Mar 19, 2013 by Patrick Whitaker
Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Kindred Spirits,
Welcome to my fundraising page. On June 2, I will be riding the 100-mile perimeter of Lake Tahoe on a fixed-gear bike to raise money for cancer. I have thought about training and fundraising for charity events in the past, but until now my participation has been limited to supporting friends by contributing to their charitable endeavors. Well, this time it's personal.
My friend Ezra Caldwell has been in treatment for colorectal cancer for almost five years. Ezra was a 34-year-old picture of health when he was first diagnosed in July 2008, when he aptly described the tumor as "dumb fucking luck." Since then, Ezra has undergone two major surgeries, each followed by 6-month rounds of chemotherapy, and he has poignantly chronicled his experience at Teaching Cancer to Cry. After 18 months of healthy remission, Ezra went for a routine PET-CT scan this past December and received some hard news. He was diagnosed with recurrent stage IV metastasis and given 6-8 months to live.
Ezra Caldwell is a man of many talents. After a 10-year career teaching dance in SoHo, he picked up a torch and started building custom bikes through Fast Boy Cycles, his one-man fabrication shop in Harlem. Before long, Ezra was producing some of the most beautiful steel bicycles I had ever seen and still finding time to take remarkable photographs, cook delicious food, and undergo brutal cancer treatment. He catered his own wedding in Nova Scotia, lived among guerrillas and refugees in El Salvador, and cooked Thai food at a restaurant in the North of England. Above all, he married a beautiful girl named Hillary and galvanized a global community of supporters who he generously and courageously invited to share his experience. Ezra is extraordinary as an individual, not merely as a cancer patient, and he continues to live an inspired life in spite of the circumstances.
I like to think Ezra and I share at least something in common when it comes to setting our own rules and deciding what should be possible. He wasn’t supposed to sit on a bicycle saddle for six months following his initial diagnosis, so he made himself an “Assless” bike with neither a saddle nor a seatpost and rode to his appointments anyway. People are not supposed to ride 25-pound fixed-gear bikes up switchbacks and around Lake Tahoe, but what better way to honor the man who has given me so much inspiration than to attempt AMBBR on the bike he built me in 2011? I have completed century rides in the past, but it will be a real challenge to pull this off on my Fast Boy.
As you can tell, Ezra has been a tremendous source of inspiration for me and thousands of others who have followed his story over the past five years. When I learned of his recent prognosis, I was overwhelmed with the impossible urge to DO SOMETHING, and this is what I came up with. My goal is to raise at least $5,000 to help find cures and better treatments for cancer, and I need your support to make this effort a success.
Please, make a contribution now or at least leave a comment below to wish me luck! I am counting on your help to honor my friend and improve the lives of future cancer patients who will have to face this cruel and indiscriminate disease.