Cancer wasn't about to slow Sandy Hanshaw's roll. In 2013, Hanshaw was a fairly new restaurateur, having opened The Wine Pub in Point Loma a couple of years prior. Already consumed with the long hours and attendant stresses of entrepreneurship, she found herself confronted with a stage-three breast-cancer diagnosis.
"I underwent all the treatments, chemo and everything," Hanshaw tells me when we meet at the Coffee Hub, a second restaurant she's opened adjacent to the existing space. "This fundraiser came out of that time."
The event she's speaking of is Bike for Boobs, which last weekend celebrated its fifth anniversary. Hanshaw's husband Andy, a local cycling advocate, organized the first ride around Shelter Island while she was still receiving her final rounds of cancer treatment.
"He wanted to do something good — you kind of feel helpless when someone close to you is going through something like this," she continued.
"We're fundraising for a group called Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, which advocates and educates people on the controllable things in our environment that we put on and around our bodies — detergents and things that can impact cancer.
"Take women's cosmetics," she offers by way of example. "In Europe there's a list of over 1500 things that can't go into products there. Here, the list is 31 items long, and there are a lot of unregulated, bad chemicals women are exposed to."
On October 15th, about 75 people gathered outside the restaurant, most sporting some sort of pink attire. Lindsay Tiers was busy working the registration table.
"I was diagnosed in July of 2015, when I was 25," Tiers said of her bout with breast cancer. "It completely changed my life — I was working a corporate HR job, but fighting my illness inspired me to quit and pursue something I love."
Tiers operates Sweet Diygs. The Pacific Beach studio specializes in crafting do-it-yourself succulent gardens, Tiers met Hanshaw while hosting an event at the restaurant's back patio and got involved with Bike for Boobs after the women shared their cancer experiences.
Says Hanshaw, “It's hard to fundraise as an individual, so it's nice to have a platform, this business that I love, and be able to put it to work for a cause. I feel like we get a lot bigger reach this way. We get a little misty when we see how many bikes are out there following us around Shelter Island."
After raising about $23,000 over the past four years, Hanshaw says the 2017 ride was the highest-grossing to date, clearing over $7500.