Anne Feeley, a 55-year-old mother and brain cancer survivor, will cycle across the country this spring to raise awareness and money for brain cancer research and support.
The effort, called Brains on Bikes, will kick off April 9 as Feeley, joined by her friend and trainer Gundula Hennig and dog Walter, will kick off in San Francisco and ride into Washington, D.C. three months later. She aims to raise urgently needed funds on behalf of leading research institutions and support organizations such as the American Brain Tumor Association; Stand Up 2 Cancer; the Brain Tumor Center at the University of California, San Francisco; Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure; and cancer organizations in Europe.
After being diagnosed in 2006 with a glioblastoma multiforme tumor - the same disease Senator Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with – Feeley was told by doctors she would be lucky to see another year. The median survival rate of people with this type of cancer is 15 months. Today, after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, Anne is healthy, but her doctors say it's a question of when, not if, the cancer will return. So she's maximizing 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 was very lucky to be able to do these things, as many brain tumor patients become paralyzed or blind."
After working with a trainer for months doing 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 Hennig, Feeley – who is American but lives in London – has now climbed the three highest mountains in the UK in 24 hours, competed in the International Indoor Rowing Championship, and rode 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 4,171 mile journey.
With the costs of the campaign already covered, every dollar raised will directly fund badly needed research and patient support. Brains on Bikes is a charitable services Fund of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit organization which serves as its charitable fiduciary. All donations to Brains on Bikes are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law and will be disbursed to four leading charities:
- •American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) – to continue ABTA's mission of providing critical funding for brain tumor research and comprehensive information and compassionate support for brain tumor patients, families, and caregivers.
- Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) – to support research projects conducted by interdisciplinary, multi-institutional translational and clinical research "Dream Teams," as well as by young individual investigators conducting innovative, "high risk/high reward" research.
- Brain Tumor Center at the University of California, San Francisco – to continue the outstanding work, begun in 1920, of improving treatment for patients, and funding innovative and game-changing research in their efforts to eradicate brain tumors.
- Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) – to fund entrepreneurial research among medical centers, biotechnology companies, and pharmaceutical companies.
"We're looking for supporters, survivors, and partners along the route to meet, ride and have fun," said Feeley. "Together we can muster the will and funds needed to outsmart brain cancer."
Interested supporters, collaborators and donors are encouraged to visit brainsonbikes.org for more details, including Anne's story, her planned route and timetable, and information on how to make a contribution