Of all the days in weeks, this one had it all: cool temperatures, sunshine; changing colors of the leaves in the trees; fields burgeoning with pumpkins; cows, horses and llamas. It had rained most of the week before and has rained often since, but October 11th was the perfect day for the third annual Lymphoma Research Ride.
Up to 2 weeks prior to the day, our rider numbers were way down compared to last year, and our money about half of what we had expected. We hadn’t yet reached the point of panic, but it wasn’t too far down the road. And then something happened! Suddenly, riders signed up in droves, and the money came flowing in. We checked the website every few hours, amazed to see how every day the totals increased.
By ride time, almost 190 riders had signed up, and they came from as far away as New York, Florida, and Chicago. On the day of the ride I was, as always, choked up with awe to see all of the patients suited up and ready to go fight the miles and the hills. I even had a couple of patients who had ridden a century (100 miles) the day before and were ready to have a go at it again (our ride was the more challenging because of the hills). This year we even had a junior ride for those 10 years and older who were not quite ready for the 25 or 50 miles their parents were doing, and they received donations of over $5,000! Importantly, the aggregate money raised has now exceeded the $393,000 mark, almost $30,000 more than last year, bringing our total to more than $1.1 million thus far for lymphoma research.
The day was also full of memorable stories. On my team was the son of one of our recently departed favorites, and the wife of the former patient, was an active volunteer. It was a special day for them to celebrate his life and to dedicate the ride to him. We even had a team in honor of a patient who had died prior to last year’s ride.
As usual, I led the peleton out of the driveway of the Barnesville School and down Barnesville Road, zipping along at an impressive speed, at least for the first few miles. However, either I am getting older every year, which is unlikely, or we are attracting better riders, the latter to which I am attributing my dwindling place amongst the 50 milers.
Every year the ride has grown in participants, money, and in the joy of the total experience felt by the patients, their families and friends, and everyone else involved. Much of the success is directly attributable to the work of Joan Mistrough of the Lymphoma Research Foundation; Robin Richman, our ride coordinator; our committee and many volunteers, and my wife, Christine, who work tirelessly to ensure the success of this event. Organizing the ride is a time-consuming and exhausting experience. As the day approaches, we say that we just can’t find time in our lives to do it again. But, after experiencing the success of the ride and the joy of everyone involved, we are already planning for number 4 next year.
It is with this issue that I am delighted to welcome Jacquelyn Matos as the Senior Managing Editor involved with Clinical Advances in Hematology & Oncology. I am sure that the journal will continue to flourish under
Until next month…
Bruce D. Cheson, MD