Obliteride is a communitywide movement to fund cancer research at Fred Hutch. Obliteride participants bicycle and walk together annually — focusing on possibilities, celebrating discovery, embracing our fears, relishing in laughter and sharing a belief that we will help cure cancer faster.
Learn how you can join Gregg Palmer and participate in Obliteride at obliteride.org.
In 2017, Obliteride raised $2.8 million for cancer research at Fred Hutch. Cures start here — because of you.
I will be riding a bike with Jerry in a few weeks — without my Hickman line — at the Obliteride fundraiser in Seattle on Aug. 11. Pascia and I are both looking forward to the ride and to come back to that beautiful city of Seattle that was so instrumental in saving my life.
About my transplant
It feels like a dream, and even today I can't believe I actually went through such a big ordeal. I was just there for the ride, and what a helluva ride it was! Never in a million years would I ever have thought my 30th birthday party would be in the cancer wing of a hospital.
I was confined to a laminar airflow room, commonly known as “the bubble.” [A laminar airflow room, or LAF, is an isolated, sterile room meant to protect immune-compromised patients from infection.]
People ask me all time: What was the hardest part of the transplant regimen?
- Prednisone. That was some nasty stuff. I remember eating like an escaped convict at the Safeway cookie aisle. [The side effects of the drug include weight gain.]
- Bone marrow aspirations — ouch!
- Being on grounded status after seeing my United Express airplane flying by from my hospital window in the LAF room.
- The separation from my nurses after I was discharged to go back home to Atlanta. I wanted to call them 75 times a day as I felt so insecure without them. To this day, I respect a registered nurse like nobody could ever imagine. When you’re down in the trenches, they are there!
Here's another thing I hear all the time: Hey Gregg, were you scared during the transplant? At this point, I should possibly use a macho pilot response and say, “Of course not!” or, “Piece of cake!” However, I was scared big time. But I masked my fears with humor, which really helped me get through it all. I laughed my way through the bone marrow transplant — a classic case of false bravado. I honestly feel that a “never give up” attitude is essential to beating cancer or any other types of major illness.
My recovery was not easy. I tried to do too much too soon and, as a result, had many setbacks. Riding my bike to outpatient visits shortly after discharge from the LAF was not my smartest move to date. Plus my brother took me for a Rainier Brewery tour two days after major surgery to remove my 8-pound leukemic spleen. I finally made it to the tasting room with the aid of a cane as I watched three additional brewery tours pass me along the way!