Team Strong Heart was first the idea of Bernie Kaeferlein in 2006. Bernie said, I created Team Strong Heart out combination of passions for cycling and for helping people with Cardiovascular Disease. I've been a cyclist all my life and I've been involved in Cardiopulmonary Medicine for the past 14 years. I've worked in clinical research, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and for two wonderful companies, Medical Graphics and Medtronic.
Back in early 2006, I moved from talking about Race Across America (RAAM) with my riding buddies to actually working out the details. At the same time Cheryl Yano from the Heart Failure Society of America introduced me to Sara Meslow, the founder of Camp Odayin. I instantly fell in love with the Camp Odayin mission and wanted to help sponsor campers and raise awareness. Team Strong Heart was born. The name Team Strong Heart came to me easily through a double meaning of using strong athletic hearts through competition as well as through the strength of love and dedication to help hearts in need.
It's been inspirational to have so many others join the Team Strong Heart mission. I had a hope that Team Strong Heart would inspire others and I am so thankful to see that hope become a reality!
Team Strong Heart went on to become a successful reality finishing the coast to coast RAAM epic in 6 days, 15 hours, & 13 minutes. That earned them a spot on the podium finishing third overall (out of 16 in their class). The Team Strong Heart mission was realized and completed! or was it?
On the very day Team Strong Heat crossed the finish line in Atlantic City, NJ back in June ('07) a phone call was made, "Hello. This is Amy, I want to make a team! I want to make Team Strong Heart Forever!" Amy Xu is on the phone and states she wants to carry on what Bernie started! She wants to put together a Team Strong Heart for 2008. The next chapter begins!!
Team Strong Heart has now been entered into the 2008 RAAM race as the rededicated Team Strong Heart Forever. The 2008 team not only includes a new 4-person mixed team, but a second team, a soloist! Tim Case (returning team member of TSH07). These five riders and their support crews will once again take on the challenge to fulfill the Team Strong Heart mission and take on the 2008 Race Across America.
The success of Team Strong Heart is really measured by the support of others. Real success does not happen by crossing the finish line, but by the gracious support of those who contribute to the Team Strong Heart mission. Corporate and individual donations are key! Help make Team Strong Heart Forever a success and the real winners will be the campers at Camp Odayin.
Support Team Strong Heart Forever and we, the crew and race team, promise to give it all as we take on the epic challenge of the 2008 RAAM.
2008 Team Strong Heart Forever
Amy, Melinda, John, Jay, & Tim