By Kristina Houck
After being diagnosed with stage-4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2000, Patrick Connor avoided a bone marrow transplant by participating in a late-stage clinical trial.
Cancer free for 13 years, Connor is now executive director of Pedal the Cause, a cycling fundraiser that will support cancer research in San Diego.
“For anybody who has been impacted by cancer, whether they supported a loved one or whether they’re a patient or a survivor, this is an opportunity for them to ride and raise money right along with the doctors and the hospital staff who have made such a difference in their lives,” Connor said. “This is a wonderful platform for cancer advocates in the community to give back and contribute to the research that can one day find a cure for cancer.”
With several courses of varying length, Pedal the Cause will take place Oct. 26-27, between La Jolla and Julian. All proceeds will benefit UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and the Salk Institute – three institutions that recently joined forces to further cancer research under the name San Diego National Cancer Institute Cancer Centers Council.
Having participated in his third Ironman Triathlon two weeks after his diagnosis, Connor said events like Pedal the Cause offer a supportive community for cancer patients, survivors and advocates.
“Endurance sports and athletics really provided an important platform for me as I was going through cancer and coming out of it,” Connor said. “Cancer survivors are optimistic and they are determined. I’ve seen how events like this really help people.”
Fitness and nutritional specialist Kate Deering is participating in the one-day ride, and has already raised $3,800 of her $5,000 fundraising goal.
The local resident learned about the event from her client, Bill Koman, a two-time lymphoma survivor who founded Pedal the Cause in St. Louis in 2009.
“Whether you’re a cyclist, been touched by cancer or just want to support this community, it’s a great opportunity to get involved in this event,” Deering said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. You can’t ask for a more beautiful place to ride in.”
Del Mar resident and triathlete Jodi Kennedy is participating in the two-day course. The mother of four lost her father to cancer when she was 9 years old and her uncle several years later. Her sister has also battled three types of cancers.
“Cancer hits everybody,” Kennedy said. “It’s something that we just have to find a cure for. Anything that I can do to push that along, I certainly want to do.”
For more information and to register for Pedal the Cause, visit