Fundraiser Spotlight: Dr. David Benaderet


Dr. Benaderet won a TREK bike as a top fundraiser in 2014.

As a cardiologist, David Benaderet, MD, always urges his patients to get plenty of exercise. He takes his own advice.

“I’m an avid cyclist,” he said. “It adds a little credibility to my recommendation if I’m involved. It’s also for my wellbeing, physical and mental.”

And it is one way Benaderet, as a 1980 graduate of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, can give something back to his alma mater.

He has ridden the 80-mile loop, the longest route, in all four of the MSU Gran Fondos, and this year he donated $2,050, making him one of the top fundraisers for the college’s skin cancer research program.

Benaderet, whose office is in Sterling Heights, has encouraged colleagues and fellow alumnae to join the ride.

“I think it’s important for the graduates of the medical school to embrace it,” he said, adding that it’s a way of showing “appreciation for the medical school.”

Fundraiser Spotlight: Ted Adornato


As he set off to raise money for the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine’s skin cancer research program, Ted Adornato was nearly 400 miles away from the other riders in the 2016 MSU Gran Fondo.

Yet he became this year’s top fundraiser, gathering $2,500 in pledges. At the same time, Adornato raised another $1,500 for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. He had committed himself to participating in the MSU Gran Fondo and the Ride for Roswell, which both were on June 25.

Thus, while some 1,700 riders were setting off from downtown Grand Rapids, Adornato was among 7,200 doing likewise at the exact same moment in Buffalo. He grew up in Rochester, NY, and has family members in Buffalo, including some who’ve been treated for cancer at Roswell, including for skin cancer.

As he rode through Buffalo, his mind was back in Grand Rapids, where Adornato now lives and where friends were riding in the MSU Gran Fondo. As an executive vice president for SpartanNash Co., a major sponsor of the MSU Gran Fondo, he felt a special bond for those riding through West Michigan.

Next year, he plans to physically ride in Grand Rapids at the 2017 MSU Gran Fondo, while conducting a virtual Ride for Roswell.

“To me it seems like there are so many people that it connects,” Adornato said. “It’s a great cause. I’ll be involved for many years to come.”

Fundraiser Spotlight: Theresa Chartier


MSU Gran Fondo participant and a 2016 top fundraiser, Theresa Chartier with her new Cannondale bike donated by Experience Grand Rapids. 

Theresa Chartier concedes she never has been a serious cyclist, yet, in a sense, she was a winner in this year’s MSU Gran Fondo.

She first rode in last year’s event, raising pledges of about $1,200 for the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine’s skin cancer research program. This year, she nearly doubled that amount, making her one of the 2016 MSU Gran Fondo’s top fundraisers.

For her, “it never was about raising a lot of money,” she said. “It was about supporting a friend.”

Actually, it was for two friends, a couple – Greg and Stephanie. Two years ago, Greg died of melanoma, and last year Stephanie invited Theresa to join her in the 2015 MSU Gran Fondo to help raise money for skin cancer research, including melanoma. With no training, Theresa set off from the starting line.

“Last year was pure willpower,” she said. “There were times I was barely moving. Every time I was struggling I’d say a little prayer for Greg.”

She rolled across the finish line dead last. This year, she set a new goal: she was determined not to finish last.

She achieved that and more, shaving 30 minutes off her previous time, and she raised $2,045 for skin cancer research.

While her motivation was to support one friend and honor the memory of another, “the flip side was we raised a lot of money for a great cause,” Theresa said, “and, hopefully, they’ll find a cure.”

She plans to ride in her third MSU Gran Fondo next year.

“It’s become a good cause,” she said, “and it’s become a part of my heart.”