19 Aug PRO-CYCLIST LISA CHRISTIANSEN PARTICIPATES IN THE GREAT CYCLE CHALLENGE AND BECOMES INSPIRED BY 6 YEAR OLD AJ WAYLAND FROM DIBBLE, OKLAHOMA!
Lisa Christiansen is not your average cyclist and not your average Native American. Christiansen comes from a long lineage of super athletes, a NASA mathematician/engineer, the last monolingual Cherokee, and the Cherokee Scholar who created the Cherokee syllabary.
The fight against childhood cancer and finding a cure was a vision of the last monolingual Cherokee Mack Vann and his daughter Lisa Christiansen.
Christiansen is the 5th generation great granddaughter of Sequoyah the Cherokee who created the Cherokee syllabary from her mother, Mary Ann Groundhog’s side.
Lisa Christiansen is an extraordinary athlete, a gifted speaker, and seems to have inherited these traits from her ancestors as Christiansen is cited in numerous law reviews.
One unique trait is Lisa’s passion to give to others and this is where 6 year old AJ Wayland from Dibble, Oklahoma comes in; AJ has T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, while watching a facebook live Sunday School program of her friend Wendy Richards Hill from Chickasha, Oklahoma Christiansen saw a picture of AJ Wayland and asked Wendy if she had permission to include his picture on the Times Square Billboard. Wendy reached out to her friend Rebecca-Ann (Becca) Wayland and her husband Brian Wayland for permission and introduced Lisa and Rebecca. On Friday August 14, 2020 Christiansen received a text saying they are planning their trip to see the Times Square Great Cycle Challenge billboard in person, on Monday August 17, the Wayland family were will on their way.
We contacted Christiansen to interview her and she replied “this is all about AJ” so we interviewed the Wayland family.
So how do you know Lisa Christiansen?
“Lisa and I met through our mutual friend Wendy Hill. She is the Children’s Leader at our church and was doing VBS through FB live, so AJ could participate. AJ couldn’t go to VBS in person because of his compromised immune system.”
How does your son AJ feel about being on in Times Square?
I’m not sure if he completely understands, but he was really excited when he was telling his best friend about it earlier today via facetime.
I am certain readers and viewers want to know why are you making such a long journey from such a small city to the BIG Apple?
We decided to make the trip to NYC because this is a once in a lifetime experience. We think it is so special that AJ is getting recognized during his fight with cancer. This is also our first opportunity to break away from the isolation in which we have been living since AJ started chemotherapy in March. This fell in a perfect window between chemotherapy treatments, and his immune system finally climbed back into the “normal” threshold, allowing us an opportunity for controlled, limited exposure. God orchestrated all of the pieces to fall into place in order for us to have this opportunity to experience some normalcy. Having a child in cancer treatment is such an emotional rollercoaster, you learn to take advantage of the fleeting moments of calm before the next storm.
How old is your son AJ?
AJ is 6 years old.
How did such a young man become so brave and strong?
AJ was diagnosed with t-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma on March 9th, 2020. He has been such a trooper during these past 5 months having to do and learn things that no 6 year old should. We used to think of bravery as something that comes to us in extraordinary situations few and far between, but we see AJ’s bravery in the small, everyday choices he has to make. From taking multiple pills at once (he was so proud when he accomplished this) to having his port accessed on treatment days. AJ has come so far in such a short time. Of course there are good days and bad days, days that he is scared or tired and needs more encouragement from his friends and family. These are the times we are so grateful for technology, and how it allows us to have a window through which he can interact with others. AJ is such an encouragement to our family, friends, and those in the community that know his story. His smile and laugh are infectious with the joy they contain. God has blessed him with such a special spirit of life, love, and generosity. He blesses the nursing staff with his abundant love, writing heart messages to them and sitting with them at the nurses station. God has provided so much for AJ and our family during this time, and we give Him the glory for pouring out His love on us, so that, in turn, we can pour into others that we meet on this journey.
What does it mean to you as parents to see AJ on the Times Square digital billboard?
I don’t really think I can describe what it means. We are so glad to be part of this experience to shine a light not only on the rarity of children’s cancer but also how more resources are needed to help these children fighting for their lives. We are not just representing our family but all the families engaged in this same battle.
We asked Lisa Christiansen How many miles she will ride during month of September in support of Children’s Cancer Research Fund as a GCC Champion, with a matter of fact statement she said with the enthusiasm of a 6 year old “600 miles of course” Christiansen was hand chosen as only one of 774 riders out of a possible 102,997 people who have taken part in Great Cycle Challenge in the past 6 years.
In an Interview with the Smithsonian | National Museum of the American Indian we asked why they donated to Lisa Christiansen’s participation in the Great Cycle Challenge Vicki stated with pride ““Dr. Christiansen, is doing such great works honoring her tribe and is an example, a role model, to children, adults, and her father. We donated honoring Lisa recognizing her as a Living National Treasure, as the 5th generation great-granddaughter of Sequoyah and continuing keeping culture and her native tongue alive!” To their knowledge Christiansen is the only Cherokee Indian, a citizen of the Keetoowah Nation, participating in the Great Cycle Challenge as a role model to children, women, and all Native Americans to take control of their legacy.
LAWTON, – March 1, 2020 – Pro-Cyclist with USA Cycling, Lisa Christiansen, a resident of Lawton, Oklahoma is planning to ride 600 miles and raise $6,000 during the month of September for Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF) in support of its 5th annual Great Cycle Challenge USA.
Christiansen is sponsored by Rudy Project and they have certainly supported her efforts in the fight against children’s cancer by providing giveaways for a drawing that will given while supplies last. Christiansen will be giving away a Rudy Project Boost Helmet. Everyone will receive a discount code to purchase Rudy Project gear at a steep discount. All for the fight against cancer.
Founded in 2015, Great Cycle Challenge USA has grown to become one of the biggest cycling events in the country. In just four years, over 153,000 riders from 50 states have ridden 12 million miles, raising more than $16 million for research and the development of better treatments and cures for childhood cancer. This year, CCRF hopes more than 50,000 riders will help it raise $8.2 million.
“Over 15,000 American children are diagnosed with cancer every year and, sadly, 38 children die every week,” said John Hallberg, Chief Executive Officer at Children’s Cancer Research Fund. “Thanks to riders like Lisa, we’re fueling groundbreaking research to save lives and give kids the brighter future they deserve.”
To learn more about Lisa’s Great Cycle Challenge USA and to make a donation, please visit greatcyclechallenge.com/Riders/LisaChristiansen
To participate in Great Cycle Challenge USA, visit GreatCycleChallenge.com
About Great Cycle Challenge USA: Great Cycle Challenge USA encourages cyclists across the United States to challenge themselves and set their own personal riding goal throughout June to fight kids’ cancer. Riders fundraise to save lives and give kids the brighter future they deserve.
Imagine someone you love with cancer and help me help these kids by donating now Please!
“To honor our friend, I am again riding for ‘Nat’ to show her mom Katy Hawley and her family that her legacy will continue and she will never be forgotten! I am also riding for AJ Wayland of Dibble, Oklahoma who has T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma and has traveled to NYC to see his tribute photo on Times Square!” Christiansen said.
EVERY CHILD MATTERS: Please donate any amount on Dr. Lisa Christiansen’s Great Cycle Challenge page – a 501(c)(3) – or on Facebook to the Great Cycle Challenge USA who has teamed up with the Children’s Cancer Research Fund by donating here:↓
or clicking the link below: ↓
For more information, visit greatcyclechallenge.com.
About Children’s Cancer Research Fund: Children’s Cancer Research Fund invests in groundbreaking research that is leading to better treatments and cures for children with cancer. CCRF also funds vital family support services and advocates for childhood cancer education and awareness. Since 1981, CCRF donors have helped fund research that has revolutionized the way childhood cancer is treated worldwide.
MINNEAPOLIS — 70,000 cyclists are gearing up this June to hit the streets and bike trails across America to support the fifth annual Great Cycle Challenge USA to fight kids’ cancer. With a goal of raising $8 million, the month-long event benefits Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Cyclists of all ages and abilities can now register at GreatCycleChallenge.com.
You might remember 2018 where Patrick Dempsey and Lisa Christiansen were on Times Square Billboard in the Great Cycle Challenge. Both Christiansen and Dempsey are avid cyclist’s and enthusiastic about supporting children fighting cancer. Dempsey and Christiansen are both with USA Cycling.
Proceeds from Great Cycle Challenge USA have helped jumpstart and advance research at some of the nation’s top childhood cancer research centers, including: Baylor College of Medicine; Children’s Hospital of Atlanta – Egleston; Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Johns Hopkins University; Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota; and others.
Another Supporter of the Great Cycle Challenge is VeloGuide! WOULDN’T IT BE COOL TO RIDE WITH A PRO? VeloGuide makes it easy! Browse through our growing list of professional and Olympic athletes and retired pros — like VeloGuide co-founder George Hincapie — and book a ride with your favorite VeloGuide Pro today!
If you would like to ride with Lisa Christiansen You can book a tour through Veloguide where you can ride with the pros.
Lisa Christiansen will be hosting a drawing for a minimum $50. Donation YES, you read that right EVERY person donating a minimum of $50. WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE ENTERED TO WIN a FREE Rudy Project BOOST HELMET!
Christiansen Gran Fondo
Benefitting The Great Cycle Challenge
Ride for the fight against cancer, ALL PROFITS go to the CHILDREN’S CANCER RESEARCH FUND as we ride the GREAT CYCLE CHALLENGE!
About this Event
I learned something new, only 4% of federal government cancer research funding goes to study pediatric cancer, we need to do all we can. I need your help to give these families hope and help find a cure.
Begin this journey with friends you have never met, familiar faces, new family members, and make a difference in the lives of children fighting for their lives.
All riders receive a T-Shirt in every Packet Pickup filled with discounts and several unique gifts. You also have the ability to have the paparazzi experience on the “Red Carpet”. Meet and Greet with photo On the red carpet.
Step and repeat “RED CARPET” brought to you by RUDY PROJECT, CHRIS CARMICHAEL, VIKTRE SOCIAL, LISA CHRISTIANSEN COMPANIES, LE TOUR DE’ FRANCE, and MORE!
VIP Members will receive everything included in the Elite Piccolo, Medio, and Granfondo selections (T-Shirt along with outstanding discounts and several unique gifts. You also have the ability to have the paparazzi experience on the “Red Carpet”. Meet and Greet with photo On the red carpet), VIP members will also receive premier parking, extra items in their packet. You will also be at the front of the start line to lead with Dignitaries.
RACE DAY GIVEAWAY! ROAD ID LOVES GIVING STUFF AWAY AS MUCH AS WE DO!
We know you love winning. So… why not join forces? New WINNERS awarded EVERY MONTH and entry is a snap.
• $1,000 GRAND PRIZE
• $500 RUNNER UP
• EVERYONE RECEIVES A $5 ROAD ID COUPON
Details on your ROAD ID bib tag!
After a courageous 3-year-long battle with osteosarcoma Nat passed away last year in April. June 2018 I learned my Dad had prostate cancer at 88 years young, He passed April 22, 2019. Cancer is the biggest killer of children from disease in the United States. Over 15,700 children are diagnosed every year, sadly, 38 children die of cancer every week.
Ride the Christiansen Gran Fondo knowing you are riding for a cause to help find a cure, to provide hope for families, and help these children by helping me raise funds to help these kids and support Children’s Cancer Research Fund to allow them to continue their work to develop lifesaving treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer.
By participating you are making a donation, YOU give these kids the opportunity to LIVE.
Your support changes lives.
Note from Lisa Christiansen “What an absolutely beautiful experience it is to ride in the #GreatCycleChallenge the #GCCUSA, to do the one thing that you love so passionately that it breathes life into every aspect of your very existence.
What, you ask does this bring to me. I have always enjoyed riding in the Great Cycle Challenge USA for the children fighting for their lives through the generosity of the Children’s Cancer Research Fund.
Somehow this year became so different in so many ways, as we all know COVID-19 has taken over the very way we live our day-to-day lives but the one thing that it cannot take away is your freedom to ride your bicycle outside in the fresh air, it cannot take away your passion to live life fully and to love completely.
This year is so different for me because every year I choose to ride for Nathalia Hawley, this year is no different, Nat passed away last year around the same time that my daddy passed away.
This year I knew that I would still ride for her again because I want for her to be remembered for the inspiring, motivating, beautiful child of God that she is and forever will be and then one fine Sunday in the not so distant past maybe two or three Sundays ago I was watching my beautiful sweet friend and sister in Christ Wendy Richards Hill on her Sunday school program here on Facebook, I absolutely love it because it brings me back to my childhood and I get just as excited as the other little children and then I saw AJ and learned that AJ has some big scary word called T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, really, I have no idea what that is but it doesn’t sound good. He is such a brave young man, and his mommy Rebecca-Anne is so sweet and kind, she has got to be one of the toughest women I have ever come across because I can’t imagine what it must be like to have to be so brave for such a sweet little baby.
I decided AJ had to be recognized on the Times Square, New York City billboard, And anyone that knows me knows when I make a decision it’s as good as done because my daddy taught me that to make a decision is to decide to make it happen, to cut off obstacles, to sever all ties with roadblocks because an obstacle is what you see when you take your eye off of the goal. So, I promptly went in hoping that I didn’t miss the cut off time to change my picture of who I’m riding for and I was able to have a picture merged with my dad and AJ, I am so very grateful to everyone at the Great Cycle Challenge for making this happen and thank you so much because I absolutely love and I’m very much looking forward to seeing our photos on Times Square New York City Wednesday ALL DAY!!!
Our pictures will be shown on the billboard (within 60 seconds) of the time outlined below:
6:56:56 PM Eastern Time (which is 5:56:56 PM Central Time and 3:56:56 PM Pacific Time).
Here’s a sneak peek of my image riding to raise funds to fight kids cancer while #HonoringOurAncestors riding from New Echota, Ga. to the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma / Tahlequah, Oklahoma:
A tribute picture honoring my Daddy #TheLastMonolingualCherokee Mack Vann and sweet brave AJ will be displayed at 12:30:40 PM Eastern Time (which is 11:30:40 AM Central Time and 9:30:40 AM Pacific Time).
Here’s a sneak peek of our tribute pic:
IMPORTANT: It’s a good idea to jump online a few minutes before the times above, just to make sure you catch us. 😉
And there are 2 ways you can watch the billboard online via livestream:
View the livestream on our website here: https://greatcyclechallenge.com/Pages/tribute-day (the page will be updated on Wednesday morning).
View the livestream on the GCC Facebook page.
Note: The live stream will be running for the entire 8 hours of Tribute Day and will start at 11 a.m. (EDT).
I will be adding some comments under the video throughout the day to encourage riders around the country to celebrate this special day with us.
Rebecca, AJ, and myself will be doing a live stream on Facebook to celebrate AJ‘s journey to New York City, yes you heard me right, AJ left today for New York City to see his picture on Times Square”