with his team – the Charlotte Sharks – Kravitz is the highest fundraiser for the Charlotte event. He’s raised $84,390 for the cause, though the money is just a nice bonus to his real goal – helping others become more     educated about what they are experiencing in their fight against cancer.

“A lot of what 24 Hours of Booty does is more on the educational and wellness side,” Kravitz explained. “Some of the money goes to research, but a lot of money goes to helping cancer patients go through it.  The biggest fear I had when I was going through radiation and things like that is no one explained it to me.”

This year’s 24 Hours of Booty will start at Myers Park Traditional Elementary School, 2132 Radcliffe Ave., where participants supporting the cause will set up tents and canopies and vendors will provide meals, snacks, energy drinks and more to the hundreds in attendance. The event will take place Friday and Saturday, July 26 and 27, in the Myers Park neighborhood.  Organizers plan to see about 1,200 riders for the 12th annual event and hope to raise about $1.2 million for cancer research and survivorship.

Participating in this 24-hour cycling event isn’t the only way Kravitz celebrates beating cancer.  After making it through the first fight with Sarcoma, and then the second time around, Kravitz bought his dream car – one for each of the two times he battled cancer.

“My whole life I wanted a Corvette and never bought one,” he said. “… In 2009 after I got done with cancer and beat it the first time I bought a 1980 Corvette because that’s my dream car.”

His 1980 Corvette is more than a token of his victory, it also helped create the name of his team – the Charlotte Sharks – named after the nickname for the Corvette, the Shark. He also has a 2008 convertible. In addition to his fundraising success, his 27-member team was the second highest fundraising team for this year’s event, bringing in $106,090.

Whether it was his personal fundraising victories, or his team’s, Kravitz said he couldn’t have made any of it happen alone.

Kravitz plans on continuing to work alongside 24 Hours of Booty to make a difference for others fighting cancer, but he never wants to have to buy another Corvette.

“I just don’t want any more Corvettes because that will mean I have to beat cancer again.”

For more information about 24 Hours of Booty or to get involved, go to www.24hoursofbooty.org.

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