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Alumnus Honors Mother, Fights Breast Cancer with Memorial Bike Ride

Posted on July 31, 2017 in: Alumni, Feature Stories, Service, Spotlight

In last year’s event, cyclists rode from Seattle to Leavenworth. Photo courtesy David Sheppard.

SEATTLE – Gonzaga University 2013 alumni Doug Chesney and David Sheppard are raising money to fight breast cancer in the third annual Denise M. Chesney Memorial Bike Ride, a 50-mile loop around Lake Washington on Saturday, Aug. 12.

The event, which begins at Gas Works Park in Seattle, benefits the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The effort is personal for Chesney who lost his 42-year-old mother Denise to breast cancer in 2007. In 2015, Chesney and Sheppard created the event to honor her memory. The inaugural ride spanned from Seattle to Spokane and raised more than $5,000. In last year’s event, cyclists rode from Seattle to Leavenworth and raised more than $8,000. This year’s fundraising goal is $15,000.

“David and I live in Japan and Taiwan respectively. Our time abroad has heightened our awareness of how much we value our families and friends – and how much more we can do to give back,” Chesney notes. “This ride is an opportunity to show our love for those who have been affected by breast cancer and those who have supported us.”

Denise Chesney, a basketball star at Azusa Pacific University, graduated from APU in 1986 and was inducted into its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. After graduation, she worked as a teacher and coach; she loved travel and the outdoors.

To learn more about this event, visit

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