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Family is plenty motivated

Annual Sanford Health Great American Bike Race brings friends and families out in full force
Mitchell and Donalda Hintz have benefited greatly from GABR funds
Mitchell Hintz, left, helped pull together three teams of 10 riders each for this year's Great American Bike Race (GABR). The teams collectively raised more than $23,000. Mitchell, his mother, Donalda Hintz, right, and the entire family have benefited greatly from the GABR funds.
  Each April, the Hintz and Mosbrucker clans from across western North Dakota converge in Bismarck for a family reunion.

The venue isn’t a city park for a picnic or barbecue, though, and the competition between family members is a little more strenuous than a friendly three-legged race or softball game.

No, the families come to the capital city with a definite purpose. For six years, Donalda Hintz of Dickinson has organized riders for the Sanford Health Great American Bike Race (GABR), and aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews pedal to raise money to help people with cerebral palsy and related disabilities.

“I like just getting everyone together,” said 18-year-old Mitchell Hintz, Donalda’s son.

He’s the main reason they do. Mitchell has cerebral palsy, and funds raised through GABR have helped his family immensely over the years. What started as one team of 10 participants named Mitch’s Mighty Dickinson Riders ballooned to three teams of family and friends from Dickinson, Mott and Bismarck for the 2010 event, which took place Saturday, April 10, at Century High School.

Interest in the teams has grown so much that several of the Mighty Riders split their turns riding in the annual
fundraiser, so more people could participate. Donalda was merely a spectator and spent her time during this year’s event waving a fan to cool off those pedaling because the families’ three teams were full.

“They know it’s a great cause,” Donalda said. “They’ve seen it on TV. Each year we get more and more that want to come. We could’ve had eight or 10 teams, I bet.”

Mitch’s Mighty Riders are not only strong in terms of manpower. They are also outstanding fundraisers, routinely placing among GABR’s top fundraising teams. In 2009, Mitch’s teams raised nearly $30,000. In 2010, they raised more than $23,000.

Rivalries carry over to the racing, as team members will sometimes make friendly wagers about who can pedal the greatest distance. There’s always a lot of gentle ribbing going back and forth between the riders.

“It’s contagious. You feel it when you start walking in,” said Bob Mosbrucker, Donalda’s brother who lives in Bismarck. “When you look around in the gymnasium, there’s just an energy to it.”

As if that electric atmosphere wasn’t enough to make it easy for all the family
  Dr. Kevin Murphy
Murphy, MD

Pediatric rehabilitation
members to return year after year, the cause has added meaning for all of the Mighty Riders.

“It touches home with me with my nephew Mitchell,” Mosbrucker said. “I see the benefits personally when I visit Mitch. I see the adaptive equipment the Great American Bike Race has helped purchase to make their lives easier.”

Funds from GABR have helped the Hintzes buy a manual wheelchair, a bath chair and an adaptable toilet for Mitchell to use. The biggest benefit came two years ago when GABR helped the family install an electronic wheelchair lift in its van.

“I can go wherever I want now,” Mitchell said.

The assistance from GABR has been priceless to the Hintzes.

“It means a lot,” Donalda said. “Raising a child with a disability, you have a lot of expenses insurance doesn’t cover.”

In its history, GABR has raised more than $1.2 million and has given away more than 600 grants to families who have children with disabilities.

“GABR funding makes it possible for families to obtain everyday essential items and help pay for portions of therapy services insurance will not cover,” said Dr. Kevin Murphy, a pediatric rehabilitation specialist at Sanford Health.

The 2010 event raised more than $220,000, a record amount.

“The big thing about GABR—and what keeps me coming back year after year—is that all the money stays local,” Mosbrucker said. “I know where it goes, and I see it. That’s huge.”

Click here for more information about Sanford Health's Great American Stationary Bike Race (GABR).


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