DIXON – The North Carolina terrain will be far more hilly and treacherous than the trails in the Dixon Park District.
But for Ben Nagy, the thought of biking across the Tar Heel State is less daunting when it’s for a worthy cause.
Last year, Nagy saw his older brother, Jacob, take part in the Tour DaVita in Oregon state. He said he knew he had to get on board for this year’s 250-mile ride in North Carolina.
Tour DaVita is an annual ride held in different parts of the country each year to raise awareness of kidney disease, and support prevention and treatment programs. Last year’s ride raised more than a million dollars.
From Sept. 27 to 29, the Nagy brothers will ride a combined 500 miles. Before that, the Dixon natives will raise $1,000 apiece for DaVita Kidney Centers. All proceeds will go toward chronic kidney disease research.
“My brother told me about his experience last year, and I knew I had to be a part of it this year,” Nagy said. “I’m looking forward to giving back to patients in the community and across the country through my fundraising efforts.”
Ben, a park district board member, has worked at the local DaVita branches in Sterling and Dixon the past 4 years while Jacob has worked in the southwest Chicago suburbs.
Earlier this month, Ben started training on local trails. But his brother, he said, has outpaced him.
“[Jacob] is the cyclist,” Nagy said. “He rides 100-plus miles a week, usually.”
More rewarding than the workout will be the impact the fundraiser will have. Last year’s tour helped bring treatment to 250 patients in seven countries through Davita’s Bridge of Life program.
Ben sees patients with kidney disease every day, and makes lasting connections with them, he said. His work involves educating and directing people to proper treatments and healthier lifestyles.
“You’re either passionate about it or you’re not, and if you’re not, you usually don’t stay in this field,” he said. “We have a lot of patient-to-staff connections. They become part of your family, really. You get close with them, and you feel for them.”
Joining the Nagy brothers will be 500 other cyclists, each with the same $1,000 goal. Many of the riders are patients and doctors. The $1,000 goal is a minimum for riders. Ben is hoping to exceed that goal.
“Just seeing a group of  people all passionate about this, it makes it worthwhile,” he said.
WANT TO HELP?
Go to davitavillagetrust.org to learn more about the Bridge of Life program.