Hillary Locke Mujica
For Immediate Release
CLARE HEFFERREN WELCOMED AS SACRED CYCLE’S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AS THEY LOOK TO EXPAND
New Executive Director Will Continue to Help Heal the Hearts and Souls of Survivors of Sexual Assault and Abuse, One Ride at a Time
VAIL, CO, October 21, 2019 — As staggering as it sounds, The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network states that every 73 seconds someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 1 in 3 women experience sexual violence and the ramifications last a lifetime. They can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety, experience recurring gynecological, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and sexual health problems for decades after the traumatic event occurred. Additionally, the likelihood of developing addictions to food, drugs, alcohol and engage in risky sexual activity dramatically increases.
A survivor herself, Heather Russell, LPC, found healing through mountain biking by reconnecting with her body in a powerful way that traditional therapy alone couldn’t offer. The mind-body healing experience was what she needed to move forward in her life. In 2013 she founded Sacred Cycle to empower female survivors of sexual abuse and assault by providing a safe community to support their healing. Working through sexual trauma can be a lengthy or lifetime process filled with barriers including triggers, topic sensitivity, and financial hardships. It’s not surprising that many survivors may not be ready to dive into the work it entails. Through Sacred Cycle’s combination of traditional therapy and wilderness therapy, clients gain the confidence to break through barriers so they can progress on their personal recovery journey. As a result, survivors become an empowering force to help other survivors through the healing cycle, which in turn creates a strong sense of community in which these women thrive.
“Biking gives participants a positive reconnection with their bodies and forces them to be present, while nature gives the space necessary to calm the mind and process emotions,” says Russell. “Riders feel physically strong and capable of handling challenges, and it releases hormones that not only feel good but train the brain to orient towards positivity. Additionally, the challenge of mountain biking in a supportive group setting empowers the participants on their path to healing.”
Sacred Cycle clients and survivors are vocal about how the organization has helped them heal. “In my reflections, the women of Sacred Cycle carry such power,” says Karie, a Sacred Cycle client, and survivor. “Each conversation and story brings me hope and connection to the spirit of thriving through survival.”
As Sacred Cycle Founder and Executive Director, Russell has devoted six years to helping survivors of sexual abuse and assault, and the program curriculum has positively impacted the lives of survivors throughout Colorado; however, sexual violence is a national issue and the need to provide additional programs is great. By scaling and expanding Sacred Cycle to additional regions, the organization will be able to raise awareness and build community support to reduce the stigma and statistics of sexual abuse.
Russell is stepping down as Executive Director, handing the baton to Clare Hefferren as the new Executive Director effective immediately. Sacred Cycle clients and the organization as a whole will forever be grateful for Russell’s contributions. Hefferren will continue the positive momentum Russell created to ensure Sacred Cycle drives value for client survivors.
Hefferren is deeply tied to the outdoor industry and is a strong advocate of the work of Sacred Cycle. As the owner of Callosum, she has keen business acumen and vast branding expertise within the outdoor and mountain lifestyle space. With over 25 years of experience leading teams and growing organizations, her proven success in understanding the brand life cycle will take Sacred Cycle to the next level.
“It’s an honor and responsibility to have a founder trust you with their vision. The national interest and current team’s dedication to growing our impact give me confidence in the viability to scale,” says Hefferren. In addition to founding and owning Callosum, Hefferren has served as Vail Valley Business Women President, Vail Ski Girls Rock coach, and Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor, all focused on empowering female youth and adult professional women. Hefferren began volunteering with Sacred Cycle in May 2018 and joined the board of directors a year later.
Russell will remain on the Board of Directors and will have an active role in the growth of Sacred Cycle through press events, strategic partnerships and client relations.
About Sacred Cycle
Sacred Cycle was founded somewhere high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in 2013 as a 501 c 3 corporation. Founder, Heather Russell, had the idea to combine the benefits of cycling with other healing modalities to help treat the complexities of sexual trauma and the subsequent side-effects that ensue. Sacred Cycle strives to offer hope and healing to people affected by devastating and life-changing acts of violence.