When you hear the word “endure,” what do you think?
Undergoing hardships and persevering may come to mind. Or to some, it could be a cross-country trip, especially if by train, bus or car, and for a fun added challenge, add kids and remove WiFi.
Now, how about a cross-country trip by bike? Two wheels under human power exposed to all the elements and conditions.
For six people on the Road to Victories cycling team –- Marty Perlmutter, Darrell Rose, Michael Morales, Mike Grant, Robert Goodheart, and Chuck Wakefield –- this adventure is real.
They started their 3,400 mile cross-country cycling journey after dipping their wheels in the Pacific Ocean on September 3 from the Manhattan Beach Pier in Los Angeles, CA, and completed it at Jennings Beach in Fairfield, CT, on Saturday, October 21.
They endured a 49-day journey fueled only by their own bodies and their incredible personal drive to support a community that is very much familiar with the challenge to endure: those fighting multiple myeloma.
By definition, endure means to suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently or remain in existence; to last.
The six person team has strived to live up to the first part of the definition –- to suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently
–- for the purpose of helping multiple myeloma patients be able to meet the second part of the definition: remain in existence; to last
. One of the riders, Chuck Wakefield, is a patient and he is living the full definition.
They did it as part of a fundraising effort to raise awareness and critical funds for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), an innovative organization that is accelerating cancer research and has helped introduce 10 new, FDA-approved treatments since its founding in 1998, including four in just the past 18 months.
Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer that develops in the plasma cells found in the bone marrow. Eventually, symptoms such as bone damage, soft tissue tumors, and kidney failure can lead to diagnosis. An estimated 30,000 patients are diagnosed annually, and through the efforts of early diagnosis, targeted treatments, and genomic research by the MMRF, life expectancy has been increased from 1-3 years in the late 1990s to 3-7 years and even longer today.
A cure still hasn’t been found and over 11,000 patients are expected to lose their lives this year.
This is why this team has endured riding 70-100 miles a day, in extreme conditions like 120-degree desert heat arriving into Blythe, CA, or in 45-degree cold rain heading into Herkimer, NY.
Originally part of an initial larger team of 17 riders of caregivers, friends, patients and MMRF and Janssen Oncology employees through Flagstaff, AZ, this smaller team dedicated an additional six weeks of their lives to complete the 3,400 mile journey to Fairfield, CT.
The goal? To raise $400,000 by October 21 to fund new innovations and research that could lead to a cure and more treatment options for patients battling multiple myeloma. The team achieved this goal, and has since raised more than $410,000.
Best epitomized by a sign held by Chuck Wakefield in one his posts –- “I have cancer and I’m riding across the country –- I am hope!” or symbolized as a name on Michael Morales’s helmet, the Road to Victories team is living the definition of endurance and the hope for those suffering from multiple myeloma.
You can read and learn more about the Road to Victories team at www.RoadToVictories.com