THE ZAPATOS BLANCOS team raised $31,041 during the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Seacoast Safari Cycle for Life fundraiser last month. From left, Dave Rogers, Greg Monaghan, Brian Moreira, Guy Lombardo, Chris Kelley, Frank Cruz, Joe Montesano, Joel Steiner, Matt DiVirgilio, Gerry Noumi, Lou Tramontozzi, Bobby Williams, Daniel Hansen and Mark Preston. Missing from photo is Brian Haney. (Courtesy Photo)
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — Wow.
Thomas Road resident Joel Steiner and 14 other cycling enthusiasts raised $31,041 during the virtual Seacoast Safari Cycle for Life fundraiser on behalf of the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation last month. In addition to Steiner, the Zapatos Blancos team is comprised of 12 Lynnfield residents: Matt DiVirgilio, Brian Haney, Daniel Hansen, Chris Kelley, Guy Lombardo, Greg Monaghan, Brian Moreira, Gerry Noumi, Mark Preston, Dave Rogers, Lou Tramontozzi and Bobby Williams. Connecticut resident Joe Montesano and New Jersey resident Frank Cruz also participated in the fundraiser with the Lynnfield-based cyclists.
“Our team was number one nationally for the event, which raised close to $100,000,” said Steiner. “We are currently number two for all of the CF fundraisers nationally. I’m incredibly humbled and appreciative. We are making a difference by undertaking a great cause while having fun and creating lifelong memories.”
CF Foundation Northern New England Executive Director Lisa O’Connor commended the team for holding a successful fundraiser once again.
“We truly cannot thank Zapatos Blancos enough for their incredible dedication, support and generosity over the years,” said O’Connor in an email. “They are all absolutely amazing.”
CF Foundation Senior Development Director Lindsay Gilbert agreed.
“We are so grateful and amazed by the wonderful support of Zapatos Blancos,” said Gilbert.
While the Seacoast Safari CF Foundation decided to hold a virtual fundraiser for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Steiner said the Zapatos Blancos decided to undertake their fundraiser along the Maine Seacoast once again.
“Given the sensitivity to individuals with CF, the foundation decided to hold the event virtually,” said Steiner. “However, our group treated it with business as usual with our team taking off from Wells, Maine and taking on two routes that Mark and Elisa Preston created for us to choose. The routes were 68 miles and 100 miles.”
Steiner said the Zapatos Blancos have participated in eight straight Seacoast Safari Cycle for Life bike-a-thons.
“Cystic fibrosis is a cause that we have really rallied behind,” said Steiner. “Our team has really tried to make a big impact with donations going towards research to make CF change from cystic fibrosis to cure found. When I was at Dartmouth Hitchcock for work, one of the staff members in the CF clinic, Sharon Littlefield, challenged us to get involved. Each year, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to have our health and how minor mutations in someone’s DNA can make such a negative impact on a person’s quality of life and, in turn, their family. Hopefully, we can help extend lives for people with CF and donations make that happen.”
Steiner said participating in the Seacoast Safari Cycle for Life fundraiser is incredibly fulfilling and rewarding for both him and the entire Zapatos Blancos team. He also enjoyed watching his and the other team members’ children get involved with this year’s fundraiser.
“The most rewarding aspect is teaching our children that you can do good for others while having fun,” said Steiner. “We like to make it a family event. Since we have been doing it eight years, many of our children have grown up with this being a central part of their summer. This year, the kids created a little booth at the hotel, sold bracelets and raised close to $300 for the foundation. It will be fun to see who will be the first rider from the kid’s group.”
Steiner said the Zapatos Blancos are incredibly appreciative of the support they received from their families. He thanked his wife, Dana, as well as the rest of the Zapatos Blancos team’s wives for their support: Elizabeth Person Williams, Meghan Tramontozzi, Katelyn Rogers, Elisa Preston, Katie Fallon Noumi, Karen Moreira, Anna Montesano, Ashley Monaghan, Tanya Lombardo, Sarah Kelley, Kimberlee Kossover Hansen, Nicole DeFlumere DiVirgilio and Rebecca Levy-Cruz.
“Our families are incredibly supportive and help make sure we have the time to train,” said Steiner. “I would like to thank my wife Dana for everything. I couldn’t do it without her. Our team has been incredibly dedicated and their dedication is humbling. Our reach goes beyond New England and all the way to New Jersey with tremendous support. There’s no way we could be the number one fundraising team for the event and almost all events nationally without the support from friends and family. Lynnfield has truly come together as a community and the support has been humbling.”
While Steiner and the rest of the team are looking forward to next year’s Seacoast Safari Cycle for Life fundraiser, he said the Zapatos Blancos have already begun thinking about their 10th ride that will take place in 2023.
“Our 10th ride is approaching fast,” said Steiner. “We need to think of something fun and challenging to make a big splash.”