I’ve been biking almost every day since I started getting into it in ’94. It’s my passion. In September of
2010, I started feeling weaker and weaker, even though I was riding every day. Then I developed this
itching all over my body. In December, I started a cough that wouldn’t go away. Doctors tried antibiotics,
antihistamines, and anti inflammatory drugs, but couldn’t figure it out.
Until the following March, at least. A CT scan showed a mass in my upper left lung—a swollen lymph
node. They thought it might be Stage IV lung cancer. It took 23 days to get the true diagnosis. That was
one of the hardest parts of the whole thing—waiting.
It was Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Luckily, I was also made aware that this was one of the most curable types
of cancer and that survival rates had been increasing over the past few decades thanks to advances in
treatments. (More proof that your donations are doing good.)
I was told that there was a type of chemo that was successful for eradicating Hodgkin lymphoma more
than 90 percent of the time. I started it within a week. They said six months of chemo should do it. I kept
riding my bike all through chemo, sometimes only 5 to 6 miles a day instead of the usual 20 to 30. It
kept me going, literally and figuratively.
But my cancer was stubborn. Nine months later, it came back. The doctors told me I couldn’t use the
same chemo treatment again, so I had to switch to a new one with worse side effects. I got it every
three weeks. It seemed to make the cancer worse, not better.
At that point you’re thinking, well nothing’s going to work. But then the doctor said something
surprising. He said it was good news these chemo treatments didn’t work. After two failures, he said, we
could try a new trial drug.
I had two treatments with no side effects, and finished up in fall of 2012. Then I had a stem cell
transplant. The cancer hasn’t come back since. The drug that worked, brentuximab vedotin , was
approved by the FDA this April.
My date of being cancer-free is the day I got my stem cells back, November 26, 2012. It’s been over five
years now, which is when they call it a cure. That’s kind of a nice thought, to put it lightly.
Fighting cancer was like training for a bike race. You train hard, you don’t feel good, but for a goal you
really want to meet. It makes all the training worth doing. You go through this and you come out
I still ride. I rode to Ski Valley at the top of Mt. Lemmon after 5 months of chemo, but the recovery took
over two months. It was 61 miles round-trip. Chemo’s made my oxygen absorption at about 65% of a
healthy person’s, so I’m breathing twice as a hard as I used to.
I have an amazing wife Jamie. We have two kids, ages 27 and 30, and two grandkids, 1 and 4 years old.
Cancer makes you look at what’s really important, especially when you realize you don’t have forever.
I don’t feel like I should be the LLS Honorary Hero this year, but I do like the opportunity to have an
impact on people’s outlook on cancer. Plus, I have the ability to raise funds to make more drugs and
more treatments and, ultimately, more cures available to patients.
LLS has been amazing. I didn’t know who LLS was until after I went through my whole thing and found
out they backed research on the drugs that saved me. They do tons in terms of patient and caregiver
support for people who need it. I’m proud to be a part of their efforts.