Brain Cancer Survivor Kicks Off Cross-Country Bicycle Journey With Celebration at UCSF

Saturday, April 10, 2010 General News
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Brains on Bikes raises funds to 'outsmart brain cancer'

SAN FRANCISCO, April 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/

-- Anne Feeley, a 55-year-old mother and brain cancer survivor, began a 3,781-mile ride across the country today to raise money and awareness for brain cancer research and support.

The effort, called Brains on

Bikes, kicked off from the University of California, San Francisco Mission Bay campus following a celebration that included remarks by Dr. Michael Prados, director at the UCSF Division of Translational Research in Neuro-Oncology and Russ Pieper, vice chair at the UCSF Department of Neurological Surgery.

Feeley is scheduled to ride into Washington, D.C. for a finish-line celebration in early July. She is joined in the journey by her friend and trainer Gundula Hennig and dog Walter. She aims to raise $3 million on behalf of UCSF's Brain Tumor Research Center, as well as Stand Up 2 Cancer, the American Brain Tumor Association, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, and other charities.

After being diagnosed in 2006 with a glioblastoma multiforme tumor -- the same type of brain cancer that afflicted the late Senator Ted Kennedy -- Feeley was told by doctors she would be lucky to see another year. According to the National Brain Tumor Society, the life expectancy of a person with this cancer is 12 to 14 months -- the same as it was almost one hundred years ago. Now she's giving back the time she never thought she'd have.

"The odds were terrible," said Feeley. "It was overwhelming, but I felt a need to keep moving, doing whatever exercise possible to get through the debilitating effects of chemotherapy. Exercise is my way of fighting -- a way to focus on positive feelings and get strong. I am very lucky to be able to do these things."

After working with a trainer for months on gentle walking, lifting and eventually jogging, Feeley ran a half-marathon and started doing yoga. During the course of radiation treatments, she started riding a bike back and forth to the hospital. Eventually cycling became a major part of her exercise program.

Together with Gundula, Feeley has now climbed the three highest mountains in the United Kingdom in 24 hours, competed in the International Indoor Rowing Championship, and ridden 135 miles across Britain. These challenges, in addition to running a business and raising a family, have prepared her for the cross-country feat of Brains on Bikes -- a 3,781-mile journey.

"Anne's response to treatment shows that we can have successful outcomes in cancers like glioblastoma, but additional research is critical to improving survival rates," said Prados.  "UCSF is unwavering in its commitment to research and clinical advances that bring real outcomes to patients and result in improved understanding of the disease and its processes. And, thanks to efforts like Brains on Bikes, we're gaining traction."

With the costs of the campaign already covered, every dollar raised will directly fund badly needed research. Less than 5 percent of patients diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme tumor live more than three years. This mortality rate has been unchanged for a decade.

"We're looking for supporters, survivors, and partners along the route to meet, ride and even party with us like we did here in San Francisco today," said Feeley. "Together we can muster the will and funds needed to outsmart brain cancer."

Current sponsors include ZimFit, RoadID, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Puppia International, Flexi, Choice Organic Teas, and Bob's Red Mill.

Interested supporters and donors are encouraged to visit, follow her on Twitter or join her Facebook page, where she will be sharing stories from her journey, her planned route and timetable, as well as a list of events.

SOURCE Brains on Bikes


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