Final 2009 Amgen Breakaway Mile Celebrated San Diego Cancer Survivor
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. 22, the Amgen Breakaway Mile during the final stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California from Rancho Bernardo to Escondido honored San Diego cancer survivor Gary Miller.
In 2006, Miller had a prostate screening test that showed elevated levels and he underwent a series of tests and biopsies during the next two years. In January 2008, he was officially diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery. His health insurance situation was complicated so he and his wife Karen turned to Patient Advocate Foundation for advice and support navigating their coverage options.
“When my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer it happened at a time when our health insurance was in transition and we were required to go on COBRA for several months,” explained Karen Miller, spouse of Breakaway Mile rider Gary Miller. “In some ways, COBRA was worse than the cancer because of the paperwork, bureaucracy and delays. My first call was to Patient Advocate Foundation and they were an immediate source of support and expertise. They guided me through the maze and I felt a sense of relief and hope.”
After his surgery, Miller quickly recovered and returned to normal life only to be diagnosed with melanoma in October 2008. In November, he had the cancer removed from his calf and is now ready for the new year. Miller is grateful for those who helped him along the way, especially his wife, his support group mentor and the help he received from Patient Advocate Foundation.
During the Amgen Breakaway Mile in Escondido, Miller was joined by his support team of family members and close friends. In addition, Joe Miletich senior vice president, research and development at Amgen, joined Miller’s peloton to highlight the important role in developing innovative medicines for cancer and other serious illnesses.
Breakaway from Cancer™ nonprofit partners play leading roles in every aspect of cancer care to help people affected by the disease. The Escondido Breakaway Mile highlighted Patient Advocate Foundation, which was established in 1996 as a national nonprofit organization with a mission of safeguarding patients with chronic, life threatening, and/or debilitating illnesses assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability.
"Breakaway from Cancer is an initiative that captures the essence of every cancer patient's commitment as they face their fears and race to conquer cancer,” said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, founder and CEO, Patient Advocate Foundation. “We are so very honored to be a partner in this event with our fellow nonprofit colleagues and to join the survivors and their caregivers in celebrating with professional cyclists the thrill of victory as their ride calls out the importance of cancer research and survivorship for all patients and their loved ones in the United States.”