Cordell & Cordell Lead Litigator William Halaz participated in Pedal the Cause on behalf of Cordell Planning Partners on September 30 at the Chesterfield Amphitheater in St. Louis. Pedal the Cause is a cycling challenge that gives its participants the ability to ride for cancer research. In fact, 100 percent of the public donations that are raised through sponsorship and contributions are used to fund cancer research.
For Mr. Halaz, this was another opportunity to marry his love of cycling with the opportunity to help fight cancer. He previously participated in Pedal the Cause in 2013, but his love of being on a bicycle dates back to his childhood.
“My family has a tradition of giving each child a 10-speed bike for their 10th birthday, but mine was so big I had to mount it by standing on the curb with my bike in the street,” he said. “That bike symbolized, for me, growing up, and being given freedom and responsibility.”
He continued to ride but began getting into competitive contests when he started to enter triathlons and century rides, rides of approximately 100 miles.
This led him to enter Pedal the Cause, where he was able to express his own desire to help. Mr. Halaz was able to ride for the research needed to find a cure for a disease that has touched his life.
“My grandfather lost his battle with soft tissue sarcoma when I was one month old,” Mr. Halaz said. “When I first participated in this event 5 years ago, I made a list of all of the people in my life, and the lives of those who are supporting my ride, starting with my grandfather, who have received a cancer diagnosis and taped their names to my bike, so I could see the names as I rode.”
This experience was an eye-opening moment for Mr. Halaz. Not only was he riding for those who received a diagnosis, but for those that unfortunately will in the future.
“Realizing the number of people who fought and many who were still fighting, a cancer diagnosis was both saddening and motivating,” he said. “This wasn’t just another 100 miles to be logged on my bike; it had a purpose. Unfortunately, this list grows every year, and some of the people who were fighting their diagnosis 5 years ago have since lost their battle. This past year, two of my aunts who fought their diagnoses for a combined 25 and a half years passed away within a week of each other. Losing them was a sobering and motivating reminder that although we’ve come so far in early cancer detection and treatment, we still have a long way to go to reach a cancer-free world.”
During this year’s race, Mr. Halaz experienced a tightening hamstring around Mile 40, shortly before a big hill. He hooked up with another rider, and they paced one another through the rest of the route.
Mr. Halaz was getting a little down about the pace he was at when the other rider reminded him that it is a charity race. He then looked at the names on his bike again and was reminded that the pace on the bike is not what matters. What matters is the part that cancer plays in all of our lives and raising money to help change that.
He was impressed to see all of the staff, vendors, and community coming out to cheer him and the other riders. Mr. Halaz finished with a total time around 7.5 hours and has plans to ride again next year.
Mr. Halaz expressed his gratitude to Cordell Planning Partners and appreciates all that they have done to help in his ride for cancer research.
“Riding for Cordell Planning Partners gives me a great amount of encouragement, as well as pride,” he said. “In the context of this even, having the firm sponsor my ride has affirmed to me that there is a commitment, a level of support, for this cause that the firm is willing to put their name behind. It also gives me a great sense of pride to be able to showcase the firm’s commitment to all of the other riders and spectators of this event.”