by Sue Ann Rybak
It’s time to dust off that old bicycle sitting in your basement or garage and hit the road to join the battle against cancer. What better way to get your “rear in gear” than to cycle for a cancer cure..
Breakthrough Bike Challenge (BBC) will hold it’s second annual bike ride on Sunday, May 31, in Berks County’s Oley Valley. Whether you are an avid cyclist or a casual biker, this year’s event will inspire you to put the pedal to the metal.
Riders have a choice of three options: a 12, 25 or 40-mile loop that includes “ICU” Intensive Climbing Unit. The race begins and ends at the historic Daniel Boone Homestead in Birdsboro. The ride will be followed by a picnic lunch.
While other foundations spend a portion of the money donated for the cost of hosting the event and administrative costs, the BBC’s event is completely funded by members of the board and the generosity of sponsors who, this year, include National Penn, Saul Ewing LLP, Krieger Architects, and Industrial Investments.
The race’s founders are Chris Hall, Jeff Krieger and Jennifer Pinto-Martin, of Chestnut Hill; Randy Brown, of Flourtown, and Ernie Tracy, of Wyndmoor. They decided to establish the nonprofit foundation to host the bike race and ensure that 100 percent of the funds it raises goes directly to cancer research.
Several members of BBC’s board are cancer survivors themselves or have an immediate family member who was diagnosed with cancer.
According to the Center for Disease Control, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease. One of every four deaths in the United States is due to cancer.
Hall said the foundation is dedicated to advancing vital research where – typically – little to no funding exists.
Last year, the BBC raised $50,228 for cancer research.
The funds raised were donated to Penn Medicine’s Lymphoma program to fund cutting-edge research including immunotherapy and cancer vaccines. Immunotherapy is treatment that uses certain parts of a person’s immune system to fight diseases such as cancer.
Jennifer Pinto-Martin, a board member of BBC whose husband Muscoe Martin died of brain cancer last year, said recent cuts to research funding by the National Institute of Health make it difficult for young innovative scientists to qualify for federal funding.
“The National Institute for Health requires that researchers demonstrate the feasibility of the study they are proposing with pilot data, but it costs money to collect data,” Martin said. ”And junior researchers don’t have access to funds to do their pilot studies, so they are at a disadvantage when it comes to applying for large federal grants,They also have many of the most innovative ideas because they are the most recently trained.
“By providing a competitive pool of funds for junior faculty, the foundation is having a direct impact on the opportunities for Penn and junior faculty members to get funding from NIH. This year we are hoping to raise $150,000 and I think we will achieve that goal, thanks to the generosity and support of the community.”
For more information about the Breakthrough Bike Challenge or to make a donation, go to www.breakthroughbikechallenge.org.