To Help find a cure for Cancer.
Most of you probably know about Team in Training. Well, I am participating in the Team In Training fundraising drive for the Lake Tahoe Century (aka America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride).
I’m not an especially active Team In Training rider… I don't really need the training, nor the team. I already do a lot of riding and racing... doing the 120 mile ride from Brooklyn to Bear Mountain and back 2 or 3 times a month, I’ve done the epic unsupported 6-Gaps in Vermont with the 20% grade Lincoln Gap, the 500+ Bike Tour Colorado (uphill both ways!), and whatever other rides I can sneak away from work to do.
So if I don’t need Team in Training to enable to me to do my rides, then why am I involved???
Last year, I participated bascially just to support my coworkers. We put together a team of 33 Blackstone employees and associates from all areas of the firm and all levels of seniority. And we raised $330,000 for Leukemia research. My role was mentoring, coaching, encouraging the new riders to keep training, and the existing riders to train harder. I helped them with everything from equipment choices, nutrition, hydration, pacing themselves, riding technique, mechanical advice, you name it.
After the “event”, I expected everyone to pretty much go back to life as they know it, ie bike in the garage collecting dust, butt on the couch, television engaged. But I was genuinely surprised that a good number of the new riders kept riding. They actually became active cyclists, gaining more from the program than just the accomplishment of the 100 mile ride! A handful of them kept commuting in from the ‘burbs all the way through September and into October. OK OK, so maybe in NYC maybe the ‘burb to midtown commute is only 5 to 10 miles each way, but hey, they still get a tough workout dodging gypsy cabs, bouncing off city buses, yelling at clueless pedestrians and tourists, and smashing through bottomless potholes.
However, the more I paid attention to the LLS organization itself, the more I noticed the specific work that is done with the funds that are raised. There are many areas of research that are making real and positive differences in the lives of cancer patients every day. Many of the current treatments for Leukemia were developed with the funds raised by LLS 20, 10, 5 years ago. Some of the treatments being developed by the research today are targeting to curing patients who were kept alive by treatments developed by the research 5 or 10 years ago. And every year a larger percentage of patients are treatable than ever before.
This started to click with other parts of my life. I've written software that manages data collected during clinical trials for colon cancer treatments. The cost of these trials is considerable, both in the time of the physicians who dedicate countless hours of time studying and researching the current treatments, and work hard to manage patients through very demanding treatment regimens. Almost every individual involved in the research and clinical trial side of cancer treatment is making a personal sacrifice to be involved.
My mother in 2007 after a struggle with a rare untreatable lymphadema. I’m not a terribly sentimental kinda guy… and I’m not doing the ride “in her honor” or any of that stuff. However, knowing that LLS has funded research that has found new treatments for specific cancers that were fatal only a few years ago, has made me a big supporter of the cause. In her case, she was misdiagnosed, and her initial treatment was based on a very limited understanding available at the time. Even in the course of her treatment covering only 5 years or so, there were dramatic breakthroughs in diagnosis, understanding, and in treatment for several cancers related to hers. Some of those treatments coming from research funded by LLS. In her case, the treatment has yet to be be found. So the research continues, and and continues to need funding.
This year we are sending a team of over 40 Blackstone employees and associates, and in this bleak economic environment, we are going to raise over $300,000. And I won’t be surprised when we raise even more.
So please, click through to the fundraising page, and give however much you can, but definitely only what you can afford.
Thanks for reading. And thank you even more for your support of the cause.