(top, above) Bicyclists traverse the roadways of Washington, while DaVita CEO Kent Thiry (below) greets a biker.

Source: DaVita Kidney Care

For the 11th year, kidney patients and their caregivers united to raise funds for a charitable cause. Tour DaVita, a special bicycling event put on by the Denver-based provider, took place Oct. 7-11 in Washington. This year, the event attracted more than 500 cyclists.

Funds raised by the riders, which totaled $1.2 million for the 2017 event, go to the Bridge of Life, a public charity founded by DaVita to improve access to primary care and dialysis treatment in underserved communities around the world. Bridge of Life also focuses on prevention of kidney disease through early detection testing and education. For every $25 donated, DaVita said the company will provide one chronic kidney disease screening, dialysis treatment or primary care service in an underserved country.

“This ride is designed to empower our teammates and patients to reach new heights, mentally and physically, while giving back to the health care community,” Dave Hoerman, the company’s “chief wisdom officer,” said. The 2017 ride covered 250 miles and started in Burlington, Washington.

The ride also had the greatest number of entrants who were kidney patients.

“I was impressed by all the patients and their collective refusal to be seen as ‘patients’ and the way they all embraced and tackled life in their own way,” Jeff Needham, a first-time patient rider, said.