HOUSTON - While COVID continues to dominate the headlines, Cancer remains a leading killer in the nation.
The National Cancer Institute estimates 1.8 million new cases of cancer in 2020 and more than 600,000 deaths. Mortality rates have dipped over the years, but every success includes a challenge, and one Houston woman will soon join more than 200 cyclists riding coast-to-coast to bring awareness and money to the fight.
After a couple of MS-150 charity rides, Harolynn Adeniran figured she had a decent sense of the cycling experience, but quickly found the chance to ride the Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride is a whole new challenge.
"Now I feel like a cyclist, compared to before," she says.
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The ride, now in its sixth year, is sponsored by pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb, putting cancer-care professionals on the road for more than 3000 miles from Oregon to the Jersey shore. The group is divided into teams that will relay across the country, raising more than a million dollars for cancer research.
Harolynn's team is responsible for a 400-mile stretch between Rapid City, South Dakota to Sioux City, Iowa. The route is far from Texas, but the oncology nurse, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor and father is battling the disease, says it's a small price to pay.
"(There are) so many things that we don't know about this disease, yet, that we need the research," says Adeniran. "Patients need the research. My kids need the research. Future generations need to know how to battle this disease."
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That means battling the road, first. Like her teammates, the novice rider has been training relentlessly. A recent weekend included 150 miles of pedaling, with much more to come, ahead of her September adventure.
"My heart tells me to expect some tough moments," says Harolynn Adeniran. "But it also tells me that this is going to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my lifetime."
The Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride starts September 8 and finishes October 1. Harolynn begins her portion of the ride on September 20. You can learn more about the ride, or make a donation, at: www.cancerbikeride.org