I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the experiences I have had so far as day five is coming to an end. There are only two days left and while I have noticed that all bike shorts are not created equal (you should understand what that means), I can’t believe it is almost over.
Day 4 was a huge challenge for me. I thought that after the beautiful hills between New York City and Albany I was home free, but for some reason my quads and lower back were talking back at me as I was half way between Albany and Utica. That was all balanced out today with a fantastic short day (only 50 something miles) and ending at the beautiful Green Lakes State Park near Syracuse at around two o’clock today.
Yesterday as I was riding for hours on end I started to think about what do you think about (or do) as you are pedaling for hour after hour with no one to talk to. Not to mention some backside discomfort (see previous comment related to bike shorts). What really got me through all of those hours was actually just starting to pay attention to the beauty that was around me at any given moment. I guess I was getting another life lesson about living in the moment and cherishing every bit of life that was surrounding me. The distance between me and the end of the day or tomorrow did not really matter, what mattered was that my crank made another revolution. What also began to matter was the beautiful yellow finches that seemed to be flying in front as I proceeded down the trail. I also became aware of the blood sweat and tears that went into making the canal and the buildings that I was passing along the way.
While I am enjoying the fantastic work of others that have gone before me, I begin to appreciate how important we all are in literally everything we do. Frequently, my thoughts come back to the reason why I am doing this ride. To be quite honest, I worry about the research that we are not able to fund, every budget cycle there are millions of dollars in requests that we can not fund. I also think about the funding we need to help pay for clinical trials that may literally save lives today if we could afford to do them. Some specific examples of these trials are:
- Brain Tumor Vaccine: For brain tumor patients, SurVax-M offers hope for the long term. This vaccine has shown encouraging results in a phase I clinical trial of patients with malignant gliomas (brain tumors). Designed to destroy cancer cells left behind after surgery, the vaccine targets survivin, a protein expressed by most tumors, including 90% of malignant gliomas, the most common type of primary brain tumor. The prognosis for these tumors is generally poor.
Ovarian Cancer Vaccine: A vaccine that has shown promising results in patients with ovarian cancer is now available to eligible patients with many other types of solid tumors through a phase I clinical trial.
Lung Cancer Genetic Test: A promising genetic test for lung cancer that was developed at RPCI is under development. This genetic test analyzes lung cancer tumor tissue for 14 specific gene mutations known to play a role in lung cancer—genes that we can now treat with new-targeted drugs. These drugs, which can be taken orally in pill form, target only the cells that have these genetic abnormalities, focusing on the tumor, sparing healthy cells, and posing fewer side effects. Two of these drugs have already become standard of care therapies. The others are available at RPCI through Phase I Clinical Studies Program.
There is more that I could cover but the point is that every single dollar that we can donate to these programs will change peoples lives and I am not talking about years from now, I am talking about today.
I know I went pretty deep in this blog, but I am doing this because it really matters and we need help.
Thank you so much for your help, if you see me on the road – give me a shout.
Love you all!