Go Time is Tomorrow!

It’s almost go time.

Yup, tomorrow we are at it again and we are ready to ride!

Leaving from SAP for the inaugural Ride Hard Breathe Easy

It’s hard to believe, but it was almost one year ago that we made our way out of SAP’s Newtown Square campus at the start of an epic 52-day journey across America.  We rode 3,533 miles, met hundreds of people and laughed and (I) cried every day.  The results were fantastic, and we decided to give it another go this year. And after nine months of planning and countless conference calls, it’s finally GO TIME!

Again, Many Hands Make Light Work

Like last year’s ride, this ride does not happen without the many people who dedicated their time to be a part of Ride Hard Breathe Easy.  And I am especially grateful for the support and help I have received from dozens of colleagues at SAP.  I work for the best company in the world, one whose purpose is to “Make the world a better place and improve people’s lives”!

There will be a new SAP site to track our progress which you can access on Thursday at https://www.ride4lungs.com.  We also have an SAP partner, Telit, providing equipment to track our progress and make the ride safer.

Mom with Bonnie at The Philadelphia 5K in 2011

In addition, we have the unwavering support from The Bonnie J Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and Lung Cancer Alliance again this year.  And we are happy to welcome The Lung Cancer Awareness Month Coalition and The International Firefighters, Local 22 from Philadelphia into the fold.

The Lung Cancer Awareness Month Coalition help to raise awareness, change perceptions, dispel stigma and amplify the voices of lung cancer patients, advocates, caregivers and health care professionals.  Through this ride and the ride in November, we will have the legs and support of 30+ other organizations  in their coalition across the world who fight lung cancer every day.  Kristin and team, thank you for being a part of what we do and helping us to grow!

There are also so many other people to thank like Bob Burke, Jen Campbell, Mike Muller, Bill Avington, Kevin Ryan, and the list goes on.  And I am so grateful to The Prep for hosting our start.  Mom and Dad LOVED this school and they were very proud that their five sons graduated from this great school.

In addition, The International Firefighters, Local 22 will be there because paramedics and firefighters are approximately 25% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, and we decided to donate a portion of our proceeds this year to go directly to helping them with better screening.  I am excited to hear from Ed Marks, President of Local 22, at our celebration tomorrow before leaving.

Mom, most importantly, tomorrow, we ride for you.  You still make me smile every day, thinking of your many sayings, and remembering how you loved all of us uniquely and deeply.

Team, it’s Go Time!  Thank you, and let’s do some riding!!

Encore, Encore!

By: Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President and CEO of Lung Cancer Alliance

Encore.  Encore!

An encore is described as “something that follows a success.”

Last year, John Matthews found success with Ride Hard Breathe Easy. The cross-country bike ride took John coast to coast, from Philadelphia to San Francisco, over the course of 52 days to honor his mother and the lung cancer community.  In the process, he raised $93K for Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) and The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF).

But John is not done. In fact, he plans to raise another $100K this year while continuing his mission to raise $1M to support awareness efforts.

John’s encore is a continuation of his unwavering commitment to the lung cancer community – this time on two fronts!

This Thursday, Ride Hard Breathe Easy starts in Philadelphia and will cross eight states before ending in Washington, DC on September 14. I had the privilege of meeting John for the first time a few years ago in DC during our National Advocacy Summit. I heard the same deeply personal story he shared with members of Congress about how lung cancer had impacted his life and knew then that he had the drive to accomplish so much for the cause. Last month, at the most recent Summit, I was honored to present John with the 2018 Volunteer Leadership and Advocacy Award for his many contributions to lung cancer advocacy including Ride Hard Breathe Easy.

Join Me and Ride with John in November!

The second element of this year’s campaign will take place this November during Lung Cancer Awareness month. The Ride Hard Breathe Easy Challenge is an effort to mobilize volunteers no matter where they are located to raise awareness for lung cancer by biking a combined total of 24,901 miles (enough miles to circle the globe!).

Lung Cancer Advocates are a Key to our Success

Advocates, like John, play a crucial role in changing minds and educating people about lung cancer by sharing their own, real-world, perspective about what this disease can do to individuals and families. Lung cancer remains the leading cancer killer nationwide, claiming more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined, yet, sadly, people still think of lung cancer as a smoker’s disease even though 80 percent of those diagnosed are former or never smokers. Through this effort, John not only honors his mother’s memory, but also serves as a shining example of how one person can make a difference by bringing their energy and conviction to a cause.

We are there for you, John and Team

This year, LCA again joins ALCF to support Ride Hard Breathe Easy. We can accomplish so much more when we are on the same page fighting for greater compassion for our community who often find indifference and stigma following a lung cancer diagnosis.

We encourage you to join John on this year’s journey. Follow him on social media, connect with him on the route, commit your riding miles or send a donation. Go here to learn more.

We’re proud to be on your team, John! See you at the finish line!

A Dedicated Group Fighting Lung Cancer

We begin on Thursday, August 23!

Ride Hard Breathe Easy 2018 rides again in eight days, and we are so excited to get on the road, pedaling for everyone impacted by lung cancer.  Last year, I rode across the country with amazing support from family, friends and SAP colleagues.  Well, we are at it again, and this group of dedicated people is ready for the challenge.

A New Approach in 2018

Our approach has shifted so that many more people are involved this year on the bike.  We have over 30 people dedicated to riding in the outdoor ride which ride starts starting August 23rd.  And we will “Ride Around the World” in November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month,and currently over 300 people are getting ready to ride!

Daily tributes make the ride that much more special

And what makes this ride so special is how we dedicate each day to a person diagnosed with lung cancer.  We are truly showing the face of cancer, and as you will see every day again this year, lung cancer does not discriminate.  Anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.

You say you want to help?

Great!  Don’t worry, it’s easy, and you too can make a difference.

  1. Ride with the 300+ people dedicated to riding with us in November by joining the Ride Hard Breathe Easy Club.  And while you are at it, get someone to join with you.  Your mile(s) will count, and our goal is to get to 1,000 people riding for lung cancer this November.
  2. Let us know if you want a day dedicated to a loved one in November.  Either do your own tribute using #rhbetribute or contact us at tribute@rhbe.org 
  3. Donate HERE.  Over 90% of the money raised will again go to our programs.  And we are honored to work with the International Association of Fire Fighters and Paramedics Local 22 in Philadelphia so a portion of what we raise will help them with improved screening.
  4. Join us at “The Prep” for the start.  Festivities begin at 8:00 and we will begin riding at 9:00.  For those on Facebook, learn more HERE.

Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the world, and we are dedicated to making a difference.  Are you dedicated?

#rhbetribute

“Many Hands Make Light Work”

 

 

Go Prep! And Go John and Ride Hard Breathe Easy!

By Rev. Chuck Frederico, SJ, Senior Director of Mission and Ministry, St. Joseph’s Prep

Rev. Chuck Frederico

As a Jesuit, I repeatedly encounter many wonderful people and the gifts with which they serve the People of God. Ignatian-rooted men and women so often take seriously that mandate to go forth and change the world. We are called to witness as the hands and feet of God in all we do, to bring his love and mercy to all who need it.

The Gesu Church at The Prep

What John Matthews, a proud graduate of St. Joseph’s Prep, and his family have done to raise awareness and much needed money for lung cancer research is truly remarkable. So many see something and wish for it to be different but so few actually take that next step and do something to make the change happen. This endeavor is that step; this endeavor embodies what we mean as “the hands and feet of Christ” in our world, working to change the reality of those suffering from this horrible disease and accompanying those who love them.

I truly believe that moments like this are graced. When life seems dark, God provides a sliver of light. When the darkness of lung cancer hits, that sliver might be the hope that people like John offer. Not only is John riding to raise money, but he is honoring the men and women who have suffered, most especially his mother Kathleen. What an incredible gift to the world and to her legacy!

Preppers finishing in San Fran

John, institutionally and personally, I say thank you. Your alma mater is incredibly proud of the work you are doing and the great act of service you are providing. Thank you for embodying Christ — on that bike, in those planning sessions, and in witnessing to those groups.

Thank you for sharing that sliver of hope for the suffering. Thank you for using your gifts to change the world. May God bless you and be with you.

My Grandmom was awesome!…and I miss her

 

By Colette Owens, youngest blogger EVER for Ride Hard Breathe Easy!

My Grandmom was the best

My Grandmom died from lung cancer when I was only five years old, and I don’t remember very much about her. One of the things that I do remember about her is how loving and caring she was, and how she always brought my siblings and me strawberries when she came over. I believe that I am very lucky to have such amazing uncles and aunts that are so supportive and always there to make things better.  My Grandmom used to say, “Many hands make light work.” On Saturday, some of my friends and family came together to participate in Ride Hard Breathe Easy’s first ever team bike ride.

My Uncle has two names!!

My Uncle Jack, (you may know him as John), invited anybody who wanted to come to help spread Ride Hard Breathe Easy’s mission. You could help even if you weren’t riding a bike. My Aunt Beth and my sister, Bridget, handed out fliers and told many people about Ride Hard Breathe Easy, while several other people just simply rode as far as they wanted to on their bike. You could ride 2 miles, or 20 miles depending on how far you wanted to go.

Many Hands, Indeed, DO Make Light Work

There was plenty of food and water to go around, and any person was welcome to join Ride Hard Breathe Easy. Everybody there wanted to help whether it was by riding a bike, or handing out fliers. There was no right or wrong way to help spread the mission. Everybody worked together, and supported each other as we came together last Saturday. At the end of the day, I could really see how Many Hands Make Light Work!  

Will you join us?

You can donate or learn more on the Ride Hard Breathe Easy website.  And you too can be a part of Ride Hard Breathe Easy by signing up on Strava and riding with us in November!

WHAT. A. Day!

Going to The Hill!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of going to Capitol Hill with 150+ lung cancer advocates, looking for improvements to lung cancer funding and research. The commitment and passion of each advocate runs deep, and the stories are very personal and were met with empathy and love.

Whether it was the woman whose husband died of lung cancer at the age of 30, four months after their wedding. Or the marathon runner who has run 19 marathons since her diagnosis. Or the formal NFL football player whose wife died at 37 of lung cancer. Or the teacher from Tennessee who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and is advocating and raising money for lung cancer every day. Or whether it is about Beth and me, whose Moms were each diagnosed with lung cancer.

This group of incredible people will continue to fight and advocate for better research and funding for the number one cancer killer in the world. And yesterday, we walked the Halls of Congress all day to get more support from our government.

We did Pennsylvania Proud!

John Nissim, Beth and I represented the great state of Pennsylvania. We were warmly greeted by the legislative aides from the offices of Representative Bob Brady, Representative Mike Doyle, Representative Dwight Evans, Representative Brendan Boyle, Senator Pat Toomey and Senator Bob Casey.

They each will do what they can to support our two main asks:

1 – Co-sponsor the “Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act of 2018”

2 – Approve $20M in FY19 Defense Appropriation for Lung Cancer Research

In addition, I am happy to say that the Ride Hard Breathe Easy Challenge was met with great enthusiasm and many advocates (and their families) will ride in November while we “Ride Around the World”. We also received the same enthusiasm during each of our meetings in Congress!  Everyone loved our new video!

In the evening, Dana Quinn and I each received Lung Cancer Alliance’s 2018 Volunteer and Leadership and Advocacy Award. Dana dedicates an extraordinary amount of time and effort advocating for all lung cancer patients, and was an integral part in planning the 10th Annual National Advocacy Summit.

Many Hands Make Light Work

My recognition was because of the work that the 100+ people did last year and are doing this year with Ride Hard Breathe Easy. I humbly accepted this award on behalf of all of us, once again proving what Mom said so often. “Many Hands Make Light Work.”

So, as we continue forward with our work, I think of two things

First, anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.

Secondly, anyone can get on any bike and ride any distance…and be an important part of the Ride Hard Breathe Easy Challenge

And as always, please consider donating to our cause at www.rhbe.org