Larry Corey: What drives this cycling novice to train for Obliteride

Fred Hutch president and director hopes others will see the Aug. 9-11 ride as a chance for people of all ages and biking ability to connect with and help sustain the ‘great cancer research center in their community’
Larry Corey
Fred Hutch President and Director Dr. Larry Corey Photo by Bo Jungmayer

Dr. Larry Corey didn’t learn to ride a bike until he was 30, but don’t be surprised when you see him pedaling around his Mercer Island neighborhood during the early morning hours.

Corey is joining hundreds of other riders and training for Obliteride, the Aug. 9-11 bike ride to help accelerate Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s fight to end cancer. His involvement shows that riders from a wide range of experience and age levels can participate.

“If you wanted to pick the one sport I am not good at, it’s cycling. But you know what? I’m out there learning,” said Corey, who is president and director of Fred Hutch.

Corey is taking the ride seriously. He is working with a bike coach, riding with his wife and has even embraced one of the more noteworthy aspects of cycling culture. “I’ve never worn spandex before in my life, and probably never again,” he said with a laugh.

How Obliteride personifies Fred Hutch

Obliteride is helping to rally the community to embrace an active lifestyle, advocate for wellness and most importantly, support cancer research. For Corey, the event personifies the Center, which was founded to pioneer bone marrow transplantation. The procedure, which has now been conducted more than 1 million times around the world, was developed to treat two cancers that often strike young people: leukemia and lymphoma.

“So having something like this, an event that is geared toward the younger adult, is really befitting of the Center and our culture,” Corey said. “Hopefully it will capture the spirit and imagination of our own employees as well as the city.”

Obliteride promises to not only raise funds and establish a direct connection between the Center and the community, but also give people an opportunity to communicate what they feel is important in cancer research. “It’s a two-way street,” Corey said.

Corey said it is important for people to understand that if they want a great cancer research center in their community, they must help sustain it.

Currently, Corey is committed to a 50-mile ride, one of four distances riders can complete for Obliteride. But, he is working toward the longest option of 180 miles, so don’t be surprised if Corey goes from cycling novice to cycling enthusiast by this August.

You too can register for the Aug. 9-11 Obliteride and support lifesaving research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Thanks to sponsors, 100 percent of every dollar raised will directly benefit Fred Hutch's cancer research.

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