Hampton man to bike for 24 hours to benefit young cancer survivors
He's tackled the Tough Mudder, lifted one million pounds, and competed on America's Ninja Warrior. Next, Hampton resident Matt Scoletti will bike for 24 hours straight in Australia to raise money for local cancer victims and survivors.
The fitness fiend, who always wants to take it to the next level, is serious about Revolve24, an “endurance cycling challenge” Jan. 13-14 at The Bend Motorsport Park in Australia, where he'll race for a whole day to raise money for the Young Adult Cancer Society. The nonprofit support group serving cancer survivors in Western Pennsylvania, is run by his wife, Stephanie, who is YACS director of support services and a 12-year leukemia survivor.
“It's clearly near and dear to my heart. To see these young adults battle each and every day … the least I can do is fight for 24 hours because they're battling every day of their lives,” said Matt, 34.
YACS, which operates under the Cancer Caring Center in Pittsburgh, is a support group geared toward ages 18-39 that offers emotional support, social activities and financial assistance, said Stephanie.
While working at the Cancer Caring Center, Stephanie was instrumental in starting this group as she discovered younger cancer survivors were challenged with fitting back into life with the rest of their peers, whether it was school, getting jobs or starting families.
“I just saw a lack of support here,” said Stephanie.
To raise money for the group, Matt is using his race with Revolve24 to raise money for YACS with a goal of $50,000 and as of last week has reached more than $28,000, according to Crowdrise.com/yacs.
Matt said any donation is greatly appreciated, but for all those who donate more than $50, they can put a name of someone battling cancer on his racing shirt.
Though he's not a professional biker, he's determined to complete 200 to 250 miles within the 24 hours. While there may be other relay teams breaking up the timeframe, he's doing it all on his own, with Stephanie there to cheer him on, something she's used to doing.
This includes American Ninja Warrior in 2015, which Matt described as extremely difficult. Though he didn't finish the feat, he was featured on television probably due to his die-hard Pittsburgh enthusiasm, he said. And Stephanie also cheered Matt on when he set a world record for being the quickest to lift one million pounds in the gym.
The Murrysville native also got second place and $3,000 when he was 29 for a video of him hitting himself with an exercise resistance band on “America's Funniest Home Video.”
The couple have both competed in the extreme race Tough Mudder, including one in Las Vegas a few years ago, where he decided to propose to Stephanie and then went on to raise approximately $12,000 for YACS.
Matt, who has a Facebook page under Matt Scoletti Livin The DREAM, said he wasn't always this serious about healthy living, until his late 20s. He currently works in the business world and is a health coach.
“He's the most positive, energetic, outgoing human being I know. All he wants to do is give back and help others,” said Stephanie, 32.
Most recently he joined YACS group in their recent Wig Out fundraiser in October at the Hard Rock Cafe, where everyone wore a Halloween wig. They also had an early Thanksgiving dinner last week for the group.
She said fundraising is important so they can provide support for those battling cancer. For example, sometimes cancer treatments can keep a patient or even a spouse or caregiver away from work. For those who may also have children, these fundraisers help people pay their bills.
“They're so blown away and thankful,” said Stephanie, about the recipients.
The easiest way to donate is by visiting Matt's Crowdrise/yacs. Or mail a check to the Cancer Caring Center. Checks should be made payable to Cancer Caring Center with YACS Revolve24 in the memo.
Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.