I'm riding: Big Hitter

Team: Bill's Angels

ID: 30155

Lifetime total: $40,603.75

I am riding In Memory of Dale Kennedy.


I am writing this year full of hope.

Last summer Don and I received the bad news from a friend of his diagnosis with stage 4 melanoma.

This summer we received the gift of a weekend in Maine with him and his wife as he is being successfully treated with immunotherapy and is optimistically living his life to the fullest.

I looked back through PTC-funded research on the website and found this among the early research projects that we supported:

2013 Research
Patient-specific mutation-directed immunotherapy for melanoma
Principal Investigator: Gerald Linette, MD, PhD; Co-investigator: Beatriz Carreno, PhD; Elaine Mardis, PhD Summary: Goal is to create a personalized vaccine to activate the immune system to fight melanoma. Description: The incidence of malignant melanoma (skin cancer) continues to rise worldwide. Metastatic melanoma remains an incurable cancer and novel treatments are urgently needed. The good news is recent advances with immunotherapy-which triggers the body?s own immune system to fight cancer-suggest that lasting remissions are possible. Mutations, or alterations in the DNA, due to sunlight exposure accumulate over time and promote the transformation of benign pigmented moles to malignant melanoma. Dr. Linette?s research team believes that the immune system has the ability to recognize the sunlight-induced cell alterations as foreign and mount an immune response to attack the melanoma. The research project will analyze the melanoma genomes of five patients and identify mutations that are unique to each individual. Using these specific mutations, researchers will develop a customized cellular therapy vaccine to treat patients with advanced melanoma

I don't make any claims that this research led to the therapy that is helping my friend. But this research is likely giving hope to someone's friend or family member. And the other 100 projects that we have funded together since 2011 have undoubtedly extended and improved lives, giving more friends and families quality time together.

Dr. John DiPersio, Chief of Oncology at Washington University, is one of my heroes. He is a world leader in multiple myeloma research (the disease which took my dad) and is one of the smartest and most hard working people I know. I heard him speak this summer about some of the progress in research that is a direct result of Pedal-funded research and it is amazing! I wanted to dance out of my chair. The challenges are great but we are on the cusp of great change, and we have momentum.

We must keep moving forward.

My friend Teri Griege is a cancer survivor, Ironman competitor, author, nationally recognized speaker and Pedal the Cause board member. Her PTC team is called Powered by HOPE (How Ordinary People Endure) and she has empowered countless people to find hope in the face of great challenge. Teri is an extraordinary woman - she has extraordinary strength, generosity, sense of purpose and wisdom - but she will be the first to tell you that she does not do it alone. She has an extraordinary community, an army of supporters.

I feel quite ordinary around Teri - I do not have her strength, her experience, or her eloquence. I cannot provide inspiration to those who are battling, but thanks to Pedal and to my army of support, I can provide HOPE.

The brilliance of the PTC model is the ability to take ordinary dollars and turn them in to something extraordinary. Our gifts combine with others to become a fund which in turn becomes groundbreaking research projects at Washington University which in turn become federally funded multi-million dollar grants which in turn become therapies and diagnostic tools that change and extend lives. Now that is powerful.

And so I, as a very ordinary person, invite you make an extraordinary difference. Please consider donating to support cancer research. Each gift is important as together we work toward the extraordinary - a world without cancer. Imagine that freedom!

To quote Teri - Anything is possible, powered by HOPE.

Thank you for being a part of my extraordinary community. Together we are powerful!