To celebrate his “first birthday” after treatment for esophageal cancer, Ricky Rinehart, 54, rode his bike to Mayo Clinic — 213 miles across the desert from his home in Yuma to Phoenix, Ariz. Thirteen friends, family and co-workers joined him for the two-day ride last October. They delivered more than $10,000 in donations for cancer research.
Rinehart’s cancer was discovered in June 2010 during a routine physical. Mayo Clinic doctors performed a minimally invasive esophagectomy to remove the cancer. The procedure was developed by Mayo Clinic physicians and uses instruments passed down the throat as well as small incisions in the chest and abdomen. Surgeons in Arizona recently performed the 100th procedure using this technique.
“The type of surgery I had, they couldn’t have even done it 10 years ago,” Rinehart says. “They are able to do it because of research, development and the people who have been able to come up with new techniques to battle cancer.”
Rinehart says it was great how community members chipped in to support cancer research. “It takes money to continue research, and it needs to continue,” says Rinehart. He plans to make the desert bike trek annually to promote cancer research and the importance of regular checkups.
The article comes from our Sharing Mayo Clinic print publication.
To read our previous article and watch a video with Ricky, click here.