Meet Impact 100 Jersey Coast Member Andrea Verdone Gorsegner
By Janet Mazur Cavano
Riding one’s exercise bike for 24 straight hours is an impressive feat, most would agree. Raising more than $85,000 for charity while doing so catapults this feat to another level entirely. Just ask Impact 100 Jersey Coast member Andrea Verdone Gorsegner, who recently accomplished exactly that when she clipped into her Peloton bike at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday, and pedaled straight through 9:30 a.m. Sunday, stepping off only for brief bathroom breaks.
Spin 4 Kids
The result? Infinite Love’s “Spin 4 Kids” event netted $85,196.74 for Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer, the non-profit (501(c)3) she founded in 2013 when her then two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. Since its inception, Infinite Love has raised $1.4 million, most of it targeted for research and the rest going directly to families with affected children. It is an entirely volunteer-run organization that helps families with “whatever they need.”
If you congratulate the 44-year-old Middletown resident on her marathon achievement, however, she will emphatically point out that “Spin 4 Kids” was a communal effort. Long before she’d even sat on the bike, teams across the country had already pledged nearly $40,000. Additional funding came from corporate sponsors, Peloton community members who joined her for part of the ride, as well as donors watching the Livestream event on Facebook.
“My 24-hour ride did catch a lot of eyes, but in no way was I in this race alone,” she said.
Her family was equally supportive, particularly her two daughters, Natalie, now 11, cancer-free and leading a healthy life, and Hannah, 13.
Not only did they watch their favorite Marvel movies together, but Hannah, whom she describes as a “mother bear,” stayed awake all but 15 minutes of the 24 hours and acted as a trainer. She placed frozen towels around her mother’s neck, created a special playlist to put on only “when I really needed it,” and supplied water, snacks and pain relievers. When Gorsegner’s knees began to ache, Hannah snipped the toes off a pair of compression socks and slid them over her biking shoes and up her legs for extra support.
“She was my lifeline the entire time! I couldn’t have done it without her,” Gorsegner said.
Altogether, she pedaled 213 miles at a pace of between 7 and 14 miles per hour and burned 3,246 calories. She began her journey on a live Peloton ride with 200 other registered supporters sporting the hashtag #Spin4Kids before eventually switching to a ‘scenic ride.’
“All throughout the 24 hours, there would be at least 1 or 2 people riding with me,” she said. “People went way out of their way to ride with me, even in the wee hours.”
When Gorsenger felt weary or discouraged, she reminded herself of the many courageous children her organization helped, children battling a devastating illness and enduring far more pain and hardship than the aches incurred by a marathon ride. This, she said, kept her going.
As for her Impact 100 Jersey Coast involvement, Gorsegner joined in 2020, having initially learned of the group when multiple people suggested that Infinite Love apply for an Impact grant. Thinking that her group wouldn’t qualify, she never did.
But then, at an event at Bell Works last year, she was drawn to a table staffed by Impact volunteers. There, she recalled meeting Deirdre Spiropoulous, Impact’s president and co-founder, who “handed me a folder and said, ‘Take a look.’ “
She did and joined soon thereafter.
“I love women helping other women, using our intelligence and hearts to make a difference. I am drawn by that alone,” Gorsegner said. “I just love being a part of Impact. It’s a great way for me to meet other women in our area – you never know who you might want to partner with.”
Serving on the Focus Area Committee (FAC) for Arts and Culture last summer, Gorsegner was struck by the group’s professionalism and efficiency, even as meetings were held virtually.
“The respect everyone had for everyone else’s opinion was impressive. Everyone had a voice and was heard. That is how I view women working together. It felt like a true democracy”
She points out that this is strikingly at odds with cultural depictions of women pitted against one another, ala “Mean Girls.”
Her advice to anyone considering joining Impact 100 is simple. Think investment.
“It’s an investment in our community. We rise by lifting others. The stronger we can make our community, the better for us all. We are all on one path, on the same circle, and it all comes back to you. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?”
Meanwhile, it took Gorsenger nearly three weeks before she hopped back on her Peloton after Spin4Kids. ”It was hard mentally, though physically it was fine.”
Have or know of a similar story? Share similar inspiring stories of your own efforts or other Impact 100 members here.