After he was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2013, Jamie was told by doctors that he’d never walk again, let alone ride a bike. Despite those predictions, he finished a 540-mile ride in June 2019 to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
It started with extreme back pain in the fall of 2013. Then one night, he suddenly lost all feeling in both legs. After his wife rushed him to the ER, he spent six hours in surgery. He was diagnosed with stage 3 multiple myeloma. During his operation, doctors discovered that he had spinal cord compression and two lesions on his back, where the cancer had eaten away at the bones, causing his vertebrae to break. He was told he may loose his ability to walk. But Jamie never lost hope.
“I was like, I’m going to walk. I’m going to prove them wrong,” said Jamie. “I’m going to bike again.”
He started walking with assistance a few months later after his operation. He credits his wife and two children as being a big part of his motivation to get better. He knew how hard it would be for his wife to take care of two young children on her own. And so, as his daughter was learning to take her first steps, Jamie found himself relearning how to walk, too.
In June 2019, he participated in America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, for the first time in 2015 with LLS’s Team In Training program. But it was not just about getting back on the bike, it was about giving back, too—the money raised on the ride goes toward funding cancer research. With every $100,000 raised, you can select a specific research portfolio to contribute to, so that the money can go towards research for a specific cancer. So far, Jamie and his team, Tour 2 Cure, have contributed towards two portfolios, one for multiple myeloma and one for cancer immunotherapy.
This year, Jamie wanted to do something different. Along with completing the standard 100 miles, he decided he wanted to get to the starting point by bike. This meant he would have to ride 440 miles from his home in Santa Clarita, California, to Lake Tahoe. He set out on May 23, 10 days before the start of the charity ride and reached Lake Tahoe on May 31, with enough time to recover before the 100-mile ride on June 2. As he approached town, friends and teammates rode alongside him at various points. Others lined the
Though he’s in remission, Jamie still gets treated with a Zometa infusion every three months to harden his bones and protect him against further breaks. He also takes a chemo pill once a month, which causes the neuropathy. Since going into remission, he has participated in 11 half marathons, three marathons, one triathlon, and an Ironman-distance duathlon, in addition to the charity rides. He’s already planning the ride for next year.