I read this info on a board I frequent about lung cancer. If my bike and I lived closer, I'd love to do this. Thought I would post it for any Texas folks that may be up for it. I'm just copying it from the other board, so apologies ahead of time if the formatting is all out of whack. I'll see if the guy that posted it can give me a direct link.

Biking fund-raiser set for lung cancer victim

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By Robin Y. Richardson, News Messenger

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bob Patel, an avid cyclist, thought he was the picture-perfect of health when he went to have a chest X-ray at the urging of his wife nearly two years ago.

"I was never sick," he said. "I just never had a need to go to the doctor. So, one day my wife says, You really need to go and have a physical.'"
Courtney Case/News Messenger
Bob Patel poses with his bicycle in his front driveway. The former hotel owner has Stage 4 lung cancer. A fund-raiser is set for Saturday, Sept. 12, to help him with medical costs.

At the time, Patel cycled an average of 60 miles and never doubted he was in good health.

Doctors even told Patel, who was 45 at the time, that he had the heart of a 25-year-old.

"His checkup was 100 percent nothing wrong," recalled Regina Patel, his wife. "I suggested the chest X-ray just kind of at the last moment."

The Patels are grateful she did because the next day, the same doctor, who praised Patel's seemingly stellar health, called with alarming news.

"He calls me up and says, 'Bob, there's something in the chest X-ray. We need to check it out,'" Patel recounted. "There it was."

The cyclist, who only smoked socially and had been quit of the habit for eight years at the time, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Doctors found the tumor in his left lung, which is hardly functioning.

"I'm using my right lung, pretty much," Patel explained.

The illness has caused a financial and emotional strain on his wife, Regina, and four children: Anuj, 21; Kristen, 20, Mackenzie, 14, and Leena, 7. It has been so taxing that the Patels' friends, Jeff and Tavia Bohanon, have organized a fund-raiser, Biking for Bob, to help defray medical costs the family has incurred.

"Me and my husband wanted to help him and his family," said Ms. Bohanon.

"For one, you feel so helpless being their friend that you can't do more," she continued, getting choked up. "I mean, you can pray with him, you can offer to help and cook and all those things, but that never seems enough and even this won't be enough, but we wanted to do something."

Her husband describes Patel s a good man and friend. The two have children around the same age and they both love the outdoors. They've even hiked together, completing about 140 miles on the Ozark Hiking Trail. They have 20 miles left.

"He's really had a rough time with this," Jeff Bohanon said of Patel's cancer. "He's fighting hard and he's an inspiration because he still rides his bike. It's amazing, especially with all the chemo treatment he's done and the type of cancer he has."

Because of Patel's zeal for cycling, Bohanon said he and his wife wanted to organize a fund-raiser around something he enjoys riding bikes.

"That's what we want to do something he loves," Bohanon said.

The Biking for Bob fund-raiser will be Sept. 12 from 7:30 a.m. to noon at Cypress Valley Bible Church.

Patel was surprised at the gesture, but thankful.

"It's awesome," he said of the fund-raiser. "It was unexpected. I had no idea."


The Bohanons had began planning the event while Patel was away in San Jose, Calif., last month, participating in Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG Challenge to raise money to help fellow cancer patients.

"They were trying to plan this behind my back while I was gone," Patel said. "It blew me away."

Since Patel is passionate about the Lance Armstrong Research Foundation, half of the proceeds will benefit Patel's medical needs while the other half will go to the foundation.

"If people do not want to have their money divided and want it to just go to the family or just go to the foundation, they can specify that," Ms. Bohanon indicated. "If they don't, it's going to be divided equally."

Those interested in participating, can pick up registration forms from designated locations throughout the city. Pre-registration forms along with the fee should be mailed to P.O. Box 458, Marshall, Texas, 75671, and addressed to Tavia Bohanon's attention.

"Biking for Bob" should be written in the memo. Make checks payable to Texas National Bank.

Ms. Bohanon hopes to raise at least $15,000 for the cause.

"Ultimately, we just want people there and giving," she said.

"It doesn't have to be a large amount," she stressed. "I know times are tough for everybody, including us, so that's why we try to make modest fees, but at the same time if people would (give), it adds up."

The registration fee for the advanced ride, which is 25 to 50 miles, is $50. The fee for the intermediate route, which is 10 to 25 miles, is $15.The fee for the "come and go" children's ride around the parking lot is $15.

Attendees who choose not to ride can come and watch Patel ride, meet him and make a donation.

"There's lots of different choices," Ms. Bohanan said, noting Patel mapped out the routes.


Although Patel's chemo treatments have slowed him down, it hasn't stymied his compassion to want to help others with cancer. The former hotel owner devotes his time in fighting against not only his cancer, but others' as well by participating in benefits such as the LIVESTRONG Challenge.

"Individually, it's difficult for me to do anything, but if you join with an organization like this, they do (fantastic) things," he said. "I want to try to help other people with cancer and one of the organizations is the Lance Armstrong Foundation, who really help people who have cancer. So, that's my mission."

Patel will participate in another fund-raiser in Austin, in October, riding 65 miles.

"And, I'm going to try to raise up to $7,000," he said. The cyclist raised $3,000 for Armstrong's LIVESTRONG Challenge, thanks to donations from family and friends. The foundation gives money to families to help with medical costs and lodging while receiving treatment.

"In order to go to Houston and be at M.D. Anderson, you have to have money," Ms. Patel expounded, noting lodging for a hotel near the hospital may cost $150 a night.

Treatments are also astronomical. One treatment Patel underwent cost him $52,000 a week. Others were more than $23,000. Insurance only covers about $1,000 for chemotherapy.

"If it's a $56,000 charge and the insurance only pays $1,000, you're left with the balance," Patel explained.

"You have to make a payment plan with every medical provider that you have and you have to continue that payment pan in order to receive chemo and that's one of the things that's the hardest thing when you're not making as much money as you were making to begin with," Ms. Patel added.

The Patels said people, like members at their church, Trinity Episcopal, have assisted them several times.

The family lost an income when Patel was diagnosed. Patel, a former hotel owner, had to sell his business.

"Because of my cancer, I cannot work," he said. "I can't do any other work so that's a whole income that's lost. Then, on top of that, we have to contend with cancer itself. So, that's a huge strain on my wife, my kids even friends. It's just a stressful situation to be put in that position."

Patel is on a new chemotherapy treatment now, which must be administered every four weeks at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

When he is not on chemo, or resting in bed from treatment, Patel likes to cycle every other day. It gives him peace of mind.

"I have to say, my cycling is definitely keeping me to where I am today," he said. "I don't think I'd be in this position if it wasn't for that. It keeps me motivated.

"I feel good after the ride," he continued. "And, you know, I have a family to fight for."

Ms. Patel urges others to include CT scans or X-rays in their check-ups. If her husband hadn't, the cancer probably would have not been discovered.

"The misconception is lung cancer is because you're a smoker," Ms. Patel said. "It's a cancer that you can get just from second-hand."

The Patels describe it as a silent cancer due to lack of symptoms.

"Even at the time, I had no pain. Even today, I don't cough or anything nothing," Patel said. "It's no symptoms, but yet I have stage four cancer."

Patel thanks the Bohanons for organizing the fund-raiser to help he and other cancer patients. He also thanks the public in advance for supporting it.

"Thank you for donating; thank you for just coming," he said.

Prizes will be given away including three, one-month memberships and three individual spin classes at Heavyweights Gym. Fruit and water will be provided.

Ms. Bohanon encourages the public to participate.

"We wanted to do this and we want the community to step up and help," she said, expounding how giving the Patels are. "I would like for the community to give back."