The mission of DESTINATION X RIDE (DXR) is to save lives by unleashing awareness on the masses about three related conditions impacting thousands of people, including me and my family: colorectal cancer, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and desmoid tumors by broadcasting the message as widely and as loudly as possible that early screenings can prevent much more serious stages of these diseases. It is my hope that as I ride across the country each year and meet with other patients and families they are inspired by DXR and can see that having your colon removed and/or diagnosis with these diseases is far from the end of the road but can be the launching place for expressing your passion and being of service.
My inspiration: In 1978, just four years after his diagnosis, my family lost my father to colon cancer via FAP when he was at the very young age of 32. Over the years we learned that, like so many people, my dad’s colon cancer would not only have been treatable but 100% preventable if he simply had a colonoscopy a few years earlier before his polyps developed into cancer.
Despite all of the information we know today about the simple and effective means of preventing colorectal cancer through early detection of pre-cancer colon polyps, far too many people are denied colorectal screenings due to lack of insurance and the misconception in the medical and insurance fields that colorectal cancer is a disease only effecting older adults. Although each year approximately 25,000 patients under the age of 50 are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the current insurance standard is still to only provide colonoscopies and other related screenings to people over the age of 50.
I want to spare other families from experiencing the devastating loss that mine has gone through by raising awareness of the importance of screenings at all ages, empowering people to get the screenings they need as well as to provide information and connection in community to make the experience of survivorship about thriving not just surviving.
Like my father, and my siblings, and my niece and nephew, I have the condition of FAP and had my colon removed when I was 18 years old to prevent it from turning into colon cancer. I want to show other survivors, whether colon-less and living with FAP, colon cancer and desmoid tumors, or really any other condition compromising their bodies and challenging their sense of what life with illness looks like, that their diagnosis does not have to define them or stop them from enjoying life and not only living their dreams but creating new ones. That is what Destination X Ride represents.
A special and very important part this ride, is the 500UNDER50BEFORE50 project, in which I will photograph the faces of 500 colorectal cancer survivors who have been diagnosed under the age of 50 before I turn age 50 (on March 6, 2017), demonstrating not only that colon cancer can strike at any age but the diversity and strength of our community. There are many cancer organizations working to change insurance laws and medical practices to make colorectal screening available to everyone who needs it, regardless of age and insurance coverage, and 500UNDER50BEFORE50 is a part of that community vision and goal.
Another very important aspect of this ride photographing the faces and gathering the stories of fellow FAP and desmoid tumor survivors for MY TRIBE. These photos and stories will be continuously added. With rare diseases like FAP and desmoid tumors, many patients never have an opportunity to meet even one other person with the same diagnosis, and sharing survivorship stories online is a critical way for patients to connect and share hope.
2013 RIDE PARTNERS.
An important part of this ride is to connect the public with organizations that are doing truly amazing things for patients and generating funding for much needed research and survivor support. With that said, meet the official 2013 Destination X Ride Partners: Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation/Scope It Out 5k, Get Your Rear in Gear 5k, Colon Cancer Alliance/Undy 5000 5k . The run/walk events hosted by these organization will be where I connect with and photograph survivors across the United States. Click here to see a map of the official ride event stops.
Last but definitely least, I would like to thank Ducati, who has sponsored the ride for the past two years. This year Ducati has generously donated the use a world class touring bike, the Multistrada 1200 S Granturismo, riding gear and service and repair along the road, making the ride safe and comfortable as well as thrilling.
HELP ME RAISE MORE THAN AWARENESS.
Click here to donate to the Ride Partner of your choice or to donate to DESTINATION X RIDE to help me connect with as many survivors as possible and add more portraits to the FACEiT and 500UNDER50BEFORE50 projects. The more participating survivors, the more impact that will be generated. While I build the scope of the ride and develop more sponsors for next year, the funding for DESTINATION X RIDE this year comes entirely from the personal donations of other patients, friends and family. I ride on a very lean budget. A donation of $25 will cover a full tank of gas and a meal, which is needed every day of the ride.
Click here to see how much of this big country I am riding through to connect with patients and organizations. With over 8,000 miles to cover, all donations will be very much appreciated and help me reach my destinations.
Please take the time to check out this website. It offers many ways to get involved and learn more about DESTINATION X RIDE, FACEiT Project and the colorectal community.
I hope that you will join me for the fight and for the ride. See you on the road.