**This blog post was written by Kimmel Cancer Center development specialist Allison Rich.
For Te(5A)m, the Ride to Conquer Cancer is about far more than the miles. The team was founded by the oncology nurses from Unit 5A of the Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore – but the team members’ stories are far more diverse than their namesake would suggest. While each teammate’s reason for riding is unique, what brings Te(5A)m together is their cohesive goal – to move us one step closer towards eradicating cancer entirely.
For team member Kathie Garben, an oncology nurse herself, this goal strikes very close to home. Having beat cancer not once, but twice, her own experiences are what inspired her to go back to school to study nursing. Working with research and clinical trials throughout her nursing career, Kathie has seen firsthand the huge advances that researchers have made in the past several years alone. Beyond the research taking place at the laboratory bench, she has also seen the bravery of those patients who know there is not a cure for them, yet willingly participate in research trials in the hope of helping someone else down the road.
This is the lynchpin of why Kathie is gearing up to ride this September – to make others aware of the critical research that is taking place at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Sibley Memorial, and Suburban Hospitals, and to raise funds to support it. After first getting into cycling as a hobby, and then successfully taking on challenges such as the Five Borough Tour in NYC (twice!), the Ride to Conquer Cancer offered the perfect opportunity for Kathie to combine her desire to pay it forward with a sport that she loves.
For Ryan Close, the drive to participate in the Ride to Conquer Cancer is as deeply rooted as Kathie’s. Having battled cancer three times, Ryan first came to Johns Hopkins for treatment back in 2011. Having planned to get into cycling once he was well, Ryan received a bike from a close friend in celebration of conquering his disease. Since then, he has immersed himself fully into what is now his favorite activity – cycling – and has successfully completed a few centuries (100 mile rides), as well as a triathlon.
As Ryan describes it, the Ride to Conquer Cancer is a great way to pay tribute to the physicians and nurses who helped him beat his disease: “It’s a great way to give back – if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be around and wouldn’t be able to enjoy cycling as much as I do now.”
Long after the Ride has ended, the funds raised by Ryan, Kathie, and their teammates from Te(5A)m will continue to help accelerate discoveries that will make a difference in the lives of patients and their families. With only a few short weeks left before the opening ceremonies on September 13th, the team has a few more fundraisers planned to help them make it to the starting line.
To help riders and community members reach their fitness goals, the Maryland Athletic Club (MAC) has offered a “25 days for $25” deal, available to all first time MAC members, with proceeds going towards cancer research at Johns Hopkins. Additionally, on Wednesday, September 3rd, Te(5A)m will be hosting a spin class at the MAC in Harbor East. The hour long class will start at 7:15 PM, and a $25 donation covers the class as well as all-evening access to the MAC’s numerous amenities, such as the pool and hot tub. The class will also be followed by a free cool-down yoga class taught by the team’s own yogi, Halley Friedeman!
With the Ride to Conquer Cancer just around the corner, now is the time to come together to support all of our riders, patients, and families as we prepare to ride to victory this September. As Te(5A)m demonstrates, no matter why we choose to ride, we cannot do it without each other.