The Breakthrough Bike Challenge (BBC) announced last week that it had raised $50,228 for two groups of researchers housed at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center.
BBC foundation members presented half the proceeds from its inaugural bike ride to Drs. Arati Desai and Timothy Lucas, who specialize in the treatment of brain cancer, and the other half to Dr. Stephen J. Schuster, Director of Lymphoma Translational Research.
Ralph Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, attended a ceremony to honor the researchers, and praised both the physician-scientists and BBC.
“We at Penn Medicine depend on the dedication of our researchers and the devotion of support groups like BBC.” He said. “We also tip our hat to foundations like BBC which raise funds from donors and dedicate them entirely to charitable programs. It is a testament to their volunteers and sponsors.”
BBC was established with the express intent to raise funds for cancer research through an annual bike ride. The group consists of five cycling enthusiasts from Chestnut Hill who came up with the idea for the orginazation one night at Campbell’s Palce in January this year. The members are Chestnut Hill residents Chris Hall, Jeff Krieger and Jennifer Pinto-Martin, Randy Bown of Flourtown and Ernie Tracy of Wyndmoor.
The group set a goal of hosting a ride in May. They formed a foundation, identified local researchers who were working on cutting edge cures, picked a route, solicited sponsors, and invited family and friends to ride and donate.
BBC held its inaugural ride on May 25, at Valley Forge National Park with a variety of ride options, including a challenging 33 mile loop through beautiful countryside. Riders, family and friends raised more than $50,000 to fund brain cancer and lymphoma research.
The group enjoyed a capstone picnic after the ride, made possible by Weaver’s Way Co-op of Chestnut Hill and Mount Airy. BBC Board Chair Chris Hall thanked all of the organization’s sponsors and volunteers.
Those sponsors – Industrial Investments, Inc., Krieger Architects, Saul Ewing LLP, and Weaver’s Way Co-Op – made it possible for BBC to donate 100 percent of the funds it raised.
“They stepped forward the second we asked,” said Chris Hall. “We also could not have achieved our goals without the tremendous work of fellow board members Randy Bown, Jeff Krieger, Jennifer Martin, and Ernie Tracy, and numerous other volunteers.”
Plans are already underway for next year’s ride. BBC will extend its support to promising young researchers who have not yet qualified for NIH funds.
The recipients of this year’s funds deserve tremendous praise. Dr. Stephen J. Schuster leads Penn Medicine’s Lymphoma program. Drs. Desai and Lucas team to address the challenges of brain cancer. These doctors are all engaged in cutting-edge research, harnessing the power of immunotherapy to treat cancer. BBC’s generous donors have helped researchers step closer to “next generation” therapies that promise to save lives.