Lymphoma Research Foundation of America (LRFA), Inc.
You can send a donation, payable to LRFA, directly to their offices at:
Please note on the check's memo: "Glenn and Scotty's STP ride"
You will get a receipt acknowledging the donation from LRFA.
7/12/99: The ride is over and we lived to tell the tale! But it's not too late to donate (see box at right and the rest of this page). Click here to see an index of photos from the ride.
We did it. It seems impossible, but we did it. It shouldn't seem impossible, because literally thousands of people complete this ride every year. But it was substantially hillier than we expected, and the temperature was at least in the 80s for the majority of both days. (As we crested one of the final hills near Scapoose, Oregon, around 2 pm Sunday, riding on white pavement, Scotty's speedometer -- which displays temperature -- read 99 degrees.)
Here's the final mileage according to my bike's speedometer:
We completed the ride over two days in under 20 hours, averaging about 13.1 mph while riding, and riding for a total of about 15.5 hours. (Scotty didn't need to stop often, but I had to frequently catch my breath on hills and recover from the heat.)
Nonetheless, we were pretty happy with our time, with the ride, and the fact that we could still walk and talk (sort of) when we got off the bike. I drank at least 2 1/2 gallons of water a day, and the liberal application of sunscreen kept me from getting burned -- except for a really red spot above the sock line at the bottom of my left calf! I also have an amusing glove tan line that looks like I was wearing paper bags on my hands at the beach.
Here's what we got for crossing the finish line:
I almost burst into tears as we rode down the hill to the final approach to Cathedral Park in Portland. (Partly because the very last hill was a steep one leading up to the really really high St. John's Bridge, which we had to cross in order to get to the park. A big surprise!) I held off so that I wouldn't crash on my final approach.
I don't know if I'll do it again. I just got office space in Greenlake (about a 20 to 30 minute bike ride from my house) and I plan on riding almost every day. Next March, there's a ride called the Chilly Hilly, which is a 35+ mile ride around some of the hilliest parts of the very hilly Bainbridge Island, often in very cold weather and sometimes driving rain. If I ride for the next 9 months and then can do the Chilly Hilly without too much concern, I would have no problems with next year's STP. We'll see.
Already, though, I have at least three friends and relatives interested in next year's ride. And I might be able to talk Scotty into it again, too! (I'm trying to find out the dates, as I have a bunch of plans for next summer, including a college reunion and a reunion in Switzerland for a graphic design program I was in.)
Thank you, everyone, for your support! Pictures will appear here later this week.
Last year, I was diagnosed and successfully treated for Hodgkin's Disease, also known as Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a form of cancer of the lymphatic system.
My chemotherapy treatment lasted from early February to July 10, 1998; I later had supplementary radiation therapy in November and early December. (You can read more about it on this site, too.)
Treatment was as successful as can be, and my health rapidly returned to normal. The likelihood of recurrence is somewhat low at this point and getting lower every day.
200 Mile Bike Ride
On the anniversary of the end of my chemo, I and my friend and colleague Scotty Carreiro will ride the Cascade Cycle Club's Seattle To Portland (STP) bike ride over two days. It's about 200 miles, and 10,000 riders participate annually. This is the 20th anniversary of the event, and there may be many more riders this year.
My goal in riding the event is twofold: one, to have a good goal to get back in shape and enjoy the hell out of burning a ton of energy and pushing myself toward the edge of my physical endurance; two, to use the event as an excuse to raise money towards lymphoma research.
I'm asking my friends and colleagues and people who think I'm an ok fellow to make a donation in celebrating the fact that I'm not only alive, but thriving, and riding 200 miles on a bike!
The Bad News on Cancer
Treatment for Hodgkin's Disease has improved remarkably since the late 60's, when the chance of recovery was moderate, but those who recovered often had lifelong health problems resulting from the treatment. The improvement of treatment for Hodgkin's Disease is one of the great successes of cancer therapy, and people diagnosed with the disease and treated more than 15 years ago have had a 66% survival rate over 15 years.
Treatment has continued to improve and be refined: the current five-year survival rate is 82%, representing people who had treatment starting about eight years ago. This rate is a better gauge for current treatment success as remission is considered complete if the disease does not recur in five years.
I am the direct and indirect beneficiary of the "War on Cancer," in which billions of dollars have been spent. Unfortunately, despite my personal success in the short-term and the tremendous improvement of treatment for Hodgkin's Disease, the research done to date has provided lots of information, but only small improvements in overall survival rates. Many forms of cancer, such as the related Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, have poor short- and long-term survival rates. Other cancers, including ovarian cancer, have turned into expensive, painful, long-term chronic care conditions that still often result in death from the disease.
Meanwhile, the incidence of cancer is increasing, possibly due to the increase during our lifetimes of toxic chemicals in the environment, an increase in clinical obesity, and a decrease in nutrition despite Americans' seeming obsession with diet and exercise. The current population of the US has a risk of getting cancer during their lifetime of about 1 in 3 for woman and 1 in 2 for men; that number is expected to be higher for children born today. Over 1.2 million people in the US are diagnosed with cancer each year.
The Good News (and there is a lot)
What's the good news out of all these numbers and the seeming slow, incremental progress? The basic research of the last 30 years and beyond has produced something close to an understanding of many of the mechanisms of cancer. New drugs, substantially less problematic and with fewer or no observable side effects, are already coming on the market, such as derivatives of tamoxifene for treating breast cancer. Better surgical procedures, a reduction in duration or quantity of chemotherapy drugs, and earlier diagnosis are starting to turn the tide.
At the same time, new drugs in the last decade to ease the side effects of treatment, such as extreme fatigue, nausea, and a drop in blood counts have helped to reduce deaths and long-term secondary effects from getting well. (I, for instance, took about five different drugs for nausea, pain, and white count improvement, and had virtually no side effects outside of fatigue.)
It's possible that in the next 10 years, certain forms of cancer will have an enormous boost in the success of treatment with a corresponding huge decrease in the impact on quality of life on the cancer patients and survivors. You may have read some of the hype last year about anti-angiogenesis drugs, which restrict the bodys ability to form new blood vessels, and showed something on the order of total success in killing tumors in mice by depriving the tumors of their ability to starve the body to feed themselves.
The particular drug that was mentioned in news reports is one of several hundred in its category currently in testing; some go into clinical trials this year. Even if it turns out that anti-angiogenesis is not a silver bullet, there are tens of thousands of other projects and tests going on worldwide, including clinical testing of new protocols and drugs. (Hodgkins Disease, for instance, has seen substantial reduction in secondary effects from the chemotherapy regimens due to clinical testing in which, for one regimen, it was revealed that a six month course of drugs was as effective as 12-month course.)
We're definitely approaching the end of cancer as we know it, though it may require another generation for that to be completely true. It's also true that new cancer therapies may be more expensive and long-term; instead of six months of chemo, you might take $100 or potentially much more worth of drugs every month for the rest of your life, much like today's drugs for reducing cholesterol or replacing natural estrogen.
Individual Giving Counts
Despite the massive influx of cash by governments and foundations worldwide, individuals still comprise a significant portion of the funds raised to spend on cancer research. Billions of dollars flow out of folks hands directly into research and testing that, in turn, directly result in help for people like me.
I ask you to join me in making a tax-deductible contribution to The Lymphoma Research Foundation of America, Inc. (Their 501(c)(3), audited returns, and other information is available on request.) I've chosen them over other worthy organizations because LRFA funds many small projects with grants of tens of thousands of dollars. I feel like contributing to this organization will make a disproportionate impact on research into this field.
Given that I was fortunate enough to have good insurance through the whole process of diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up, I plan to donate a substantial fraction of my income for the rest of my life to cancer research, because I've seen its direct and beneficial effect. I hope to make a large contribution this year, to celebrate my return to a regular, healthy life.
If you would like to contribute any amount, please make checks payable to The Lymphoma Research Foundation of America, Inc., or just LRFA; their address and other information is at the top of this page. They will provide the proper receipt for tax deductibility.
I understand that you may already have a plan for your personal philanthropy this year, and I respect, of course, everyone's desire to focus their efforts into areas where they can make a difference. Your good wishes and support are just as meaningful to me.