Breakaway From Cancer™
Similar to the support team that helps a cyclist break away from the pack, it takes a strong support network to help a person break away from cancer.
Celebrating cancer survivors everywhere, the Breakaway Mile takes place at the finish line of the Amgen Tour of California, before the professional riders roll across the finish line. It is a special ride to honor the millions of cancer survivors worldwide, with the spotlight on a local cancer survivor.
The Breakaway Mile helps bring awareness to Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer™ initiative, which was created to increase awareness of the important resources available to cancer patients from prevention and diagnosis through treatment and survivorship. The event also celebrates the many scientific innovations that contribute to new treatments for cancer patients.
On Feb. 17, the Amgen Tour of California professional cyclists rode more than 100 miles during stage 3 of the race from San Jose to Modesto. While the cyclists were focused on the finish line, several Breakaway from Cancer™ activities – including the second Breakaway Mile – honored the courage of cancer survivors everywhere.
Breakaway from Cancer and the Lance Armstrong Foundation Partner to Start Stage 3 in San Jose
Before the race started in San Jose, the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) and Amgen joined forces to spread the word about working together to conquer cancer. Cancer survivor Jere Carpentier, Kathryn West, director of advocacy at Amgen, and Betty Otter-Nickerson, chief operating officer at LAF, participated in the opening ceremonies of stage 3 of the race.
“The Lance Armstrong Foundation and Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer are coming together during the Amgen Tour of California to let people know that they don’t have to face a cancer diagnosis alone,” said West. “Valuable resources exist to help patients from prevention to diagnosis into treatment and through survivorship.”
Carpentier, who battled Hodgkins disease and Lymphoma and was recently diagnosed with colon cancer, shot the starting gun in San Jose. With her first two cancer diagnoses, Jere felt there was limited support and information about battling a blood cancer. She connected with the LAF and became part of a group that helped her learn about cancer survival and also provided her with the opportunity to help and give back. Jere values her support system of family, friends, other survivors, doctors and LAF.
Modesto Cancer Survivor Rides the Breakaway Mile with Team of Supporters
At the finish line in Modesto, cancer survivor Kenneth Chew took to the streets of Modesto as the second Breakaway Mile participant during the Amgen Tour of California. Chew was joined by the team of people who supported him during his battle, including his wife, daughter, brother, a friend and his Triumph Cycling coach. While she didn’t ride, Chew’s mother Ruth cheered from the sidelines. Terry Rosen, vice president, Chemistry Research and Development, joined Chew’s peloton to highlight the importance of developing innovative medicines for cancer and other serious illnesses.
Chew was diagnosed with tongue and neck cancer in 2007. He simultaneously underwent radiation and chemotherapy, and also had neck surgery. His support team, especially his wife and family helped him through, as well as his faith, which gave him the strength and confidence to fight the fight on a daily basis. He also finds support as a member of the Triumph Cycling Team sponsored by Memorial Medical Center in Modesto which offers the community’s adult cancer survivors, their family members and caregivers the opportunity to be active on a regular basis in a supportive environment. Chew feels that his experience with cancer has provided him a new lease on life and now he’s able to really enjoy the little things.
Breakaway from Cancer nonprofit partners play leading roles in every aspect of cancer care to help people affected by the disease. The Modesto Breakaway Mile featured Prevent Cancer Foundation, whose mission is cancer prevention and early detection through research, education and community outreach to all populations, including children and the underserved.
“The Prevent Cancer Foundation applauds all of the inspirational men and women who have joined Breakaway from Cancer this week, to share their stories of strength and hope,” said Carolyn R. Aldige, president and founder, Prevent Cancer Foundation. “In particular, we thank Kenny for his efforts to raise awareness about cancer. We hope that what he and others have shared will empower both men and women to talk to their health care providers about what they can do to reduce their risk for developing cancer through screening and making healthy lifestyle choices."
The City of Modesto Embraces Breakaway from Cancer
The day in Modesto included several activities to honor cancer survivors. The Amgen Tour of California’s Lifestyle Festival included a Breakaway Village offering cancer awareness education, cycling gear, family activities, bike safety, food and entertainment. A cancer art show featured works completed by cancer survivors and their support teams that visually communicate the impact cancer has on a life and the strength of those who have had cancer through their lives in one way or another. Prior to the race finish, a parade of local cancer survivors and their support teams marched through the streets of Modesto to recognize the courage of the community’s cancer survivors.