Husband’s Love For Wife Inspires A 9,000 Mile Bike Trek To Raise Money For Ovarian Cancer Awareness & Cancer Prevention
Posted by Paul Cacciatore on May 14, 2009
On May 15, 2009, Craig Broeder Ph.D., FACSM, FNAASO will embark upon a 100-day bike trek that will take him to 32 U.S. cities as part of a 9,000 mile circumnavigation of the U.S. Since July 2008, Craig has been planning this trip to honor his wife, Kay, in her 20th year of surviving clear cell ovarian cancer — a rare and particularly aggressive/chemoresistant form of the disease. During the trip, Craig plans to raise $1 million dollars for ovarian cancer awareness and cancer prevention projects by inspiring one million individuals to contribute $1.00 dollar each. …
On May 15, 2009, Craig Broeder Ph.D., FACSM, FNAASO will embark upon a 100-day bike trek that will take him to 32 U.S. cities as part of a 9,000 mile circumnavigation of the U.S. Since July 2008, Craig has been planning this trip to honor his wife, Kay, in her 20th year of surviving clear cell ovarian cancer — a rare and particularly aggressive/chemoresistant form of the disease. During the trip, Craig plans to raise $1 million dollars for ovarian cancer awareness and cancer prevention projects by inspiring one million individuals to contribute $1.00 dollar each.
Craig Broeder is the Director of the Clinical Exercise Physiology Program at Benedictine University. Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois. Craig enjoys classic jazz music by Chick Corea and John Coltrane. On March 15, 1989, Kay Broeder was diagnosed with clear cell ovarian cancer at the age of 31. At that time, Craig and Kay had been married for a little over four years. Craig was attending the University of Texas in Austin, as a student in the school’s Exercise Physiology doctoral program. With the help of Ellen Smith, M.D., a board-certified gynecologic oncologist, and aggressive treatments consisting of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, Kay is alive to celebrate her 20th cancer remission anniversary in 2009. Clear cell ovarian cancer is a tough disease to beat in 2009; the thought of beating that same disease in 1989 is unfathomable. Every chance he gets, Broeder lovingly highlights his wife’s grit and determination throughout her cancer treatment, by reference to the fact that Kay only received cancer treatments on weekends so that she could work during the week and Craig could remain in the UT doctoral program. From the time of diagnosis to date, Dr. Broeder says that Kay moved from being a survivor to becoming a “thriver.”
Craig Broeder possesses great spiritually as a result of an extremely difficult early life experience. As a young man, Craig, who is also a North Texas State trained musician, wanted to play jazz music. But, he developed a significant hearing loss at the age of 25. Devastated by this experience, Broeder slipped into a deep depression and even considered taking his own life. About the same time, an old friend visited Craig and managed to change his mindset to one of life, not death.
Shortly after his friend’s visit, Craig sought help with his depression and adopted a lifestyle that involved healthy eating and exercise. This new lifestyle would ultimately lead Dr. Broeder to his current professional career. To this day, Craig believes that his friend’s visit was a blessing from God. In fact, Craig summarizes his spiritual life perspective on his website:
… I have tried to make a difference everyday because I realize more than many the distinction between existing without hope (My hearing loss and wife’s cancer) and living to provide hope to others through who we are and what we do in our lives. Our lives can make a difference for others. This [bike] trip continues my recovery journey through helping others while honoring the wife who stuck by me through thick and thin for 24 years, even when I was clearly far from the perfect husband.
Bicycling For Ovarian Cancer
Needless to say, cycling is more than a hobby to Craig Broeder. By way of illustration, Craigs puts more miles on his bike – approximately 14,000 – than on his car each year. “It is actually pretty cool to ride a bike,” says Broeder. “When you are on a bike that fits you properly, you are comfortable and as you go you see things you never see when driving along in a car looking out a tiny window. You have the wind in your face and you feel free.” Dr. Broeder elaborated upon the key motivations for his ride in an interview with the Naperville Sun:
… I want to make a personal and a professional difference to celebrate my wife’s survival of ovarian cancer, and acknowledge and celebrate each ovarian cancer survivor in a special way. Personally, I cannot envision the challenges I will face as an average Joe trying to go beyond his physical limits. But no matter what hardships I face on this journey, they are nothing compared to what every cancer patient faces — chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, loss of life quality, loss of job, family challenges and the potential loss of life. This ride is a cakewalk by comparison. …
Dr. Broeder’s training regime in preparation for the trip includes riding a stationary bike, which is programmed to simulate the 9,000 mile trek, for a minimum of three hours per day.”I knew I could ride across the United States if I paced myself,” Broeder said. Kay Broeder is also preparing for the trip. “I tell people what he’s doing and they’re like ‘Oh 900 miles’ … no add another 0,” said Kay. Kay expects to meet Craig in California during his trip.
On May 15, 2009, Craig will start his bike trek at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop located in Austin, Texas. Mellow Johnny’s is a symbolic starting point because Lance Armstrong, the iconic seven-time winner of the Tour de France and cancer survivor/advocate extraordinaire, owns the bike shop. The Lance Armstrong Foundation is providing Craig with inspirational Live Strong wristbands to hand out during the trip. Dr. Broeder’s bike trek will end at the same location on or about August 25, 2009, which is the same day as the Broeder’s 25th wedding anniversary.
The 9,000 mile bike trek, upon completion, will represent a circumnavigation of the U.S. Craig Broeder will begin the trip in Austin, Texas and then head west to California. From California, Craig will head north to Oregon and Washington State. From Washington State, Craig plans to bike east across the northern portion of the U.S., with passage through Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania. From Pennsylvania, the bike trek turns north and passes through New York State and New England before turning south to travel along the eastern U.S. coastal states down to Florida. From Florida, Craig Broeder will travel west along the southern U.S. states before returning to Austin, Texas. “I will ride 6 to 10 hours a day on average,” Broeder said. “The shortest [trip leg] is 89 miles in one day and my longest ride is 142 miles in a day.” The Google map below sets forth Craig Broeder’s anticipated bike trek path, including projected stops and arrival dates.
Throughout the trip, Dr. Broeder will ride a TitanFlex bike that is custom designed to make the 9,000 mile journey a bit easier on his body. Craig will have a support crew following him in a Toyota Highlander, which will be towing a Dooit Activity Trailer™ with sleeping accomodations, an extra bike, and spare bike parts. The support crew vehicle is being provided by Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. PureSports™ donated 1,200 drink hydration packets for Craig’s use during the trip, and VacuMed donated $5,000 to cover additional travel costs.
Dr. Broeder has maintained an updated training diary weblog to record his pre-trip training efforts and final trip preparations. Also, Craig will download his Global Positioning System (GPS) information to his website so readers and supporters can follow his journey while tracking his daily mileage and other exercise-related body statistics. All of this information will be available at the Bicycling For Ovarian Cancer website. Broeder will also communicate throughout this trip via his Twitter account (“jazzercb”).
Local & National Media Attention
Craig Broeder’s 9,000 mile/100-day bike trek and its mission to raise monies for ovarian cancer awareness and cancer prevention have received local and national media attention. Broeder’s story already appears in several print and online news articles (see Sources below). Bonnie Hunt, the two-time Golden Globe and Emmy Award-nominated actress, recently aired a 60 second promotion on The Bonnie Hunt Show which featured Craig’s upcoming bike trip. KXAN News, the local Austin NBC affiliate, aired a previously taped interview with Craig today. The KXAN News video story is provided below.
Cancer Ride, KXAN Video News Story
Supporting the Cause: The Kay & Craig Broeder Preventative Health Female Cancer Fund
In support of Dr. Broeder’s bike trek and his charitable mission, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) established the Kay and Craig Broeder Preventative Health Female Cancer Fund (the “Fund”). Dr. Broeder is the president of the ACSM Mid-West chapter. All public monies donated to the Fund will directly support ovarian cancer awareness and cancer prevention educational programs, as well as preventive health behavior research focused on exercise and nutritional interventions. The ovarian cancer awareness mission of the Fund is urgently needed because a woman’s recognition of the early warning signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer is currently the best weapon against the disease. The cancer prevention mission of the Fund is equally important in light of a recent NCI study that links obesity with increased risk of ovarian cancer.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” You may not be able to ride a bike 1 mile, to say nothing of 9,000 miles. But, you can be of service to this charitable cause by contributing at least $1.00 to the Fund. If you would like to make an online donation to the Fund, it is best to do so through the ACSM Foundation by clicking on the red “Donate Now!” button below. And, please take the time to learn the early warning signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer listed below. The life you save may be your own or that of a loved one.
Upcoming Documentary and Book
In addition to the Fund, Craig Broeder plans to create a documentary about his 100-day journey. He also plans to publish a book entitled, The Intimate Secrets of Surviving Ovarian Cancer. The stated goal of the book is to provide newly-diagnosed ovarian cancer survivors, and their families and friends, with inspiration provided by long-term survivors like his wife Kay. Broeder believes that the two companion projects will provide the public with a unique insight into the life changing impact of an ovarian cancer diagnosis upon a woman and her family. To this end, Craig invites all ovarian cancer survivors, and their family and friends, to share personal stories, letters, notes, and pictures that highlight the life changing effects of ovarian cancer. CLICK HERE to share your story (and related picture and document attachments) on Craig’s weblog.
About Ovarian Cancer
- Ovarian cancer can afflict adolescent, young adult, and mature women, although the risk of disease increases with age and peaks in the late 70s. Pregnancy and the long-term use of oral contraceptives reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
- Women who have had breast cancer, or who have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer may have increased risk. Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene increase risk. Women of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish ancestry are at greater risk for BRCA gene mutations than the general population. Another genetic syndrome, hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer, has also been associated with endometrial and ovarian cancer.
- Ovarian cancer incidence rates are highest in Western industrialized countries.
- Ovarian cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers among women and ranks #2 among gynecologic cancers.
- There were an estimated 21,650 newly diagnosed U.S. ovarian cancer cases in 2008.
- There were an estimated 15,520 U.S. ovarian cancer deaths in 2008.
- Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
- Ovarian cancer is not a “silent” disease; it is a “subtle” disease. Recent studies indicate that some women may experience persistent, nonspecific symptoms, such as (i) bloating, (ii) pelvic or abdominal pain, (iii) difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and/or (iv) urinary urgency or frequency. Women who experience such symptoms daily for more than a few weeks should seek prompt medical evaluation. (To learn more about the early warning signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, CLICK HERE).
- There is no reliable screening test for the detection of early stage ovarian cancer. Pelvic examination only occasionally detects ovarian cancer, generally when the disease is advanced. However, the combination of a thorough pelvic exam, transvaginal ultrasound, and a blood test for the tumor marker CA125 may be offered to women who are at high risk of ovarian cancer and to women who have persistent, unexplained symptoms like those listed above.
- If diagnosed at the localized stage, the 5-year ovarian cancer survival rate is 92%; however, only about 19% of all cases are detected at this stage, usually fortuitously during another medical procedure.
- For women with regional and distant metastatic disease, the 5-year ovarian cancer survival rates are 71% and 30%, respectively. The 10-year relative survival rate for all stages combined is 38%.
- Between 1987 and 2004, ovarian cancer incidence declined at a rate of only 0.9% per year.
- Cancer Ride, KXAN Austin Video News Story, KXAN.com, May 14, 2009.
- Man to ride 9,000 miles in wife’s honor – Personal journey will take 100 days across US, by Kate Weidaw, Austin News, KXAN.com, May 14, 2009.
- 2009 Bicycling for Ovarian Cancer Project, by Lori Rice, Charitymile.com, May 13, 2009
- Benedictine professor preparing for 9,000-mile bike ride around the U.S., by Joan Broz, Chicago Daily Herald online, May 4, 2009.
- Broeder bikes across America to raise cancer awareness, by P. Brozynski, Chicago Tribune Local online (Westmont), April 24, 2009.
- 9,000 miles for a cause – Cross-country bike trip to aid in cancer fight, Naperville Sun, Sun-Times News Group online, April 24, 2009.
- Around the country in 100 days – Professor Broeder to bike around U.S. to raise money for cancer, by Kit Alvear, The Candor (Student News Publication of Benedictine University), April 20, 2009.
- Leitzmann MF, Koebnick C, Danforth KN, et. al. Body mass index and risk of ovarian cancer. Cancer. 2009 Feb 15;115(4):812-22. PubMed PMID: 19127552.
- Cancer Facts & Figures 2008, Selected Cancers, Ovary, American Cancer Society (Adobe Reader PDF), p. 16.
- Craig Broeder, Ph.D. Twitter Feed, “jazzercb,” Twitter.com.
- Man honors wife’s cancer struggle with cross-country journey by bicycle, by Wehtahnah Tucker, The Coast News, June 4, 2009.
- Taking a ride against cancer, by Robby Gal, Casa Grande Valley Newspapers, June 4, 2009.
- “Bicycling for Ovarian Cancer” cyclist rides into Seattle on June 18, 2009, by Brenda Asheim, Examiner.com, May 15, 2009.