Tucson woman riding in El Tour with an eye on giving back

Tucson woman riding in El Tour with an eye on giving back

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The El Tour de Tucson is a few weeks away but one Tucson woman is already starting to raise money, all in the name of kindness.

Monica Medina started cycling two years ago in preparation for her first El Tour. Three weeks before the big event, she suffered a heart attack.

“I had felt really weird. My body was just giving me a lot of signs that I kept brushing off," she said. “One day at work, I knew something was wrong. I felt a very large thud in my chest, some blurring in my vision.”

Against medical advice to take it easy, she kept training and rode the race.

She found inspiration in one of Tucson’s darkest hours.

“I saw Gabby Giffords, and was like, ‘Gabby Giffords is here?’'," Medina said. “I said if Gabby Giffords can ride after all her health issues, I should be able to do this.”

Monica Medina and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
Monica Medina and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. (Source: Monica Medina)

She’s going to ride again this year, but for a reason bigger than herself.

“It’s not about you. You’re so insignificant and you don’t really realize that until you have a moment like that,” she said. “Then you (ask yourself), ‘what am I doing with my time?’”

Every rotation of her wheels will raise money for Ben’s Bells, a Tucson-based non-profit focused on spreading kindness.

That’s something Medina hopes to spread to other riders.

“If I’m going to go ride in El Tour de Tucson, you might as well go pick somebody that you can go raise some funds for,” she said. "You’re already out there doing it. I love El Tour, but I don’t think I’d be involved with El Tour as much if I wasn’t raising money for somebody like Ben’s Bells. That marriage is what has me training and getting people donating.”

Medina said she takes any donation, big or small.

“I really want those small amounts a lot of people want to give 50 or 60 bucks, but that’s not in our budget,” she said. “You might be able to afford 4 and I’ll take that and apply it towards kindness.”

Medina is well on her way to her goal of $2,000. On Thursday, her team reached $1,600.

To help Medina get all the way, you can donate HERE.

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