|Update - September 8, 2008|
|Well, we finished another successful ride for Kidney Cancer. Despite Tropical Storm Hanna's efforts to wash us away and blow us off of our bikes, six of us braved the morning weather to begin the ride. Quickly, it turned out to be a beautiful day, reaching about 80 sunny degrees with only mild winds. Only a few miles into the ride, Rod made acquaintance with a stick, which caught in his wheel, snapped his derailleur and bent a part of his frame. Kasia and I waited with him for the SAG help. Somehow, the timing of the accident was not aligned with the stars and the wait was long. I biked 4 miles back to a sign advertising a bike shop and then returned to Rod and Kasia who were counting the bikers passing by and trying to think up the best answer when asked, "Is everything ok?". We called the bike shop who came quickly and eventually fixed the bike at their shop. By now, Leszek was whizzing past his 50 mile mark and Konrad and Jim were about an hour behind him. With our long delay behind us, we rejoined the ride midway and had a great rest of the day. The final 10 miles were hard for all of us, whether we did 50 miles or 100 miles. Afterwards, like always, we basked in the glory of having completed the ride successfully and the feeling of our bodies still burning calories for hours after the ride. Sitting on the porch with a cold drink, I thought about Lech and how I wished I could tell him about the ride like I did last year. With Konrad completing his first Century Ride, I knew that Lech would have been so proud of his son.|
Thank you everyone who has supported the ride and our efforts to raise money to fight Kidney Cancer. If you have not donated money yet, you can still do so by sending a check written to the "Kidney Cancer Association", which can be mailed to either of the following addresses:
197 Ledgewood Drive
Hanover, MA 02339
Kidney Cancer Association
in honor of Lech Zalewski
1988 Momentum Place
Chicago, IL 60689-5319
Online donations can be made directly to the KCA by clicking the following link:
Click to Support Kidney Cancer
Update - December 12, 2007
Here are the Eulogies from the funeral service.
Update - December 1, 2007
Unfortunately, after more than 5 years battling with the disease, Lech passed away in the early morning of December 1, 2007. His remarkable approach to living with cancer was an inspiration to everyone whose lives he touched. Thank you to everyone who cared about him and made him happy!
Wake: Tuesday, December 11 from 4pm to 8pm
Richard J. Ross Funeral Home
135 South Street
Wrentham, MA 02093
Funeral Mass: Wednesday, December 12 from 11am to ~12noon
- followed by a burial service at the Blue Hill Cemetary, Braintree
- followed by a reception at the Sons of Italy on Quarry St. in Quincy.
Our Lady of Czestochowa
655 Dorecester Avenue
Boston, MA 02127
Ride Update - September 12, 2007
Thank you all for your support, whether in the form of a donation to the Kidney Cancer Association or your thoughts and prayers for my brother-in-law Lech.
We raised more than $2,600 for Kidney Cancer (and counting)! The ride was tough, but we made it! For one small day, we felt a bit of the pain that cancer patients feel every day. It's one small step, but it helps us better empathize with the millions around us who have cancer.
Jim Gordon wins the distance award at 105 miles. I only rode for 85 miles, because... well, I guess I'm not as tough as Jim. Kasia, Mayah and Bob Adduci rode their planned 52 miles and were AMAZING, since they had not trained a lot this summer.
Eric, Kasia, Mayah and Alexander Braun
Jim Gordon and Bob Adduci
PS. We are still accepting donations to the Kidney Cancer Association in memory of Lech Zalewski. Just email me for information on sending a check or click on the following link and follow the instructions:
Click to Support Kidney Cancer
Bike Ride for Kidney Cancer - September 9, 2007
Many of you know that my brother-in-law, Lech Zalewski, has been battling Kidney Cancer for several years. He has undergone many treatments and, while he is happy to be approaching his 5-year survival anniversary, his condition has worsened in the past year. Those of you who know Lech know that he is an outgoing, outspoken, hard-working 48-year-old who continues to manage the Panera Bread commissary in Franklin, MA, despite his disease. He loves life greatly and is sad that he can no longer pursue his passion for biking. Four years ago, he inspired me to take up biking, and for two years I drafted on his tailwinds, struggling to keep up. That adventure culminated in us participating in a century ride (100 miles) that left us exhausted but exhilarated. Within a month of that ride, he was back on the operating table for partial removal of another metastasis in his spine. Although he recovered well from that operation, he subsquently suffered a series of setbacks that prevented him from going back on the bike.
Over the course of Lech's disease, we have seen many new treatments come to clinical trial and a few have even been approved by the FDA, but Kidney Cancer remains one of the more difficult cancers to treat, since it does not respond to traditional chemotherapies. The Kidney Cancer Association has played an important role in bringing more awareness of this specific form of cancer, sponsoring survivor conferences and working with cancer research organizations to find new therapies.
Kidney Cancer and The Kidney Cancer Association
Kidney cancer is a silent killer, with no symptoms until the disease has metastasized (spread beyond the kidney). Even though it's one of the deadliest cancers, there is still only one treatment that aims at a cure. This treatment is not widely available, many patients cannot tolerate its high toxicity, and it has a low response rate; only a very small percentage of patients are cured. Even for patients who are non-metastatic upon diagnosis, the disease often recurs, sometimes many years later, meaning that even those who are cured live under a shadow. Other available treatments aim to retard disease progression, but have done little to prolong life. There is no routine screening for the disease. It is considered a "rare disease," so it receives little attention and low funding from government and private researchers. And unlike most other cancers, its incidence and mortality rates are increasing.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), well over one million new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. In recent years, the percentage of cases involving kidney cancer have made up less than 4% of the total. The ACS estimated in 2007 that more than 51,000 of the new cancer cases are individuals diagnosed with kidney cancer. Kidney cancer occurs roughly twice as often in males as in females. An estimated 12,800 people died from this disease in 2006. However, it is also estimated that between 100,000 and 200,000 kidney cancer survivors are living in the United States right now. These statistics include both adults and children and include all forms of kidney cancer.
The Kidney Cancer Association (KCA) is a charitable organization made up of patients, family members, physicians, researchers, and other health professionals. It funds, promotes, and collaborates with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), American Urologic Association (AUA), and other institutions on research projects. The KCA educates families and physicians, and serves as an advocate on behalf of patients at the state and federal levels.
The Association was founded in 1990 by a small group of patients, including Eugene P. Schonfeld, Ph.D., and medical doctors in Chicago, Illinois. It is a nonprofit charity incorporated in the State of Illinois. It has also been designated as a tax exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service code. Donations to the Association are tax deductible. The Federal taxpayer identification number is 36-3719712.