Dr. Andrea LaCroix of Fred Hutch’s Public Health Sciences Division shares her thoughts on Obliteride—the fundraising bike ride geared to accelerate lifesaving cancer research at the Hutchinson Center. LaCroix is registered for the 25-mile ride and is team captain for the "WHI-Long Distance (WHILD) Riders."
Who are these 'WHILD Riders?' Are you still recruiting for your team?
We're a team of five from WHI-the Women's Health Initiative. We are long-distance riders and we're still recruiting, in case anyone wants to join us. Come experience the joy of being part of our team! So far we're all women, but we would welcome the other gender. We're not picky.
What's your best advice on how to raise a minimum of $1,000 for Obliteride?
Just get started. We need to support our cancer center, now more than ever. Try dividing your goal into small pieces like $20 or $30, then you'll have a smaller number to ask for when you encourage people to give.
Personally, I'm doing well, and as soon as I submit two more grants I'll be out there stomping again for Obliteride. I've already raised more than $700 of my $1,000 commitment.
Who are you riding for—and why?
I'm riding for my uncle Don—my father's brother. Uncle Don has had chronic lymphocytic leukemia since he was in his 30s, and lives today because he had a bone marrow transplant in 1997 at Fred Hutch. And that was right after I started working at Fred Hutch in 1996. He had to make a decision to either have a transplant or die young, and have a relatively unpleasant death. Uncle Don was turned down at several other cancer centers, but Fred Hutch accepted him and transplanted my father's bone marrow into him. It was a very rough year; there was an epidemic of respiratory syncytial virus and many patients didn't make it that winter, but he survived. Now he's about to turn 72, and was able to welcome his first grandchild into the world.
What's the best advice you've received about riding?
When peddling up a hill, look at the six feet in front of you, or look at the flowers on the side of the road. Don't focus on the hugeness of the hill or look all the way up.
What's the most fun you've ever had on a bike?
My best time on a bike was last summer biking with friends in the Canadian San Juan Islands for five days. I loved the water to my left or to my right, and the stunningly beautiful, rustic and serene towns that we visited. Some hills were insurmountable, at least for an untrained me, but there was always a cold drink and laughter at the end of the road.
What's your secret weapon—your key to Obliteride success?
I try not to carry concealed weapons. I would say, just be fully present and live each day with as much kindness as possible. All you need is love!
Join LaCroix and your Fred Hutch colleagues in the ride to end cancer. The time is now. Register to ride in, fundraise or volunteer for Obliteride at OBLITERIDE.ORG.