Even if you’ve never ridden a bike further than your neighborhood, you’ve probably heard of the legendary Booty Loop. The loop of streets around Myers Park is a favorite place for cyclists to train, and host to the epic 24 Hours of Booty cancer fundraiser every year. Since the “24 HoB” began in 2002, it has raised nearly $21 million for cancer navigation services and support, including a record-breaking $1.4 million in 2019. How do you top that? In a pandemic?
In 2020, to turn a phrase, you “unloop” it. Because of COVID-19, and the health and safety of participants, this year’s 24 Hours of Booty is a virtual event. What does this mean? It means teams are encouraged to register, fundraise, and participate in their own events that they create. Welcome to the “UnLooped” 24 Hours of Booty.
“We’ve taken different components and found ways to bring it to your backyard,” says Executive Director Katy Ryan. “We’ve asked participants to organize events and have fun, within social distancing guidelines.” 109 teams have registered so far, says Ryan, and they’re encouraged to take pictures and tag @24Foundation on social media during the 24 hours the race would have taken place, July 24-25, from 7pm to 7pm.
And just like years past, participants will still get a goody bag of cool swag, provided by sponsors and the Dunstan Group. The Dunstan Group is in the business of making branded apparel and accessories, but their driving mission is to be an active part of the community by doing good. The company has been providers and brand-setters for 24 HoB for the past decade, because of Dunstan Group Founder and President Scott Dunstan’s experience with his own mother’s cancer battle.
“It’s part of who we want to be,” says Scott Dunstan. “Part of building a business is being a part of the community.”
Among the items participants will find in swag bags include a branded water bottle sponsored by PNC, sparklers for a memorial to cancer victims and survivors, and luminaries to set out at the curb just like the ones on the traditional route. The Dunstan Group is supplying T-shirts, pens, and card-holders for phone cases, and incentive items like hammocks for top fundraisers. The challenges of a virtual event were a chance for the Dunstan Group to show its creativity.
“The virtual element is a whole new world,” says Scott Dunstan, noting that giving participants T-shirts is literally “part of the fabric” of 24 Hours of Booty. But creativity is where the Dunstan Group really shines. “We listen, we understand what’s happening, and we come back with ideas within the budget we have.”
“Scott was such an integral part of growing the 24 brand, I don’t know where we’d be right now without his insight,” says Ryan. “We really owe a great deal to the Dunstan Group for all of that.”
And challenges? “Any time we have a group we want to reach out to, Scott has a solution for that,” says Ryan.
So even in a year when a celebrated event can’t take place in-person, the mission of raising money for cancer support goes on in neighborhoods across the Charlotte area. Every little bit counts, and any way the Dunstan Group can create a win-win proposal, they do it.
“It’s tough thing to do that this year, but everyone understands that,” says Scott Dunstan. “We don’t have as much to give this year, but the goal is to stay here and stay active, so we can give more next year.”