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Bike 2 Beat Cancer Ride ride to support Christina Pirruccello and family

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Although West Sacramento resident Christina Pirruccello is currently undergoing chemotherapy for her second battle with breast cancer in two years, she has, according to friends, remained just as positive, chipper and energetic as she was in her high school cheerleading days.

During this financially difficult time, high school friends and alumni have bonded together and created the inaugural Bike 2 Beat Cancer Ride on Saturday. The event will raise money through raffles and a silent auction that will support Pirruccello’s wish of building an education fund for her nearly 3-year-old daughter, Ella.

“The community coming together to support her on Saturday is going to help make her wish come true,” Pirruccello’s close friend and one of the event organizers, Mary Huarte, said. “This awful disease she is battling could grab me, you or anyone. It’s happening to her right now, and it’s her wish that her daughter has educational opportunities in the future.”

The ride will begin at 8:45 a.m. at de Vere’s Irish Pub at 16th and L streets in Sacramento, and end with a silent auction and raffle at the sister pub in Davis. Tickets are $25 and cycling organization Team Mad Cat will offer three group ride-back times.

“We kicked around a lot of ideas and thought this might be a good way to show support,” de Vere’s Irish Pub co-owner Henry De Vere White said. “When Christina beat cancer the first time (July 2011), she took took up bike riding, so we all felt having a ride would be a good fit.”

De Vere White said that the bike ride was something he started last year with local bike enthusiasts as a fun event – it was not until a group of he and Christina’s close friends, Huarte included, approached him that he decided to utilize the bike ride as a fundraiser for Ella’s education.

“The original idea was to do an event for Christina so she’d have some money to do something fun with after chemo,” Huarte said. “But she said, ‘If you really want to raise money, what I’d really like is to be able to send Ella to Christian Brothers.’ ”

Located at 4315 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Christian Brothers High School is Sacramento’s longest-thriving Catholic high school with a baseline tuition of around $11,600 a year. It boasts more than 14,000 alumni – Pirruccello, Huarte and de Vere White included. It is Pirruccello’s wish to see her daughter educated at the same school.

According to De Vere White, the support the event has received from local restaurants and businesses has been considerable. Items donated for the silent auction and raffle include a cruiser bike, snowboards, tickets for the San Francisco Ballet, a five-course whiskey dinner for six hosted by De Vere White and his brother, and much more.

According to De Vere White, Pirruccello is very thankful that the community has come together on her behalf and greatly appreciates the support. If enough money isn’t raised this year for Ella’s education, the ride will be held annually in Pirruccello’s honor. After Ella’s goal is reached, de Vere White said he hopes to continue the ride and develop a scholarship fund for families who are overwhelmed by the cost of cancer treatment yet want to send their children to school.

“The ride is a great representation of people supporting local,” De Vere White said. “Here it is: a local girl, a local family, local alumni, a local school and all the businesses coming together. It’s nice to see that that can happen on such a large scale, and we’re hoping it leads to a great event.” 

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