In this year’s holiday rush, Specialized-lululemon rider Amber Neben organized gifts like so many of us. However, the gifts Neben delivered this week were for dozens at-risk kids—and those gifts, were one of the best of all—bikes.
This year Neben’s Dare To Be Project partnered with The Illumination Foundation, an Orange County non-profit that works with the homeless to orchestrate the third year Neben’s the Dare To Be Project offered a gift of bikes for kids going through tough times.
Neben knows about tough times herself. As a child, she suffered a case of spinal meningitis that put her into a coma for three days and severely threatened her health. She went on to race in the Olympics and win a World Time Trial title, among other accomplishments.
Neben presents one of the new Specialized bikes
Next year she will continue to live the dream racing for Team Specialized-lululemon. “The bike is really a tool to be able to tell my story to them,” said Neben, who encourages kids to keep fighting for their dreams despite the hardships they face. “Hopefully they can use it to have fun, and take care of themselves and their own health. For older kids, they can use it to get to school or work.”
Neben and her volunteer crew from the Dare To Be Project delivered more than 70 Specialized bikes in Costa Mesa and Anaheim Monday. Many of the parents were emotional about the gifts, Neben said. “One mother of three was overjoyed just knowing that she had something to give her kids on Christmas,” she said.
The Illumination Foundation has halfway homes for families committed to living drug- and alcohol-free as they build a foundation for the future, and these are the families to who received the bikes. “I remember my first bike and how cool it was,” Neben said. “I hope they remember this moment, down the line, as a reminder that somebody cared and valued them.”