Fireflies West launched their seventh annual fundraising coastal ride, cycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
The Fireflies have been raising money for various charities since 2001. The riders are mostly amateurs from the CGI and film world. They ostensibly formed in recognition of friends and family who were battling cancer. They re-commit annually to tackling some of the Tour de France’s more arduous and gruelling climbs, riding from Geneva to Cannes (see Alastair’s piece on Les Routes des Grandes Alpes to get the idea) and donating all proceeds to Hammersmith Hospital.
The first time I ever heard tell of the name ‘Fireflies’, was in connection with my friend, Benny Hampshire who happened to work at long time supporters and CGI company, The Mill, and whilst I had obviously heard of the other long time supporter and film-maker Ridley Scott, it wasn’t until my wife and I attended a Fireflies’ ‘send off’ party in Golden Square that I became aware of the Fireflies and their combined charitable undertakings. I was struck by the riders’ obvious enthusiasm; and by what seemed the tangible presence of great energy and real power for good in that square that day.
When Benny departed the UK to head-up The Mill’s US operation in Los Angeles, he also took the Fireflies and with co-founder Bryan Farhy re-branded them as the Fireflies West. Now for the seventh year in a row they have ran a ‘companion’ event to their British counterparts, spinning their wheels in determination to raise funds to benefit Leukemia research. Also, in a nice touch of synergy, The City of Hope Hospital (FFW’s chosen recipient) has become a ‘sister’ of sorts to the Hammersmith Hospital here in London.
While the more established Fireflies have raised over 2 million dollars since 2001 to benefit the Leuka Charity which raises funds for Hammersmith Hospital, the Fireflies West has to date raised $350,000 for The City of Hope Cancer Research Hospital in LA over the last four years. Their motto is FOR THOSE WHO SUFFER WE RIDE. Good luck to them, I say!
In September 2014, Fireflies West launched their seventh annual coastal ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles in aid of City of Hope, a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses in Southern California.
Enjoying breathtaking views of the California coast, the Fireflies West covered the 550-mile ride in six days.
In 2013, RSA Films director Shih-Ting Hung documented the group’s trek in a short film that gets to the heart of the event: the people, their stories, the camaraderie and exhilaration experienced from six days of uphill challenges and breathtaking views of coastline, and the motivation that pushes them through every last mile.
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