A podcast by Cort Vaughan
On the hottest day ever recorded in Portland Oregon, 27 year old Jared Kosanovic took on the biggest challenge of his life. He planned to race his bicycle across the country, with no support, to help rotary raise money to eradicate Polio. Find out how he handled the blistering heat and what inspired him to keep going. The story starts with Jared’s father, Gerry Kosanovic, Rotary District Governor. Let’s hear from him.
Hi, my name is Gerry Kosanovic and my current role in Rotary is District Governor 5110. for 21-22.
Gerry – When Jared was young he went on service opportunities with me. I took him to the Rotary International Convention at Brisbane Australia. And I was the first time he saw an iron lung. Now we had talked about polio before you know, just kind of a surface this is what I do in Rotary This is our corporate focus, to rid the world of this terrible disease. But seeing that iron lung he hit kind of sparked his imagination and terrific ways and it’s it really stuck in there. So that was a 10 years old. So now that he’s 27 he’s going to raise money, he wants to raise money, do something a little larger than himself. He chose Race for Rotary and of all the options available, the environment, youth, he picked polio.
Jared – with Polio I think my memory of it, my first memory is going to a Rotary convention with my dad. I think this might have actually been one of the international conventions in Australia. We just made a family vacation out of it. My mom and siblings went down there as well. So I think first memory was seeing an iron lung kind of being amazed of that was the solution or the remedy in some cases to help people with polio. And so I think that stuck with me. So I’m 27 and I work in IT for University of Wisconsin-Madison. That’s, that’s my day job, but I also spend a lot of time riding my bike and doing really just anything fun outside.
Gerry – Knowing that this is a worldwide project of ours, a program to eradicate a disease. It just really touched my soul in many way and that’s why I’m deeply affected by the need to accomplish this in my lifetime. But partner up with Bill Gates, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and others in the United Nation. I think it’s this Collective united front that is really inspiring, and that’s why I think that for me it just becomes one of my passions. One of my passions in life now. Once you get these passion you can’t let it go and you can only dive deeper into it. And that’s why my son rides across the country and does for polio, it harkens that there’s more on the way. There’s others that can be inspirational. Just like my boy.
Cort – I saw that you did a bicycle race all the way across the country from almost Coast-to-Coast. What inspired you to do that?
So that was inspired from last year at the start of the pandemic. I used to bike commute to work every day in Madison, Wisconsin. Even through the winter. When we went full remote As far, the pandemic I started to do more bike rides. Less about commuting more bike rides is for fun. I’m out on the road and started to bike a little bit longer and really like biking long distances. So I, during that summer, I did a trip from Madison Wisconsin to Corvallis Oregon where I grew up and where my parents live. So that was a fun trip and I met some cool people along the way and I also heard about some of these more long-distance races last touring and smelling the Roses and more trying to get somewhere as fast as you can. I heard about a race that left Portland and went to Washington, DC. Got involved with it to fund-raise for it, over the summer during a bike race.