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Two cyclists ride cross-country for local cancer charity

Ryan Page and Cory Damm are embarking on a cross-country biking journey to raise money for a local cancer charity. Erin Plummer. (click for larger version)
October 14, 2009
MEREDITH — On Columbus Day, Cory Damm of Meredith and Ryan Page of Epping will take their bicycles to Battery Park in New York City and then embark on a cross-country Bike for Life to raise money for a cancer charity close to them.

"Dip the back wheels into the Atlantic and hopefully 60 days later be putting the front wheels into the Pacific," Damm said.

The ride will benefit the Anderson Oncology Fund, which was started in 2000 by Jerry and Lynn Anderson, family friends of Damm's. Around that time Lynn Anderson was undergoing cancer treatment at Lakes Region General Hospital.

Lynn Anderson has been cancer-free for seven years. In 2005, Jerry Anderson was diagnosed with a rapidly spreading form of lung cancer and died six weeks after diagnosis. Damm said on the ride's Web site that Jerry Anderson passed away a week before his high school graduation.

"Jerry Anderson was a very close family friend of mine, he kind of acted as a father figure to me," Damm said. "For a long time (I) worked for him in Meredith for the summer. He was a very successful businessman and I was always very inspired by his business acumen and his wisdom and how wonderful his family was."

The fund was started to raise money for medication for cancer patients, many of who are waiting for Medicare funds.

"While she was in the waiting room, (she) overheard someone saying they could not afford $40 for the medication," Damm said. "We're trying to fill this gap of funding."

The fund holds a golf tournament every year as a fundraiser. This year's tournament raised $15,000 for the fund and so far over $65,000 has been raised to date, with funds earmarked for LRGH.

"This year we're trying to come out and match everything that's been raised to date, try to raise some awareness," Damm said.

The idea to bike across the country started as a joke while they were both living in an apartment in Park City, Utah. When asked how they could get back out West, they joked that they could bike back. Damm said the idea became more serious when thinking about Jerry Anderson.

"I last year drove across the country for the first time that was my real inspiration for wanting to spend some more time to see places," he said. "I can imagine doing it on bicycles and being able to really interact with each town along the way. We're both very excited about that."

Damm said this ride is "Our jump into the biking world."

Training has included 30 to 40 mile rides around he Seacoast with one 100-mile ride completed. Some training rides have been done during bad weather to prepare them for the elements.

They have also talked to others who have done similar trips as well as doing research online. One reference has been the Trans-America Trail organization, which promotes a safe biking route across the country. The Trans-America rout runs from Virginia to Oregon and Damm and Page have two friends who completed the trail this year. Last year they also dropped off a friend who took part in a ride for six months.

Damm and Page have raised $1,200 so far mostly from family and friends. They have been kicking public fundraising into high gear before the trip. At the moment they are looking to raise another $1,500 to cover their raw costs for the trip. After that amount is raised the rest of the money donated will go directly to the fund.

"Our intention is really to bring a huge amount of awareness across the country in each little town along the way," Damm said.

The duo is documenting their efforts and their journey in a blog on their website, which they are using as their main way to receive funds. Their website, transbike.weebly.com, contains contact information, a list of needed supplies for the trip, their packing list, donation goals, pictures, and other materials. The site will be updated on the road with Page's Blackberry Storm.

"We're really excited I think we set up a really great platform for everyone to watch," Damm said.

Damm and Page will leave on Oct. 12 depending on if they are able to raise the $1,500 for expenses.

They will be driven to New York City, where they will stay for a night with friends who live outside the city. The next morning they will go to Battery Park and start their journey.

The Bike for Life will then head south to Ashville, North Carolina, and then ride to Nashville. They will then go across the Midwest to the Denver area and Steamboat Springs, Utah. The next goals are through Nevada with a planned ending at San Francisco Bay.

During their trip, the plan to do 60 and 70-mile days on the road for five to six days a week, having one to two days a week to rest.

They will camp out during the journey, "maybe a hotel every week or so," Damm said.

"I think creeks are really going to be the showers," Damm said.

The trip is estimated to last 60 days including planned rest days.

"We're really looking to make it a pretty serious adventure," Damm said. "The big goal for us is to have the adventure."

For more information on the Bike for Life or to donate, visit transbike.weebly.com.

Martin Lord and Osman
Salmon Press
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