April 14th, 2015
Jason will be riding from Oceanside, California, to Annapolis, Maryland, to participate in the Race Across American (RAAM) cycling competition to raise funds for RedRover and its lifesaving animal programs. Though a seasoned cyclist, Jason will compete in the ride of his life to support a cause so close to his heart.
In April 2007, Jason lost his home in a devastating fire. His family was not at home while his dogs were still inside. Two dogs were rescued by firefighters who administered oxygen and transported them to the hospital; one dog sadly perished in the fire. Both survivors suffered from smoke inhalation and heat-related injuries; their boxer-Rottweiler mix, Claire, spent several weeks in intensive care. Jason knew his family couldn’t afford the expensive veterinary costs, so he reached out to RedRover for help.
“We knew how much Jason’s pets meant to him,” said Esperanza Zuniga, RedRover Relief Program Manager. “Jason considered them part of the family, and when we heard about Claire’s condition, we knew we had to help right away.”
A RedRover Relief grant provided critical financial support for Claire’s treatment when the Burgess family needed it the most. Though it was a long and difficult recovery, Claire pulled through to live a healthy and full life with her family.
Jason was inspired by the compassion and support RedRover gave to his family, and now, he’s preparing to give back.
On June 16, 2015, Jason will begin his journey across the United States – traversing more than 3,000 miles, climbing more than 100,000 feet and crossing 12 states to reach the East Coast from California in 12 short days. The grueling ride is 50 percent longer than the Tour de France, and the riders in the RAAM race take no rest days. Jason is participating as a solo rider, which means he will ride across the country without teammates or a “pack” of other riders. His commitment to this formidable journey shows how much he cares about giving back to RedRover and the animals.
When asked about his motivation for such a physical feat, Jason said, “My family is my motivation. Claire was my best friend and her will to live has been an inspiration to me. I can’t think of a better way to honor her than to raise awareness for RedRover’s mission and how it helped my family.”