At 6 am on Saturday morning, it was just light enough to head out on my bike for my 50-mile VeloSano ride. It was pretty hard to be out there alone with the deer and the occasional coyote crossing my path, with enough water and a snack to make it back by 9:30 before the heat of the day. Later, a number of VeloSano riders along River Road comfortably accelerated past me, as they always do, waving and weaving wide into the road to maintain a safe social distance. It was a great time of day and the humidity had not yet set in until I reached the top of the hill at Fairmount, luckily the end of my ride.
So, why do I do this? Why do I ride for VeloSano? I’m often criticized for a variety of reasons – none important or lasting.
I ride because we have a heck of a lot we need to do in cancer research - just like in COVID research - to improve the world, to better understand these complex diseases, and eventually improve treatments and discover new approaches for our cancer patients.
I ride because investing in all of you, and encouraging you all to take on a new project, to think outside the box, to take the risk that you couldn’t otherwise, to ask tough questions, to develop transdisciplinary cross-institutional collaborative efforts, should help you answer those questions and more. If we are to improve medical care in general, and cancer care in particular, the only way I know is evidence-based discovery, dissemination and practical application. Our joint efforts in highly collaborative research across our institutions without a barrier of interest, affiliation or employment is what makes us unique.
As I have taken on the deanship, I realize that the cancer center truly is a unique platform for engagement and collaborative effort. All we need is to set aside other distractions and put our minds to new questions and new approaches. That is what we are remarkably good at.
Keep pedaling, keep writing (and writing) and keep inventing. Finally, be sure to join us for the cancer center's two-day retreat on Thursday and Friday this week.
Stan Gerson, MD
Director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center