Crashing Ustream and shout-outs from Mia Hamm

Mia Hamm understands teamwork. Maybe that’s why she gave then-senior and now-JMU alumnus Navid Attayan (’14) a shout-out during his 24-hour cycling marathon two weeks ago.

Last month, we told you about his upcoming ride, one part of Navid’s determined quest to change the lives of children and their families battling childhood cancer. Now here’s the rest of the story of Navid Attayan (’13) and the Cure de 24 ….

1504243_10201882424962577_6430665349538203660_oOn April 29 at high noon, Navid clipped into the pedals of his bike that was suspended on a stationery platform and he started riding. Two hours. Ten hours. He rode through the day and into the night, battling weather that was cold and stormy. Fifteen hours. At his side was the team that had helped him get to this point and that was determined to see him to the end of the 24-hour ride.

Leading up to the Cure de 24, Navid’s team helped publicize the event and drum up support across the university and beyond. The team lined up food and activities, set up a tent on the Common, and offered hands-on and moral support. Fellow classmate Jake Williams (’14)  promoted the project through digital media (filming and photography). Jake was also on the support crew.  Sara Robbins (’15) was the operations director, responsible for planning and coordinating the event. She was also on the support crew. James Orrigo (’13), a performer and friend, helped with everything, including massaging Navid’s legs for hours to keep him going throughout the grueling 217-mile ride — during which Navid passed out eight times. Freshman Addison Shepard (’18) rode alongside Navid for the last two hours to help him keep going.

Navid Attayan ('13) and Addison Shepard ('18)

Navid Attayan (’13) and Addison Shepard (’18)

“Those guys were the key people,” Navid writes. “Plenty of others joined the day of the ride that helped out — but the list will go on forever. We reached an audience of over 35,000 people on Facebook alone. We also CRASHED Ustream, the live streaming service we were using, because so many people were tuning in from around the world. Over 29 countries were viewing; this project went viral. Celebrities Mia Hamm, Hope Solo, Evelyn Stevens, and Lil John tweeted about the event. We united the campus toward a commons cause. It was amazing.” (Check out the video of the final hour here:

Navid and friends raised $5,098 for the Smashing Walnuts Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funding for pediatric cancer in memory of 10-year-old Gabriella Miller. Smashing Walnuts is responsible for the new bi-partisan “Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act” that was signed into law on April 3.

All in all, Navid, his friend’s, and the campus that rallied around them was pretty amazing. Even Dr. Mark Warner, senior vice president for academic affairs, came to offer his support on the day of the event.

Soon, we’ll tell you about another JMU alumnus with a team and a goal for positive change. Stefan Peierls (’13)  who — along with friends — will travel the country this summer on a mission to promote volunteerism. He writes: “Our mission is to encourage college student to engage in long-term volunteering opportunities. We will be traveling throughout the U.S. and volunteering with organization that impact the lives of children. All the while, we will be capturing our journey through GoPro videos and making a social documentary online.”

You can follow Stefan at his website  We’ll be following as well!

If you’re sensing a common theme here, it’s simple: Few people change the world without the help of others or without engaging in the lives of those around them. No one does it alone — not Navid, not Stefan, no one. It takes a team — a good and committed team — to change the world for the better.



About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: