Sudha Murty

Sudha Murty
Riding for Vinay Mahajanam
Cancer is the biggest killer of kids from disease in the USA, 38 children die every week. Please donate now and support my challenge to fight kids' cancer!
I've Ridden 529.9 mi My goal is 600 mi
My Rankings
  • National: 2nd
  • State: 1st in TX
I've raised $31,162.36 My goal is $35,000 Donate Now

I'm Riding For

Vinay Mahajanam

Vinay Mahajanam

Vinay is the sweetest boy I know and as a mom, I have had to harden my heart and steel myself to support him through all the pain and hardship he has been enduring for the last 3 years as he undergoes chemo treatments at Texas Children's Hospital. After the 1st terrible year of intensive treatment, he has been much happier through the last 2 years of maintenance chemo, yet the constant finger and port pokes have taken an emotional toll on him that cannot be quantified. Nevertheless, he is always cheerful, laughing, and trying to make everyone around him laugh. I love you Vinay, I am lucky to be your mom, and I will ride hard for you.

My Story

This June, I am taking part in the Great Cycle Challenge to fight kids' cancer!

Why? Because right now, cancer is the biggest killer of children from disease in the United States. Over 15,700 children are diagnosed every year, and sadly, 38 children die of cancer every week.

Kids should be living life, not fighting for it.

So I am raising funds through my challenge to help these kids and support Children's Cancer Research Fund to allow them to continue their work to develop lifesaving treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer.

Please support me by making a donation to give these kids the brighter futures they deserve.

Your support will change little lives.

Thank you.


My Challenge

  • Day 25: $31,000 raised, and 10 exhausting miles done. 530 done of 600 mile goal.
    26 Jun 2019

    This was a hard, hard ride. I worked all day, and decided to ride indoors at night, (too much rain), after the kids went to bed. This was one of those times I probably needed to take the day off, my legs wouldn’t want to turn, and I was so, so slow. The previous speedy 10 miles drained me out!

    I wanted more than anything to just go to bed, but it wasn’t an option, simply because I had decided it wasn’t an option! The slow plodding ride, late at night threw me back to the early days of work during the cancer treatment. Back in 2016, there were days when Vinay was at home and my Dad was watching him, while I used every minute to work at Rice. I would return home in the evening, and frequently take Vinay to Rice University late in the evening. Vinay wasn’t allowed to be with people back then, but there was almost no one in Duncan Hall late in the day, and he LOVED going up and down the stairs and elevators in the colorful building. I did this not just to entertain him, but to distract him and feed him pediasure. It was a nightmare to syringe feed him pediasure back in the day, he used to fuss for every 5 ml, and driving 30 min to Rice, to syringe feed it in an environment he loved, was far easier than battling for hours at home.

    When I returned home with Vinay well fed, I would frequently return back to Rice, to continue to work. Those times, I was so, so slow at work, just trying to keep my eyes open, extremely inefficient, but I didn’t think it was an option, time was hard to come by already.

    These 10 miles are a reminder to all the slow plodding that occurs, small drops do fill up an ocean, and every mile counts towards the goal! Each mile counts to raise awareness, and to raise more money for research. Dreaming of a new world where childhood cancers of today look like nightmares of the past.

    Day 25: $31,000 raised, and 10 exhausting miles done. 530 done of 600 mile goal.
    Posted 2 hours ago
  • 10.0 mi ride - Night Ride - Tuesday, June 25, 2019
    Logged this ride 13 hours ago
  • Day 24: $30,131 raised,10 exhilarating miles done! 520/600 miles overall!
    25 Jun 2019

    I always imagined “Bear Creek park”, north of I-10, to have a dedicated bike loop, just like memorial park. I headed there with an hour of sunlight left, hoping to ride plenty of loops in a new place, surrounded by hundreds of other cyclists. Reality has a funny way of running counter to expectations.

    The roads were desolate, and headed into green campgrounds. There was so much foliage, it seemed like a natural animal habitat, the roads and picnic benches were completely out of place. I parked my car at a campground, and started biking around, trying to find the bike loop I had seen on the map, but alas, the roads were completely submerged in flowing water and I never found the loop. Instead, I found myself pedaling furiously along roads that I did not enjoy sharing with cars, surrounded by dense forests on either side. The roads were mostly desolate, except the occasional car, that I was terrified of, and found myself pedaling in harder gears than usual, exceeding 100 rpm, hitting speeds like 17mph on flawless roads, that cars really had no business getting on.

    I began to feel new sensations in my legs, and my breathing sounded strange to me, and worried I was doing something wrong, when I realized I was going really fast at a steady rate, zooming in hard gears uphill, and my legs were finally feeling the burn, and I was actually breathing hard. Wow, I never experienced biking as a workout before. Having a bike that really doesn’t hurt me is INCREDIBLE.

    However my speed was more to avoid imaginary cars coming behind me, and the sudden realization that “Bear creek park” was probably named for “bears”, and I was terrified I would encounter a bear and a car, and I pedaled hard to get back to the car before the sun disappeared, and kept pedaling up and down the road until I got to 10 miles.

    This would be an amazing place to ride when there was no flooding, and if I was in a group. Today's solo ride was a novel experience, simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating, and reminded me of a time when I felt the same in Vinay’s battle with leukemia.

    Very early on in his treatment, Vinay had to be given many doses of a chemo called cytarabine, which I had to give at home through his port. Vinay’s port was accessed in the hospital, and given some chemos. I received training to do the same at home. I learnt to clean his port wire, sanitize the ends, inject saline, check for blood return, inject chemo, check for blood return, inject saline and then heparin (to prevent blood clots in the port). After doing this for 4 days, I had to de-access his port all by myself. This was quite easy once I learnt how to do it, but it was terrifying and exhilarating to do it to my own son, for the first time.

    Terrified of making a single mistake, exhilarating because I learnt something new! Doing this at home saved us multiple trips for what was an easy port chemo. These 10 speedy, scary miles transported me back to those days that I am so happy are in the past, and are dedicated to all the awesome nurses who do this so carefully, hundreds of times, like it is no big deal.

    Day 24: $30,131 raised,10 exhilarating miles done! 520/600 miles overall!
    Posted 1 day ago
  • 10.3 mi ride - Evening Ride - Monday, June 24, 2019
    Logged this ride 2 days ago
  • Day 23: $29,021 raised and 15 hot sunny miles done! 510 overall miles!
    24 Jun 2019

    Today, all we had was a small window of time to get the cycling done, and I rode 15 miles, while Sudhakar ran 6 miles. I was reminiscing about how we evolved to become such a great team!

    A diagnosis like cancer can test families’ resolve, and strengthen them in inconceivable ways. We had to step up our game when life got harder, and become better as a team. So many times, giving medicines has become a team activity, we check if the other gave the right dose. Appointments have become a team activity, each adjusting to the other’s schedule.

    Physical activities have always been something that brought us together, and I enjoyed biking loops around Sudhakar while he ran sweating in the midday heat. I’m so happy to be on a bike, for once I was faster than him!!

    These 15 miles are dedicated to all the awesome teamwork that goes behind the scenes in families, enabling the best possible support for little kids undergoing horrible cancer treatments.

    Day 23: $29,021 raised and 15 hot sunny miles done! 510 overall miles!
    Posted 2 days ago
  • 15.4 mi ride - Lunch Ride - Sunday, June 23, 2019
    Logged this ride 3 days ago
  • Day 22: $28,147 raised and 40 awesome miles done!
    23 Jun 2019

    I set out this beautiful Saturday noon to bike as much as I could. Terry Hershey park and George Bush park were so scenic, and so different in the bright sun, with stark plant shadows, the miles seemed to melt away. I don’t think my eyes are used to staring at such vast expanses of green.

    It was wonderful to have some solitude time to myself to reflect and just enjoy the moment. I remember going to a conference for a few days during the 1st year of Vinay’s treatment, and we were just surviving, so dazed, as life just rushed passed us like an express train. I remember going to the conference and just amazed at how lovely it was to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner like a normal person, and sleep at a normal time. And I returned back to the whirlwind of chemos and work. Life has been great, just always rushed, but time slows down on a long bike ride.

    I cannot help but take in my surroundings with all my senses. I was simultaneously hearing the whooshing wind, birds and crickets, while smelling the fresh splattering of rain on earth, tasting salt as the rain rolled down, feeling the midday heat while rain cooled me down, looking at vast expanses of green and blue dotted with trees and clouds.

    This was my longest and most enjoyable ride until now, and it helped that I felt so comfortable on my newly fitted bike. After 2 hours, I decided it was time to be courageous, and go further than I thought possible. The last 10 miles were so painful on the saddle, terry Hershey hills were actually a welcome relief from saddle soreness. I also brought only 1 bar on this ride, which was nowhere sufficient to give me enough power, yet, the ride was so fun, that it was easy to get distracted and keep going for a full 40 miles!! Woo hoo!!

    These 40 miles are dedicated to the incredibly courageousness of the kids undergoing crazy cancer treatments. Vinay joined the “beads of courage” program quite late into the treatment, and he loves looking at all the beads and recounting what he went through. One red bead for each blood/platelet transfusions, blue beads for each doc visit, black beads represent pokes, yellow beads represent hospitalized days, white beads – hospital chemos, tortoise beads, “poke in the back” or lumbar punctures, rainbow beads – pentamidine, green beads – anesthesia, light green – x-ray, beige beads – hair loss or growth, orange bead- port surgery, purple beads – IV fluids, magenta – ER visits. These are just some of the beads, I still have to collect a few months of beads!

    40 scenic miles for courageous kids, love the “beads of courage” to help the kids process what they endure!

    Day 22: $28,147 raised and 40 awesome miles done!
    Posted 4 days ago
  • Day 21: $28,127 raised and 5 sleepy miles done.
    23 Jun 2019

    Friday evening (June 21), I was not ready to ride. My mind was torn in so many simultaneous directions, read a book to Vinay, play with Vani, work, so much work, it’s a Friday, need to cook. Finally before bedtime, I did 5 indoor miles, and was happy to call it a day. Looking forward to the weekend, a new day presents new opportunities.

    Day 21: $28,127 raised and 5 sleepy miles done.
    Posted 4 days ago
  • 40.0 mi ride - Lunch Ride - Saturday, June 22, 2019
    Logged this ride 4 days ago
  • 5.0 mi ride - Night Ride - Friday, June 21, 2019
    Logged this ride 5 days ago
  • Day 20: $28,110 raised, and 5 mile night ride after doc visit for Vinay!
    21 Jun 2019

    Vinay was such a champ at his regular appointment on June 20, no fuss, very few tantrums. Everything went smoothly, from noon to 6pm. We had a little drama during the pentamadine appointments with a fire drill!

    Pentamadine is a nebulized medicine to prevent certain lung infections in immune compromised kids. Vinay gets one treatment every month, and he has associated watching peppa pig on TV with the pendamadine treatments.

    I have watched the exact same peppa pig episodes in the same order for the last 2 years, and it is SO hard for me to stay awake. We are so lucky the hospital has so many ways to make it comfortable for little kids. Vinay loves getting a rainbow bead after his pentamadine treatment! This was followed by his usual vincristine chemo. He starts his steroid cycle for the month as well, so we will see a little hunger and crankiness over the next few days.

    I was so late after kids had dinner, meds and bedtime that I could only get in a 5 mile night ride! Hopefully I can ride longer on the weekend! Thank you to every single one of you who have been reading the blog, sponsoring my rides and supporting me on this journey. I really appreciate it!

    Day 20: $28,110 raised, and 5 mile night ride after doc visit for Vinay!
    Posted 5 days ago
  • 5.0 mi ride - Night Ride - Thursday, June 20, 2019
    Logged this ride 6 days ago
  • Day 19: $27,832 raised, and 20 miles done, thinking of Ben Morris and SuperEvie
    20 Jun 2019

    In 2012, when Vani was still a wee toddler, her classmate in daycare in Oklahoma, barely 4 years old, was suddenly diagnosed with leukemia (pre-B ALL). Ben was, and still is, an incredibly sweet, happy kid, and his Mom, Casi Morris started sharing his journey on facebook, as he went day after day for treatments, ER visits, fevers, illness, the whole gamut of stuff that comes with leukemia treatments. We felt the highs when things went well, felt crushed when they returned to the ER yet again, and tried to process the roller coaster of emotions they were sharing as a family. I followed them for the entire 3.5 years of treatment, and the happiest video was Ben and his brother jumping when their mom told them he was cancer free at the end, and he was ALL done!

    Fast forward to 2016, when Vinay was suddenly diagnosed with the very same Pre-B ALL, I reached out to Casi, as she was all I knew related to this treatment. I was devastated inside, because I had followed her journey very closely, and was aware that it was incredibly hard. Truth be told, despite all the awareness I had, nothing could have prepared us for the reality, it was way harder than I had imagined. Most of us humans rise up to the challenge when faced with it, and we also did. Ben’s story gave us hope, he beat his cancer, and hopefully Vinay will too, and they stay cancer free forever.

    If only all kids followed the same path. In 2016, another kid was undergoing Pre-B ALL treatment at TCH, Evie, just a couple of weeks behind Vinay in the treatment protocol. They met in the playroom on the 9th floor of TCH, both little kids, one wanting art, and the other wanting cars (that’s Vinay), both hooked to IV poles and respective parents hauling their poles behind them. We started following Evie’s journey too. We just watched in utter dismay, as her body did not respond to the treatments as expected, despite receiving the same drugs, and after the IV methotrexate phase, she was scheduled for a bone marrow transplant (BMT).

    Bone marrow transplant is an incredibly risky and scary procedure, and is typically reserved for leukemia kids who did not respond to regular protocol as per their statistics, and are likely to relapse, or their bone marrow got damaged. Bone marrow is the tissue inside the bones, where stem cells are produced, which become blood cells. Without the bone marrow we cannot make blood. We need that to live. In BMT transplant, powerful chemo is given that KILLS the existing bone marrow. Cancer is typically completely eradicated. Then stem cells are injected from a donor’s marrow, and the stem cells migrate to the bone and start creating new marrow, and making new blood. This could take 30 days for the new bone marrow takes hold. Bone marrow transplant requires matching with a donor, and a good match is a required, or the body could reject the new donor cells. Evie had barely recovered from the IV methotrexate phase, she kept getting sick and hitting the ER again and again. She received the BMT transplant, and it was successful (hurray!), unfortunately kids with BMT transplant are extremely susceptible to any infection. Evie developed a lung infection, and she never recovered. It was quite a shock to learn that she passed away, barely 6 years old. Same disease, similar treatment plan, took her life away. We still cannot comprehend the grief the parents live with daily. It hit so close to home.

    Today, I rode north on the white oak bayou trail, and I expected industrial wasteland around me. I was surprised by beauty beyond imagination, the setting sun dancing behind the clouds, emitting rays of sunshine, just like SuperEvie’s smiles. She may be gone, but she left behind a legacy, and I’m sure she is glowing bright in the sky lighting up the way, as new research is being done to improve treatments for childhood cancer. Today’s 20 miles are dedicated to SuperEvie, lover of rainbows with a smile brighter than the rays of sunlight on a summer day!

    Day 19: $27,832 raised, and 20 miles done, thinking of Ben Morris and SuperEvie
    Posted 6 days ago
  • 18.1 mi ride - Evening Ride - Wednesday, June 19, 2019
    Logged this ride 7 days ago
  • 0.3 mi ride - Evening Ride - Wednesday, June 19, 2019
    Logged this ride 7 days ago
  • 0.6 mi ride - Evening Ride - Wednesday, June 19, 2019
    Logged this ride 7 days ago
  • 1.7 mi ride - Afternoon Ride - Wednesday, June 19, 2019
    Logged this ride 7 days ago
  • Day 18: $27,299 raised, 23 unbelievable miles done!
    19 Jun 2019

    My bike is 10 years old, yet I’ve only biked a handful of times before this challenge, simply because it has never been a fun activity for me. There is always some discomfort on the bike, I’m always sore at the end. Last year, when my left hip flexor bothered me on my then longest 15 mile ride, a physical therapist told me to do more band exercises, “this muscle is weak, that muscle is tight, work harder, stretch, strengthen”. I did do all that and my cycling got better, but never pain free enough to motivate me to ride longer. Since June 1st, I did 400 miles. No stretching or foam rolling could help me anymore, at the end, I couldn’t even ride a 5 miler without hurting my flexors, my lower back, my shoulders.

    I finally got a professional bike fit yesterday. I always thought that was for professionals, I was told it is for people doing 60+ miles.

    I never knew how much discomfort I was in, until I went on my ride yesterday on Brays bayou, AFTER the bike fit. I was open mouthed the whole ride in amazement, not at the scenery, but at the lack of pain. I didn’t realize how much I groaned every time I hopped back on the bike before, until I found it pain free this time. NO shoulder pain, NO hip flexor pain, and not even any tightness! The bike fit specialist, Cynthia Stewart was incredible. My left leg is apparently slightly longer than my right, causing all my left side problems, and she offset my cleats for that, changed my saddle, changed my handlebar that was too wide, too far away, causing me to overstretch and hurt my lower back, and shoulders. So many mm level minor adjustments, so subtle I wouldn’t even believe they would make a difference, until they actually did.

    Just don’t ask the price, it was all worth it, but I’ve requested my husband to please not talk about it. It was expensive, but I wish I had gotten a real bike fit before, what a world of difference it makes.

    I bet that’s how we will all feel when new treatments come out in the future. These poor kids are put through so much pain and torture, and maybe we will all be blown away by new pills that treat cancer with no side effects, and we will all remain open mouthed in amazement, why didn’t we get these drugs a little sooner?

    Day 18: $27,299 raised, 23 unbelievable miles done!
    Posted 7 days ago
  • 16.2 mi ride - Evening Ride - Tuesday, June 18, 2019
    Logged this ride 8 days ago
  • 5.7 mi ride - Afternoon Ride - Tuesday, June 18, 2019
    Logged this ride 8 days ago
  • 0.4 mi ride - Afternoon Ride - Tuesday, June 18, 2019
    Logged this ride 8 days ago
  • 1.4 mi ride - Morning Ride - Tuesday, June 18, 2019
    Logged this ride 8 days ago
  • Day 17: $27,262 raised, 7 indoor miles for Lukas.
    18 Jun 2019

    I was planning to ride after a bike fit, as I’m terrified my bike is out to hurt me. Rather I would like to blame my bike and I really hope something is wrong with my bike, beats admitting my own stupidity for going with no rest!

    I wasn’t planning to ride until I read about Lukas. When Lukas was a 10 month old boy, he underwent leukemia treatment for 2 years, rang the bell to celebrate the end of treatment. He relapsed a month later. He underwent 2 more years of chemo. Now he is having heart failure. A 4 year old, is waiting for a heart transplant, right now, and some of the 80,000+ riders doing this challenge are riding for him. It was incredibly scary and sad to read that story, and worrisome too.

    I never like to speculate about the unknown future, but sometimes, the word relapse hangs in the air like a heavy shadow. My doctor is very positive about it, she told me she has plans even if a relapse were to happen, though we choose to cling to the hope that he will never ever relapse and he will be done with these treatments for ever.

    My heart does ache for Lukas, as he fights his failing heart, damaged so early by all the toxic chemo. I look forward to new drugs that don’t have such a bitter trade off, “your life or your heart”. Today’s 7 indoor cycle miles in the gym are dedicated to you Lukas. Fight hard, and wish you a new heart soon.

    Day 17: $27,262 raised, 7 indoor miles for Lukas.
    Posted 8 days ago
  • 7.1 mi ride - Cycling in the gym - Monday, June 17, 2019
    Logged this ride 9 days ago
  • Day 16: $26,922 raised, 5 miles and an hour of stretching done!
    17 Jun 2019

    I have done thousands of tiny community loops in the last 1.5 months, in which I was leaning inwards towards the center of the loop, to my left, and I wonder if that contributed to a bunch of tightness issues on my left side. Either way, I took an easy rest day, with stretching and 5 miles on my indoor trainer.

    While I’m so done with the community loops, the 0.1 mile loop repeated hundreds of times is hardly as boring as it sounds. The midnight weather is pleasant and there is no traffic. The only things to watch out for are the cats. When the sun goes down, and the cats come out to play. The neighborhood cats take on a life of their own patrolling one area of the loop, finding manhole covers to lie on, and stretching on the road, with no care for any oncoming bikes. They do not budge for a car or cycle, until their holiness decide to change positions, sauntering around at a lazy pace, their glowing eyes mocking me, "its your problem to avoid me, not mine". Sometimes they become fascinated with the blinking red tail light of my bike, probably seemed like a toy and my heart literarily skipped a beat when a black cat started chasing me one round. That actually made the ride go a lot faster. Somebody forgot to give the fat cat the memo, doesn't it know curiosity could kill it?

    I’m hopefully not going to be doing any more goofy cat loop rides, but many times on those loops, I would remember my goofy, goofy Vinay. He wasn’t always in the mood to be silly when the treatment was bad, but there were small islands of time, little moments in the crazy ocean of madness and medicines, when Vinay would find something hilariously funny. One time he grabbed my phone, and took close to 600 photos of himself, laughing the whole time. I deleted many, but not before the copies turned up on the cloud, and I kept finding versions of those pics, and ended up saving many of them. That’s probably how selfies began.

    Vinay still lives in the moment and looks for things to laugh at, it’s a joy to watch. The next half of the GCC challenge is going to be a precarious balancing act, between work, multiple goals, and injuries and limited time. Hopefully I remember to find something to laugh about!

    Happy father's day Sudhakar Mahajanam and YGK Murty!

    Day 16: $26,922 raised, 5 miles and an hour of stretching done!
    Posted 10 days ago
  • 5.0 mi ride - Evening Ride - Sunday, June 16, 2019
    Logged this ride 10 days ago
  • Day 15: $26,746 raised, and another 13 miles done! Art or science?
    16 Jun 2019

    The bike riding without limits sure has some consequences; at some point muscles and tendons start to protest. I had recovered enough for a very nice 13 mile ride with no pain, but was dismayed to find my body protesting after the ride. It is now time to adjust and rethink the strategy for achieving this goal, and will take a few days off for recovery. This challenge has now become a real challenge indeed, and that makes this much more exciting!

    When Vinay’s cancer was discovered with 93% of his bone marrow filled with cancer cells, the doctors attacked the cells with incredibly high doses of chemo, destroying cancer cells at a rapid rate, each day, the % of bad cells were 83%, 42%, 13%, 0.1%. The initial decline in bad cells was exponential, similar to how in the 1st 10 days, I attacked the mileage goals with a vengeance and finished ~30 miles each day.

    However, despite the rapid decline in cancer cells, the real problem was to destroy each and every bad cancerous cell. Even if 1 cell remained, hiding somewhere in his body, biding its time, we would think the cancer was all gone, but that bad cell would suddenly start dividing at some point, and then it would be resistant to all the drugs given until then.

    To me, the cancer treatment looks as much of an art as a science. The doctors look at the symptoms of side effects and readjust dosages. They look at the blood counts, and wait for the body to recover and then repeat the chemo. Here are some words I had written in Jan 2017, as the doctors kept making their real time adjustments to the chemo dosages.

    “Vinay parallely got a new medication called 6TG for 14 days. Last Wednesday on Jan 4th, 6TG was done, cytarabine had been done, his health plummeted.

    Vinay coughed all night on Jan 4th. Around 4 am, it was every 3-7 sec. We made tea (his fav drink), propped him up, nothing worked. Finally got the humidifier out, and that seemed to help a little. We were heading to the doctor on Thursday morning anyway for his next appointment. He was to get 2 doses of chemo (PEG and vincristine). Thursday morning, I saw blood blisters on his tongue and lips and little blood clots around his forehead and I knew his platelets were low, but didn't know how low.

    The lab results on Thursday were shocking.

    Hemoglobin -7.5 (normal :11.5-14.5 )

    Platelets - 3 (normal 150 - 450)

    ANC - 17 ( normal 1500-8000)

    The platelet count was the most shocking for me. They normally plummet but never this low. Last week it was 80, previous week it was 250, so it was going down, but the lowest we ever saw was 5, and that was the day his cancer was diagnosed.

    He received blood and platelet transfusion, followed by 2 hrs of PEG and 30 min of vincristine, so we went home at 9pm that night. The doctor wondered if he was brewing a virus. At 2:20am, the same night he had a fever of 102.6. And at 3:30am we were back in the ER. He has since been admitted and is still here at the hospital. “

    It was a constant push and pull of chemo and blood counts, recovery and hospital visits to help him out. It is time to get smarter and adjust my mileages and listen to my body. It is a fitting tribute to this cause, yet it pales in comparison with what these kids go through. I’m excited to see how the rest of the month goes! Today is the half way point: 388/600 miles done!

    Day 15: $26,746 raised, and another 13 miles done! Art or science?
    Posted 10 days ago
  • 13.1 mi ride - Evening Ride - Saturday, June 15, 2019
    Logged this ride 11 days ago
  • Day 14: $26,674 raised, another 11 trying-to-recover miles done!
    15 Jun 2019

    Cancer is most visually associated with hair loss, not just on the head, but eyebrows and eye lashes too. Luckily for us, it was just visual for us, it was not as bad as it looks. It sure was a stark reminder that the medicines are doing something that is not very nice, yet it is a temporary effect and the hair does comes back. Sometimes, straight hair people get curly hair and in some others, it returns a different texture. Vinay's is a lot wavier than it used to be. We are lucky Vinay was a 4 yr old who rarely looked in the mirror and never cared about his appearance. Months after hair loss, he noticed for the first time, "why is my hair missing?", I told him he looks like spider man now, and he was happy. At 5 he got a spiderman helmet. We were lucky Vinay wasn't affected, however so many older kids have self esteem issues, and some families support them by shaving their own hair off. I remember a young girl wanted long hair like Rapunzel, and did not take the hair loss well during her neuroblastoma treatment. For us, hair loss was very much dependent on the phase of cancer treatment. The consolidation phase (phase 2) and delayed intensification (phase 4) caused the most hair loss. Hair returned in between and fell off again. We felt so bad throughout the treatment, but in maintenance his hair came back and he looks normal, though his body is still dealing with this! Looking back, it felt like a bigger deal that it is.

    I was reminded of how calling Vinay "spiderman" was such a satisfactory explanation for him when I saw him ride with Vani and me today, wearing his helmet, while I completed 11 more easy recovery miles.

    Day 14: $26,674 raised, another 11 trying-to-recover miles done!
    Posted 11 days ago
  • 11.3 mi ride - Evening Ride - Friday, June 14, 2019
    Logged this ride 12 days ago
  • Day 13: $26,493 raised! 10 hard miles in honor of kids fighting spirit!
    14 Jun 2019

    Now that the donation match day is done, and our fundraiser zoomed from $10,500 to $26000 in 2 days, it might appear like the momentum would probably slow down until the end of the challenge. Not really! My motivation to raise as much money as possible for this fundraiser, is to finally be able to do something that can make a difference, after just helplessly watching my kid from the sidelines. Thank you Christi, for reminding me so eloquently!

    While it has been incredibly humbling to get to the 2nd place on the leaderboard, I intend to keep going! Until now I was just amused with the leaderboard, I thought it was a clever way to get competitive people to raise more money, I wouldn’t fall for that now, would I? Well, I did. Being the only woman in the top 10 of the leaderboard has me fired up. It’s all motivation in good fun, for a great cause!! As my husband Sudhakar said, a fundraiser is a marathon, not a sprint. We are going to continue to raise more money, we have been thinking of creative ways to fundraise in the community, and hopefully inch back up to the 1st place. Sometimes, we all need external motivation and goals, and it is all win-win. More money for the charity, more for the kids. But GAME ON.

    Vinay did not just roll over and accept that he could not travel anywhere during months and months of cancer treatment. He kept tabs on every place Sudhakar or myself visited in the last 3 years, and has a mental bucket list of places we better take him to. How dare you travel without me? He updates his list by looking at the globe, and monitors the weathers of 20 different places EACH day, including Antarctica, and asked us a few weekends ago, “This Sunday can we go to Fiji?”, changing his mind to travel to “Iqualuit”, a place apparently very cold with blowing snowstorms.

    He dreams big, and so will I. This fundraiser will go on, I will fundraise hard all the way till June 30th. Today’s 10 mile ride was hard, with knots and soreness and weird new pains, I decided to take it very easy doing my nocturnal community loops. This ride is to the fighting spirit of all little kids, to never give up, and to keep dreaming big. I dream of a world where cancer is a disease that can be treated with an over the counter pill. Now wouldn’t that be nice?

    Day 13: $26,493 raised! 10 hard miles in honor of kids fighting spirit!
    Posted 12 days ago
  • 10.0 mi ride - Night Ride - Thursday, June 13, 2019
    Logged this ride 13 days ago
  • $20,000 raised to fight kids' cancer!

    I just hit $20,000 to fight kids' cancer! Thank you so much for your support.

    Posted 13 days ago
  • Day 12! $19,951 raised! Is this insane or what? 26 excited miles done!
    13 Jun 2019

    Today has been such an amazing day, I cannot believe the amount of money raised, thanks to the bottomless generosity of so many people. All of you are kicking cancer’s butt!

    While my heart is filled with immense excitement for today’s incredible donations, and a highly volatile 1st place position in the leaderboard in the country, my heart is simultaneously filled with worry about my little boy’s heart.

    During my son’s recent visit to the cardiologist this April, for his routine echocardiogram screening for heart damage from the chemo, my doctor told me: “we see a bimodal distribution of heart damage in kids who get certain chemos like doxorubicin, and cyclophosphenes, well known for cardio-toxicity. Some kids get heart damage very soon, for others it shows up later in life 15-20 years later. No one really know when the damage will show up, if it does.”

    WHAT? My son's heart could be damaged from bad chemos, in the arbitrary future? That is not anything a parent ever wants to hear.

    So many little kids develop heart damage from these toxic drugs. Why do we use medicines that work great on eradicating cancer but destroy the heart in the process? One of the GCC riders posted a couple days ago, that she was a childhood survivor of cancer and had been riding many, many miles, as part of the challenge, when suddenly one side of her face drooped and she had to rush to the hospital. Side effects of chemo showing up well into adulthood are NOT ok.

    Vinay has received so many echocardiograms in his life, he received one right when his cancer was diagnosed, to identify his “baseline” heart condition, so if there was future damage, it could be detected. He used to hate echos so much, they performed it when he was sedated, during those hungry steroid days. Now he is a champ, smiling and laughing through his echoes.

    It would be awesome when new therapies come up, which don’t need to destroy the heart, in order to destroy the cancer, that would be so much appreciated. We kinda, sorta need the heart.

    The Children’s Cancer Research organization funds new therapies like immunotherapy and targeted precision genomics to treat cancers. Immunotherapy is tailored to a person, and modifies a person’s immune cells to target the cancer cells, by identifying them as bad guys. Immunotherapy works better with multiple crazy mutations, making it easier for the immune system to attack the bad cancer cells. Targeted genomics, on the other hand, works great when the genetic mutation is well identified, it doesn’t do very well when too many mutated genes exist. Each therapy has their own special niche, and seem very promising. Hopefully, one day, cancer will be eradicated without taking years and years of cancer-inducing medicines!

    Thank for supporting cancer research. WE are kicking cancer’s BUTT!!

    Day 12! $19,951 raised! Is this insane or what? 26 excited miles done!
    Posted 13 days ago
  • 0.8 mi ride - Evening Ride - Wednesday, June 12, 2019
    Logged this ride 14 days ago
  • 20.0 mi ride - Ride to Brays Bayou- hate it when ride did not upload automatically to Strava - Wednesday, June 12, 2019
    Logged this ride 14 days ago
  • 6.0 mi ride - Lunch Ride - Wednesday, June 12, 2019
    Logged this ride 14 days ago
  • Day 11: $10,500+ raised, 326/300 miles done! 32 miles today! Double donations TODAY! Double mileage goals! New goal: To ride 600 miles in June.
    12 Jun 2019

    Since every donation doubles today, I'm doubling my mileage goals. New goal: ride 600 miles this June.

    Early in this challenge, my daughter and I were browsing the Great Cycling Challenge website, reading the stories of the cancer kids featured on their webpage. We read about 15 year old Nathalia, for whom #TeamNat was created, about her resilient and humorous spirit despite being diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a deadly bone cancer, that had spread through out her body. After multiple rounds of chemotherapy, over 3 years, the treatments stopped working and despite changing regimens, the cancer came back, to claim her life on April 19. She has inspired the nation to ride in her honor. Over 3073 members are riding this GCC challenger for #TeamNat.

    We are in desperate need of new cancer treatment protocols. Yet, I feel very hopeful as I learn about some of the cutting edge research going on in MD Anderson. A famous oncologist Dr. Subbiah was sharing his research with me shortly after Vinay was diagnosed with leukemia in 2016. He told me a story in layman terms, and I’m going by memory to recount it as accurately as I can.

    All cells in living beings have genes. Every time a cell divides, there is a chance for the cell to get mutated and go bad. One particular gene, called p53 is also known as a “tumor suppressant gene”. This gene is super important, it “suppresses tumors”, by detecting DNA damage in bad cells and kills them off. The gene p53 is inside the cell, waiting like a watchman, so if it detects its own cell is mutated, then it kills its host cell. Cool isn’t it? Bad cells die by themselves, thank you very much.

    Unless the mutation messes up the p53 gene itself! Who is going to destroy the cell now? The watchman in the cell is destroyed, the cell has no way to die, and that becomes cancerous. The cells divide, never die, keep dividing, never die, we all know how that goes. Cancer. Interestingly enough, elephants have 20 copies of p53 genes, and almost never get cancer. Humans have only 1 copy of the p53 gene, we get cancer. Dogs on the other hand have much less p53 gene than humans, and get a lot more cancer than humans. This is a very simplified version of the story and just one way of how cancer is caused by aberrant genes.

    The oncologist I was talking to was so excited as he was trying to leverage the idea that extra p53 genes gives cancer protection, and somehow endow humans with that protection. His trials had shown extraordinary success when nothing else would have worked, and it was a very exciting time! This kind of work done at MD Anderson is on route to win a Nobel prize one day.

    I’ve been lucky to encounter such oncologists when I lived close to the medical area, I do not even pretend to understand the amazing work they do, but I trust them. They are brilliant people, and are dedicating their lives to saving lives. The money we raise for this cause goes to fund research like theirs. That’s how new therapies are born, and new treatments are made. And one day, kids like Nathalia don’t have to die.

    I dedicate today’s 32 miles in honor of Nathalia #GCCUSA, #TeamNat. We will never forget her. And every dollar donated today from this moment, till midnight pacific time, June 12, will DOUBLE! And I will ride double the miles I planned. I vow to ride 600 miles in this month of June. Let’s kick cancer’s BUTT and eradicate it forever!

    Day 11: $10,500+ raised, 326/300 miles done! 32 miles today! Double donations TODAY! Double mileage goals! New goal: To ride 600 miles in June.
    Posted 14 days ago
  • 28.1 mi ride - Evening Ride - Tuesday, June 11, 2019
    Logged this ride 15 days ago
  • 0.4 mi ride - Afternoon Ride - Tuesday, June 11, 2019
    Logged this ride 15 days ago
  • 1.5 mi ride - Morning Ride - Tuesday, June 11, 2019
    Logged this ride 15 days ago
  • 2.1 mi ride - Morning Ride - Tuesday, June 11, 2019
    Logged this ride 15 days ago
  • Day 10: $10,265 raised, 294/300 miles done! 15 miles today, rest day
    11 Jun 2019

    (PS: All donations are DOUBLED on June 12th, as long as it is June 12th anywhere in the mainland USA. From 12am Eastern time to 12pm pacific time. Anyone considering donating, Wednesday June 12 would be a great day for that!!)

    When life gets really crazy and hectic and our brains have to simultaneously juggle multiple threads of thought, staying very disciplined in treatment protocols, work goals, kid goals, house goals, ...sometimes something has to give.

    I had become lax with my own personal goals, and experienced bouts of mindless eating, binge eating, emotion eating, bored eating, Netflix eating, midnight ice-cream eating, chocolate and cheeto lunch eating, just-feel-like-munching-coz-I’m-thinking eating, stress eating, ..all of it. That never feels good in the long run, yet in the moment feels just right.

    My erratic eating schedule was very much my personal problem, probably a coping mechanism when things were out of my control. I remember eating pretty badly in the hospital, preferring junk food to regular food when cooped up in the hospital. A lot of parents in the 9th floor of the hospital would meet in the common family fridge room for a quick bite.

    I remember seeing a large man almost in tears, as he recounted how his teenage son had woken up, looked at him as the Dad was about to eat a large taco, and for the first time in many months asked to eat the taco. The son hungrily wolfed it down. The Dad was crying in happiness, his son finally ate real food!

    One side effect of the chemo that I hate, is it destroys taste buds and appetite in many weird ways. The steroids cause painful hunger that cannot be satiated with food, and causes cravings for salty/greasy/spicy foods. Lots of kids eat junk at that time, Vinay also eats cheese sandwich, or mac and cheese or pizza or chips, chips, chips during those times. Other chemos cause the infamous mouth sores that makes eating those very same spicy/salty food painful. Yet other chemos like methotrexate destroy all appetite, getting anything in is a miracle. Doctors are happy if calories go in. Most of the time we are asked to chip away at the calorie goals of the day, little by little.

    Today, I took a much needed rest day, and only rode 15 easy miles, in small chunks, little by little. My lower back was tight, hip flexors had knots and my legs were sore just climbing the stairs. I had started this challenge wanting to ride at the edge of my limits, and today, I felt that edge. I’m as proud of today’s miles as any other, I look forward to recovering and getting stronger!

    A positive side effect of cycling everyday has been a decline in the need to use food for anything else but fuel. I haven’t been motivated to eat unnecessary crap, and enjoy a happy mood after every ride.

    I have almost accomplished the mileage goals, 294 miles done in 10 days! Take that mileage goal! Of course, just like the fundraiser kept going, so will I keep riding. Kids need new treatments NOW. No time to let up. New mileage goals coming up tomorrow!!

    Day 10: $10,265 raised, 294/300 miles done! 15 miles today, rest day
    Posted 15 days ago
  • 11.8 mi ride - Evening Ride - Monday, June 10, 2019
    Logged this ride 16 days ago
  • 0.4 mi ride - Afternoon Ride - Monday, June 10, 2019
    Logged this ride 16 days ago
  • 1.8 mi ride - Lunch Ride - Monday, June 10, 2019
    Logged this ride 16 days ago
  • 1.4 mi ride - Morning Ride - Monday, June 10, 2019
    Logged this ride 16 days ago
  • Day 9: $10,229 raised and a whooshing 30 mile ride!
    10 Jun 2019

    When I describe the phases of the cancer treatment, it might feel like a lot, but we did not do it alone. There was incredible community support and teamwork behind the scenes, without which life would have been unimaginably harder. It would have been hard to provide the level of care that Vinay needed.

    We had just moved into our new home on May 22, 2016, the day Vinay’s cancer was discovered. We left hundreds of boxes in our living room, and left to the hospital, only to return 15 days later. My parents changed their flight tickets, extended their stay, and started settling our home. My sister and BIL cleaned and returned our old apartment, and helped fix teething troubles like plumbing issues, leaking AC in our new house. They took care of cooking/cleaning.

    One parent accompanied me on the long days, to be able to buy food for me, as I was always tied up with Vinay, and buying food was impossible. During innumerable hospital stays, mom cooked, and Sudhakar brought food for me at night. We always planned for Vinay’s food, but my food was overlooked, unless family helped out. So many friends just brought in food, Veena, Bharagavi (I still have your dishes, sorry). In the first year, I maintained a flexible work schedule around Vinay’s treatments, working triply hard on my work when Vinay was at home, I couldn’t have managed without a super supportive advisor, Dr Aazhang, and my Dad and later MIL helping us out at home. Sudhakar became a great team player, maintaining his job, paying the bills, and keeping a life of normalcy for Vani taking her to all her activities, and helping me out when my own work schedule demanded it. In the last 2 years, I have come to rely on his support more than ever, as he has worked around my class schedule over the years.

    None of this could have happened without help from people, and today, an old friend from Bartlesville helped me out on my ride. He is Mike Joosten, living in Houston now, an incredible athlete, and he offered to ride with me at my speed and on my schedule. He gave me extra water, taught me about nutrition, hydration, gave me an amazing bar, took me on trails I have never seen before, ensured my safety, and helped me complete 30 miles in 2 hrs 22 min, the fastest I have ever gone in my life. I never even knew I could ride that fast. Time flew swiftly, with conversation, I got a real good workout, and I’m really sore, I was sweating and I drank 3 times the water I normally drink. I might not have been able to ride without the company today, and for the first time, I was done by 8:00pm!! A lot of people have been helping me, Dr. Don Johnson constantly gives me riding and trail advice, and many have offered to ride with me. Without all you awesome people, this fundraiser would never have taken off! We are doing this together as a community!

    These swift 30 miles are dedicated to all the amazing people who step up and help out during hard times. It is truly a team effort; this can rarely be done alone.

    Day 9: $10,229 raised and a whooshing 30 mile ride!
    Posted 16 days ago
  • 30.3 mi ride - Afternoon Ride - Sunday, June 9, 2019
    Logged this ride 17 days ago
  • Day 8: $10100 raised, a rest day today??
    9 Jun 2019

    After the first 15 whirlwind days of Vinay’s first hospital admission right after being diagnosed with cancer in May 2016, we were given a bunch of rules before being discharged. Two of those rules were drilled into our heads:

    Rule 1: Any fever that reaches 100.4, should be monitored and measured again in an hour. If it is still 100.4 or more, go to the emergency (ER) immediately

    Rule 2: Any fever that touches 101, is an instant ER visit. Even if the temperature spikes >101 for a second, we HAVE to go to ER.

    In the first 270 days of treatment, Vinay went to the hospital for over 150 days. Whether it was a 2 day visit or a 10 day stay, we looked forward to being released from the hospital more than anything.

    I vividly recall returning home close to 9pm, looking forward to eating dinner and finally sleeping in my own bed, when an hour later, Vinay would spike a fever of 102. My heart would just sink, knowing that we would have to return to the ER, he would get 2 pokes and I would get no sleep, maybe an admission again. I really didn’t want to go, but I had to will myself to get ready. Sometimes I counted 5-4-3-2-1-go, and told myself, at “go” I had to get up and move. This scenario happened many times. Sometimes at 1am, sometimes 3am. Vinay used to sleep with me, and I would wake up with temperature changes, and always had to battle with myself, about the consequences if I skipped going, if something happened, could I live with myself? A fever could represent an infection, which could be devastating in immune compromised kids like Vinay.

    Today, I did not want to ride at all. My body was weary and needing sleep, and I made every excuse possible to skip riding today. “Its too hot”, “I need a rest day”, “I’ve already done 212 miles in 1 week”, “I have kids at home, they need me”. Truth is, my supportive husband can take care of the kids too. I battled with myself, finally counted 5-4-3-2-1-go, and stepped outside. The hardest part was getting myself out the door.

    I did give myself a little break and took a rest day, I only rode 20 miles on the brays bayou trail today. I only stopped when I saw a majestic skyline of the medical center, with the buildings Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston Methodist and numerous MD Anderson Cancer center buildings all looking at me, they seemed to me cheering me on. They seemed to say, “your ride matters, the funds raised matter, keep going!”

    PS: I finished writing this after the 20 miler ride, looked at the time, said 5-4-3-2-1-GO and finished another 10 miles inside my community. I’m not ready to take a break just yet. 30 miles today!!

    Day 8: $10100 raised, a rest day today??
    Posted 17 days ago
  • 10.1 mi ride - Night Ride - Saturday, June 8, 2019
    Logged this ride 17 days ago
  • 20.2 mi ride - Evening Ride - Saturday, June 8, 2019
    Logged this ride 18 days ago
  • Day 7: $10000+ raised!! Is this a dream? 30 jubilant miles done!
    8 Jun 2019

    I thought it would be smart to finish my biking early in the day, but 10 miles in the merciless sun left me with a headache and a firm resolution that I’m not going to ride in the hot afternoon sun again. Nevertheless, I needed to finish my miles early, as Vinay was bringing his best buddy home for a sleepover, and I wanted to be home in time!

    In the evening, way before the sun set, I decided to head back to the Terry Hershey Park, with an attempt to finally find the George Bush Park. Wow, how different everything is when the sun is up, and people are around! I thought I had seen all there was to see, but the trail got prettier and prettier, stretching into infinity flanked by trees and creeks inhabited by alligators, while the sun peered through the final frontiers, as I stared open mouthed at the splendor, …until I swallowed a bug. Yuck! I finished 30 tough miles today, much harder than yesterday’s smooth miles on the same trails. My legs are tired.

    Earlier today I had scratched my leg on the gears, but I did not even bleed. My platelet cells in my blood caused it to clot so rapidly, thank you very much. My mind went back to a story a renowned oncologist at MD Anderson Dr. Vivek Subbiah, had told me soon after Vinay’s diagnosis.

    Sixty years ago, leukemia was a killer disease. 3-5 yr old, kids had bruises, fevers, headaches and bleeding, bleeding from the their ears, eyes, nose, skin, internal bleeding, vomiting blood, most died within the week. The hospital looked like a butcher shop, with different hospitals trying their own drugs with futility. The cancerous white blood cells would rapidly die, but never completely, returning with a vengeance, multiplying like crazy, now resistant to the same drugs previously given. The situation was so hopeless that doctors preferred to just give palliative end of life treatment as kids dropped dead before them.

    Dr. Emil Freireich, a young researcher in the 50’s was the first to combine the chemotherapy drugs that had been used separately in various hospitals until then, and pioneered combination chemotherapy. He combined multiple drugs to attack those nasty cancer cells, killing them before they knew what hit them.

    Why did leukemia kids bleed so much? Normal people have platelets between 100-250K, white blood cells 8-10K. Vinay’s biggest symptom in the week leading to his cancer discovery was fever, cough, and a new bruise every day. We thought he was playing too rough, like a typical 4 year old. His blood counts had revealed that his platelets were only 5K, while the white blood counts were ~69K, mostly filled with cancer cells. His bone marrow was 93% crowded with cancerous white blood cells, preventing production of much needed clotting platelets.

    Dr. Emil Friereich’s was the first to transfuse his own platelets, into cancer kids, causing their bleeding to stop, allowing the drugs to work. Platelet transfusion was born!

    His pioneering research led to the combination therapy for leukemia using 6-MP, vincristine, prednisone and methotrexate (Vinay takes all 4 drugs since the last 3 years!), that was shown to actually cure leukemia. He had even gotten into severe trouble for his unorthodox thinking back in the day, today he is one of the seminal oncologists that made M.D. Anderson what it is today.

    Imagine what the future research could do!! Imagine what new treatments can emerge? We are raising money for future researches and innovative minds, and we are going to KICK cancer’s butt!!

    Day 7: $10000+ raised!! Is this a dream? 30 jubilant miles done!
    Posted 18 days ago
  • $10,000 raised to fight kids' cancer!

    I just hit $10,000 to fight kids' cancer! Thank you so much for your support.

    Posted 19 days ago
  • 19.8 mi ride - Evening Ride - Friday, June 7, 2019
    Logged this ride 19 days ago
  • 7.5 mi ride - Afternoon Ride - Friday, June 7, 2019
    Logged this ride 19 days ago
  • 2.2 mi ride - Lunch Ride - Friday, June 7, 2019
    Logged this ride 19 days ago
  • 1.1 mi ride - Morning Ride - Friday, June 7, 2019
    Logged this ride 19 days ago
  • Day 6: ~$9700 raised! Guess: Did I ride today?
    7 Jun 2019

    Surviving on just 4 hrs of sleep, with 150 miles in the last 5 days, flat bike tires and piling work; any sane person would agree that it would be appropriate to take a rest day today.

    However, when was I ever sane?? Each new day is a new opportunity. I decided to ride in the hot noon sun, in the Terry Hershey park, so I could take Vinay to his biweekly hospital visit at 3pm. Although I didn’t care about the stark tan lines gifted by my previous sunny rides, I do care about sun damage. What do we say to the God of Sun? Not today!! After my new bike tube was inserted at the bike shop, I started my ride with enthusiasm, armed with full sun-protective gear.

    2 miles into the ride, my elation was deflated along with my tire. I had a FLAT tire. Again. I returned to the bike shop to have everything replaced. New tires, new tubes. While I waited, a teenage kid, Alex, patiently explained the biking routes in great detail for over an hour. Unfortunately, time is not patient, and when I was ready to roll with my new wheels, it was time to pick up Vinay from his camp Acorn and head to the hospital.

    Still clad in biking gear, we headed home after a tiny 3 hr hospital visit, followed by dinner for kids, chemo meds and bedtime. For the kids, not me! I still had to complete my ride! I knew when we reached Terry Hersey park at 8:40, I only had limited time until 10:00 to get my miles in. Husband planned to run till 10:00pm to keep me company. And thus began my Day 6 ride.

    How do I describe wind-at-my-back speedy miles through a scenic grassy hill, watching the sky reflect the setting sun onto majestic pink clouds? With the wind whooshing past me, I rapidly reached the George bush park, but turned around as the clock was ticking, marveling at how accurate the instructions were, and how an hour of talking about landmarks really helped me. Thanks Alex!!

    Darkness descended on the way back, not a soul on the trail, yet I could not contain my joy as a smiling moon lit the snaking tar pathway into a silver ribbon, and thousands of bugs began their nocturnal operatic symphony, and my legs turned way faster than they usually do, the miles passing by me as swiftly as the bugs that bumped into me. This is day 6, I expected suffering and pain, yet my heart was full, sometimes joy finds its way into the strangest of places, and 17 happy miles later, the park closed and I headed back, to complete 9 more community loop miles for an even 30 miles.

    I couldn’t help think about how resilient kids are, the dreadful word C-A-N-C-E-R (or boo boo in the blood) meant nothing to Vinay. It was like a mere annoying fly getting in the way of having fun, just needing to be swatted away, like the bugs I encountered today. Once his pain/hunger/nausea, or whatever his needs were could be contained, his priorities remained exploring hospital elevators (he knew the color of every floor), finding the hospital tricycle, or bothering grandpa for the 1000th time to make paper planes or repeat the puzzles. There were many days he could only lie limp and listless, but he never dwelt on how bad things were, he only focused on how much fun he needed to have! Each new day brought new opportunities for him.

    These 30 miles are to celebrate the resilience of cancer kids and their siblings. We continue to raise money so they can get back to having fun even sooner with less pain along the way! Thank you amazing people, for joining me on this ride!

    Day 6: ~$9700 raised! Guess: Did I ride today?
    Posted 19 days ago
  • 9.0 mi ride - Night Ride - Thursday, June 6, 2019
    Logged this ride 20 days ago
  • 17.1 mi ride - Evening Ride - Thursday, June 6, 2019
    Logged this ride 20 days ago
  • 4.1 mi ride - Afternoon Ride - Thursday, June 6, 2019
    Logged this ride 20 days ago
  • Day 5: WOW!! $9300+ raised! 30 weary miles today.
    6 Jun 2019

    The days until now have been hot, sweltering and sunny, but not today. Today was the “other” kind of June day, wet and rainy. I did not ride my bike until the evening, thinking I was giving my legs a rest, but I regretted every mile I walked, wishing I were biking it instead.

    At 8:30pm, I did 10 miles outside, my legs were so tired, I decided to move indoors and continued another 10 miles, and then my legs felt really dead, I decided to go back outside. My legs were extremely sluggish and I was unable to get the cadence going. I stepped out of the bike to check. Holy cow! My front tire was completely flat!!! Whew, I was worried my legs were giving out! That’s an easy fix for tomorrow, in the meantime I came back home and completed the ride on the trainer, finishing slow laborious 30 miles! It has been a crazy day.

    On an "other" kind of rainy June day, I wanted to write about the “other” child, the cancer sibling. In all the chaos of the diagnosis and constant hospital visits, a cancer sibling gets thrown into utter chaos too. Poor Vani, she told me later that she used to cry at school worrying that her brother would die. Her teacher kept complaining all year that she was very shy, lacked confidence and was withdrawn (completely NOT like my Vani at all). Once, when I had returned after many hospital days, Vani said to me “I thought you were never coming back, I thought you are not going to be my mom anymore”. She mostly hung out with Dad, he dropped her and picked her up from school, which was great, but she missed the rest of us. She was only 7, and she went through simultaneous feelings of being left out, while also feeling very scared for Vinay.

    We couldn’t do much, except we tried to involve her as much as possible. She came for all the visits when she did not have school, she had support in the hospital, and she got to create many original songs in the recording studio at TCH. Her first song was all about her brother “I wish I was there”, she made this soon after diagnosis. We are so lucky she loves her brother, despite all his attempts to annoy her! He adores her and cannot spend a minute away from her.

    When Vinay finished the 1st year of intensive treatment, I took Vani to Disney world (thanks for hosting us Laxmi!) to spend some one-on-one time with her, and those 3 days were the best days ever. Now she is almost 10, and is so much more mature, but life isn’t very fair for the siblings of cancer kids.

    These crazy 30 miles are for you Vani, and all other siblings of cancer kids who have to make adjustments and grow up so much faster, when there is more craziness in life!

    Day 5: WOW!! $9300+ raised!  30 weary miles today.
    Posted 20 days ago
  • 8.8 mi ride - Night Ride - Wednesday, June 5, 2019
    Logged this ride 20 days ago
  • 1.1 mi ride - Night Ride - Wednesday, June 5, 2019
    Logged this ride 21 days ago
  • 10.0 mi ride - Night Ride - Wednesday, June 5, 2019
    Logged this ride 21 days ago
  • 10.1 mi ride - Evening Ride - Wednesday, June 5, 2019
    Logged this ride 21 days ago
  • Day 4: $8300+ raised! 30 reflective miles today.
    5 Jun 2019

    I started the day today with 20 zippy miles (zippy for me) around shady memorial park, despite having gone to bed with sore legs. I was thrilled to meet another Great Cycling Challenge rider Paul Eustace. While I rode, some amazing friends (Kalyan, Scott Grubb) and lovely neighbors donated generously to the cause! THANK you!

    I was very tired by the evening, and my eyes were closing on their own accord, and I thought I should sleep and recover. Just then I received some texts from a fellow cancer mom, whom I had met at Texas Children's Hospital a few weeks ago. Her bright little kid Owen is just 2 and was going through those long hungry PACU days at TCH back when I met them.

    Owen had just started phase 3: Delayed intensification, involving scheduled hospital admissions (Vinay had called them 5-4-3-2-1) and high dose IV methotrexate doses. Unfortunately, after 48 hrs, poor Owen has been having unimaginable reactions, and is in an isolated room now to be protected against carriers of chicken pox virus.

    His mom's texts were full of despair, helplessness, horror, anger coupled with grim determination and fierce resolve to save her son while she frantically talked to doctors and other moms for ideas. I couldn't sleep anymore.

    I rode many midnight miles, my mind transported back into Oct 2016, as I relived every moment of the IV methotrexate phase mile after slow mile. Here are some words I had written back then:

    "Oct 1, 2016: We had feared the worst about this chemo, methotrexate through the IV. The doctors warned us that it could burn his lining from mouth to butt. It is sad when the worst fears come true. We were discharged last Monday morning, and he was doing ok on Monday, drank a little milk. Tuesday, I could already see blood everywhere in his mouth, and he barely drank anything. Wednesday it got so bad, he didn't drink anything, his butt was bleeding, and his voice was super hoarse. It was painful for him to drink or speak. Also, his temperature started rising, and we went back to the emergency. We stayed there most of the day and they were willing to discharge him the same day, provided he drank something. Unfortunately nothing worked, until he was given morphine. That made him better."

    Vinay did not have it anywhere as bad as little Owen. Everybody has different reactions to this poison, a drug so potent, we are advised to handle it with gloves, lest the toxicity induces cancers in us. My heart bleeds for Owen and all kids on the 9th floor of TCH, where just like a commuter subway train, the hospital beds forever see an inflow and outflow of fighting cancer kids.

    THIS is why we are donating to this cause of fighting childhood cancer. THIS is why I'm motivated to ride longer and harder.

    Today's 30 miles is dedicated to you, Owen. Fight hard sweet boy.

    Day 4: $8300+ raised! 30 reflective miles today.
    Posted 21 days ago
  • 9.1 mi ride - Night Ride - Tuesday, June 4, 2019
    Logged this ride 22 days ago
  • 1.0 mi ride - Lunch Ride - Tuesday, June 4, 2019
    Logged this ride 22 days ago
  • Day3: $7800+ raised , 31 more miles, thinking of hungry kids
    4 Jun 2019

    June 3:

    After a morning ride, afternoon ride, evening rides, night ride, another 31 miles done. A very sweltering hot day, need to figure out riding in the ☀️!

    This post is dedicated to the hardest times of chemo treatment for little kids when they are given steroids that make them mad (roid rage is real) and extremely hungry, and then they are not allowed to eat for 8-10 hrs waiting for their lumbar puncture chemo that needs sedation, and hence no food allowed. No water allowed. Kids get IV fluids, but doesn’t help their hunger. Those were our hardest times, watching helplessly as Vinay begged for food, tried to grab paper to eat, just begging, and we couldn’t do anything.

    These rides are for the hunger from steroids and procedures that keep them hungry.

    Day3: $7800+ raised , 31 more miles, thinking of hungry kids
    Posted 22 days ago
  • 20.2 mi ride - Morning Ride - Tuesday, June 4, 2019
    Logged this ride 22 days ago
  • 4.7 mi ride - Night Ride - Monday, June 3, 2019
    Logged this ride 23 days ago
  • 1.6 mi ride - Evening Ride - Monday, June 3, 2019
    Logged this ride 23 days ago
  • 12.6 mi ride - Evening Ride - Monday, June 3, 2019
    Logged this ride 23 days ago
  • $7500 raised!! 78 miles done since June 1. Time for a celebratory ride!
    3 Jun 2019

    $7500+ raised for fighting cancer, thanks to ALL you awesome people! Just like Vinay eats his daily chemo meds, and celebrated this weekend at the water park, it now my turn to celebrate this milestone with a ride! Together we are going to kick cancer in the face.

    $7500 raised!! 78 miles done since June 1. Time for a celebratory ride!
    Posted 23 days ago
  • 11.5 mi ride - Afternoon Ride - Monday, June 3, 2019
    Logged this ride 23 days ago
  • 1.0 mi ride - Morning Ride - Monday, June 3, 2019
    Logged this ride 23 days ago
  • Day 2: $7300+ raised! Another 33 miles done in New Braunfels!
    2 Jun 2019

    At 5:59 am my eyes flew open, and 20 min later, with no breakfast and nothing but water, I started biking in New Braunfels finding my way to Landa’s Park. I decided to find a nice bike loop, and get my miles in before the kids woke up and started demanding water slide rides.

    As I tried to map out a bike route through idyllic Landa’s Park trails, crossing multiple deer and geese, I was interrupted by yells from large men in white Titleist hats asking me to “get off the course”. I was surprised as I saw people jogging on the same trails, and asked if I could ride until the golf course opened, but one look at their expressions and I realized the futility of it and found my way out. Probably a good idea too, getting hit on the head with a golf ball is not my idea of fun.

    I found my way to Fischer Park, hoping to find another bike loop, but encountered a gigantic mountainside, and the appropriately named “hilltop summit” at the top was a bunch of trails that were not bike friendly at all. They were only dog walking friendly, and mostly only for small dogs.

    In the process of finding these bike parks, I found myself driving street roads like I owned my lane. There was almost no traffic early in the morning, and the cars seemed even more terrified of me than I was of them, and I appreciated them giving me a wide berth.

    I also figured out my GPS problem! Turns out having the GPS in the “palm of my hand” or “right in front of my face” with duct tape was nothing compared to having the GPS in “the back of my pocket”, literally. The cycling jersey pocket held my phone while I focused to listen to the directions. It was annoying when I found myself doing a u-turn around a roundabout, when i could have turned around anytime! What did the phone think I was? A car???

    I realized that riding on the roads beat riding on trails, and after my failed attempts to get to a bike path, I biked into the first neighborhood I found. I rode a 0.5 mile loop, over and over again, zooming past stop signs with impunity, (after all, I’m no car); watching people emerge around 8:00am with lawnmowers and dogs. Cars actually waited at stop signs for me to pass, (so polite!) and I was reminded of the calm life in Bartlesville Oklahoma. After some hours, when my cycling computer died (thank god i had started my watch GPS simultaneously!), I decided to head back to the family!

    On my way back, I was thrilled to encounter a friendly group of bike riders going on their Sunday snail ride, and I joined them for a couple of miles riding over a gorgeous bridge with cascading emerald water!

    This was a lovely 33 mile ride through New Braunfels, my longest ride, faster than yesterday by almost 2 hrs!!

    I have always hated my fat thunder thighs, but not today! I realized I am blessed with twin barrels of reserve fuel sources! Who needs food when you are so fueled up already? Food was just fuel for Vinay too, cancer meds destroyed his appetite, his taste buds, and any interest in food. The doctor told us, get him calories, get in ice cream if you can. At one point he had lost so much weight, the doctors told us “if you can’t get his weight up in 1 week, he will have to get a feeding tube”.

    We showed Vinay you tube videos of tube surgeries and stuffed pediasure down his through while he watched, with a syringe. It takes 23 syringes to complete a pediasure. 3-4 pediasures a day. For the next 2 years since then. After a year he moved to sippy cups and eventually began drinking them himself. Sometimes for fun, he syringe feeds himself. Sometimes, food is fuel!

    Thank you guys for following my extra long stories, and all your support! We will kick cancer’s butt together!!

    Day 2: $7300+ raised! Another 33 miles done in New Braunfels!
    Posted 24 days ago
  • 33.0 mi ride - Morning Ride - Sunday, June 2, 2019
    Logged this ride 24 days ago
  • 1st ride: 32 miles through Austin! No family trip can stop my ride
    1 Jun 2019

    Let the games begin!!!! First ride: 32 miles this morning in Austin!

    32 miles snaking through the heart of Austin! I did my longest bike ride ever. We reached Austin at 1:00am to visit my sister, the plan was to leave to New Braunfels at noon.

    I on the other hand, had my own plans. I left at 7:00am, duck taping my phone on the handlebar for GPS, and headed out on the bike. I hoped to ride South, as far as I could, until husband picked me up on route to the water park.

    Not a biker, never ridden on city roads, don’t know Austin, GPS was useless, duck tape was a bad idea, couldn’t access the phone, couldn’t see the phone. Finally I asked people at intersections: which way south? Barnett. Which way south? Now Lamar. Which way south? Congress Ave. Which way south? I 35 side road. Not allowed. Which way south? Old San Antonio rd. Find Buda. Husband found me in Buda, a tiny place south of Austin, in a Walgreens charging my phone.

    Why do all roads not come with dedicated bike lanes? I wished I had a car horn on my bike for every car that came close to me. Still, Austin is beautiful, I started with the cool morning sun and dog walkers, passed by joggers in central Austin, across a beautiful emerald green lake, into run down storage like areas, with a helpful USPS truck crossing me to stop in front of me, and then waiting for me to get in front of him and back forth we went. He helped me with directions too. Everyone did. Except the stupid phone.

    I could have gone so much faster and longer if only I had chosen a better place to ride, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. The rush through city traffic felt like intensive chemo treatment phase. Car, car, car, light, need red blood, need platelets, vomit, no sidewalk, don’t hit me, bike path is back, hill, hill, fever, ER, please no virus, poke, poke, poke, poke, trucks, why does bus need to get into the bike lane?, no more admission please, again back at ER, big intersection, look at the view, enjoy the moment.

    Getting out of the city on old Santonio road, after 3 hrs, felt like sweet relief. But it was like the maintenance phase, I thought I was done, and now 2.5 years more? 20 miles more? It was a single lane road, with no shoulder, no bike path (ha ha) just a white line to stay on the very right. The rear view glasses (thanks Dr Don Johnson) was incredible, I started waving at every car that passed me by. This ride was a slow grueling grind just like the maintenance phase. You think there is not much chemo(traffic) but you can never let your guard down.

    I was glad to be picked up in Buda, south of Austin after 32 miles! I love my Houston bike trails, I look forward to getting in much longer and faster miles soon!! I intend to crush those mileage goals and then some!!! Yaaahh!!

    My pictures were taken by strangers who texted them to me, as my phone was taped up and useless. A generous group gifted me Water, and a fire station gave me directions!Next shopping trip will remedy that!!!

    1st ride: 32 miles through Austin! No family trip can stop my ride
    Posted 25 days ago
  • 32.6 mi ride - Morning Ride - Saturday, June 1, 2019
    Logged this ride 25 days ago
  • >$6900 raised to fight cancer! Mind blowing! Thank you people
    31 May 2019

    WOW!! $6900+ raised!!! I’m completely mind blown 🤯. Thanks to you ALL amazing donors who have believed in this cause, and have joined this fight to kick cancer’s butt!! I just received an extremely generous anonymous donation of >$500, and thanks to that, our fundraiser is now rank #3 in the country!!!

    The challenger starts TOMORROW, and hopefully my first ride will be my longest ride!!

    I’m so excited!!!! — with Sudhakar Mahajanam.

    >$6900 raised to fight cancer! Mind blowing! Thank you people
    Posted 26 days ago
  • Vinay is a pro at drawing his own blood at the hospital! Reminded of why I ride.
    28 May 2019

    I went to the hospital this morning, the first time since I signed up for this biking challenge. It was Vinay's usual hospital appointment for "big" chemo through his chest port. He has become such a pro at port pokes and wanting to draw his own blood! Unfortunately, he developed an instant stomach ache after the steroids and chemo today, and he started panicking that he would miss his trip to Austin this coming weekend.

    Vinay plans our trips months in advance. He has been wanting to go to a water park when school is done, counting down since last Nov. After a year of no travel, vacations are a huge, HUGE deal for him. We have missed many planned events due to illness, and nothing terrifies him more than missing out on the fun.

    When I see the mental effects of such long treatments on Vinay, and on so many other kids undergoing treatment on the 14th floor of Texas Children's hospital, I am constantly reminded as to why I am riding 300 miles for this challenge. It is the only thing I can do! I look forward to riding again tonight. 3 more days to go...

    Our fundraiser is doing incredibly well - rank #4 in the country today!! We are all doing what we can to help kids in the future. Thank you!❤️

    Vinay is a pro at drawing his own blood at the hospital! Reminded of why I ride.
    Posted 29 days ago
  • $6000 reached! Truly amazing, in shock. 15 mile indoor training ride done.
    27 May 2019

    Wow! $6000 reached today, thanks to some extremely generous donors, 2 of them anonymous (but I think I know who you are!). Five of you amazing people donated today, 3 of you my undergrad classmates from India! I'm feeling incredibly humbled by this enormous outpouring of support. We are raising so much money as a community, I truly dream of a world where cancer treatments of today would be nothing more than a bad dream.

    To thank my donors, I completed a 15 mile indoor ride, converting my bike into a stationary one. I think have earned my sleep for tonight. When Vinay was undergoing the 1st year of treatment, he was under house- arrest. Chemo killed good and bad white blood cells, causing low immunity, which required him to not interact with people. He used to bike around a tiny area when he felt ok. I can never again complain about an indoor stationary ride, need to do whatever is needed to complete this challenge! I have completed over 150 miles in the last 2 weeks of training.

    5 days more to go before the start!

    $6000 reached! Truly amazing, in shock. 15 mile indoor training ride done.
    Posted 30 days ago
  • 31 mile training bike ride, thinking of brave Vinay on red tricycle
    26 May 2019

    After a 31 mile bike ride, I shake my head at how I went from patting myself on my cleverness just 3 hrs ago walking out the front door, to now fathoming my own depths of stupidity as I return home.

    I wanted to get on the white oak bayou biking trail to get a longer ride done. I first heard about it from a real cyclist at Rice, Sophie, then from my good friend Christi, and even my Rice professor Dr. Don Johnson. But it wasn’t until I saw the strava maps of another Rice cyclist Colin, that I realized I could follow his route to find the shortest path from my home to the white oak trail. I memorized the directions, but just to be doubly sure, I wrote them down on a “handy” cheatsheat (pun intended!), feeling awfully clever.

    My “handmade” GPS system worked great, though it was an annoying 5 miles of sidewalk biking before I found the trail. The trail was breathtakingly beautiful. In the light of a cool evening sun, flanked by enormous sunflowers and foliage, beside a bayou, passing multiple statue-like couples on benches, I almost forgot I was in Houston. The only give away was the constant roar of cars on the freeways, just out-of-sight but never out-of-sound; though I could almost imagine those sounds to be from a massive waterfall instead, and I was transported to a world within a world.

    Similar to when Vinay found a world of joy within the sterile hospital walls when he was admitted numerous times. He rode a red hospital tricycle on days he felt a little better; while we chased alongside him rolling his IV poles. He named those scheduled hospital visits as “5-4-3-2-1” to represent the 5 day treatment countdown, and hell would break lose if we did not find the red tricycle on the hospital floor. I remember he rode so hard, that blood would flow backwards into the IV tube, as his blood flow rate exceeded the IV fluid flow rate. It was no big deal, but so surprising his tiny fatigued body cared so much to ride, despite feeling unwell.

    With thoughts of Vinay, I enjoyed my ride, thrilled when the white oak bayou became the buffalo bayou, going through colorful downtown Houston, coming to an intersection and thinking (I better turn “that way” when I return), and made my way through an even more scenic buffalo bayou until my odometer hit 15 miles, and I then turned around.

    That’s when trouble began when I lost my way missing the correct fork, and hit a dead end; realizing that I had no idea where I was. Like any sensible person I asked for directions until a couple knew how to get back to the white oak trail. They soon gathered from my blank expressions that I had no idea what their 10 min long directions meant (all I gleaned was left, left, …bridge, another bridge,.… go down). Didn’t help. Eventually they walked me all the way to the white oak trail, as they saw me getting lost numerous times, they walked me all the way to an intersection and said, “go left and down here”, and I recognized the fork in the road I had made a mental note of! Now I knew where I was!

    I didn’t enjoy the night ride too much, having the GPS instructions in the “palm of my hand” wasn’t very helpful in decoding it in reverse. Nevertheless, I found my way home, 31 miles later. I need better strategies for long rides.

    I didn’t think I would write about cancer treatment today, but after spending 3 years NOT thinking about it, it is all I think about now. I think I’m ready for June, 1 more week to go!!

    31 mile training bike ride, thinking of brave Vinay on red tricycle
    Posted 31 days ago
  • Celebrated $5000+ with shopping and a 17 mile night ride!! Woo hoo!
    24 May 2019

    WOW!! $5000+ raised, still whooshing past our goals! Despite fatigued legs, I celebrated with a 17 mile night ride. However I didn’t really want to ride tonight, so I needed to mentally prep for it. Do you know the best way to prepare for pain? SHOPPING!!

    People talk about endorphins and runner’s high, but I prefer the “shopper’s high”. It starts with a line of thinking that wants to procrastinate. I need to ride right now, I need to ride at home, it’s too hot, I need a fan, lets go to Walmart and get a fan!! Have any of you ever shopped with just 1 thing in mind, and decide to browse through all the aisles just in case we are missing something? Yes, leads to even more of a “shopper’s high”.

    After bags of clothes, slippers, food and finally a fan, I headed home to discover the fan needed to be installed, (really?). Despite the lovely fan and Stephen Colbert, I could not survive more than 7 miles indoors, but I continued riding outside to do a hundred loop-de-loops in my community.... for a total of 17 miles!! Yes, I have earned my sleep.

    It’s so easy to get out and shop these days, I remember how hard it was when we were first admitted to the hospital with no end in sight. An amazing charitable organization in the hospital offers every family $25 worth of essential shopping. We write down what we need and they bring it. After a few days in the hospital, with very limited stuff from home, can you guess what was the most essential thing we needed?

    Underwear for Vinay!! The hospital charity was so kind, they gave us 2 dozen boy underwears, which Vinay still uses till today. We ran out of underwear super fast, because Vinay was being pumped with high doses of chemo, and he had so many cancer cells that were rapidly dying, it caused expected Ph imbalances. His blood counts, urine counts were monitored every 2 hours. He was also being pumped with crazy abouts of IV saline to ensure that he pees, and all the pee was captured for testing. Every 2 hrs in the day, and through the night. Try waking a 4 year old every 2 hrs for pokes/blood draws, weight checks, blood pressure, temperature, peeing attached to a large IV tube, wash hands, back to bed, repeat. We ran out of underwears pretty quick!

    I cannot describe how thrilled and grateful I am to my amazing family, friends, old classmates and new. Today we received generous donations from so many in the US, and some from India and one from UK!! Still amazed. Any support, whether it be a donation or a wave and a cheer, is all appreciated immensely. Our fundraiser is now the 8th in the country!! I’m increasing the goal to $7500, to make this really challenging, and I keep on riding my bike. The 300 mile challenge starts in 1 week!! We are KICKING cancer’s butt!

    Celebrated $5000+ with shopping and a 17 mile night ride!! Woo hoo!
    Posted 33 days ago
  • $5,000 raised to fight kids' cancer!

    I just hit $5,000 to fight kids' cancer! Thank you so much for your support.

    Posted 34 days ago
  • The day it all began..…
    23 May 2019

    May 22, 2016: Exactly, 3 years ago, Vinay was diagnosed with cancer on this day. On that day, I wrote: “May 22, 2016: Vinay had been suffering from a virus, with a cough. We came to the doctor wondering why his fever stayed high after ~4 days, and after noticing a pattern of bruises on his body over the last 4 days. Turns out to be CANCER. Leukemia. We are in total shock, I am still in denial. This cannot be true. Writing to update friends and family who have questions, and to keep a record of what's going on. And to vent lots of frustration, and confusion. It's been a heartbreaking day for us.”

    May 22, 2019: Here's a little information on how The Great Cycle Challenge USA started. It all started with the caring selflessness of Katie Hageboeck, for without her, none of this would be possible. Here is her story:


    In 1979, 13-year old Katie Hageboeck, from Wayzata, MN, was nearing the end of her 16-month battle with leukemia. Knowing she was losing her battle, Katie asked that the money she’d been saving for a 10-speed bicycle be donated to a little-known fund for the University of Minnesota called Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

    Katie's dream was to find a cure so that other kids facing cancer would survive.

    A little over a year after Katie’s passing, her parents, Diana and Norm, and friends of the family organized what they thought was a one-time benefit fundraiser to honor Katie’s wish.

    Thirty five years later, this “Dawn of a Dream” benefit is still taking place, and Children's Cancer Research Fund has grown from a small grassroots fundraiser into a national non-profit committed to finding a cure for childhood cancer.

    Starting with a little girl donating money she'd saved to buy a bicycle, Katie never got the chance to ride a new bike. So, we will be riding for her in this year’s Great Cycle Challenge USA to realize her dream of a world without childhood cancer.


    Children's Cancer Research Fund

    Great Cycle Challenge USA


    May 22 is a day to remember, personally and for the Great Cycle Challenge. Today is tribute day, and I will dedicate tonight's night ride to kick cancer's butt.

    The day it all began..…
    Posted 35 days ago
  • ~$4500 raised!! 10 miles interval ride done
    22 May 2019

    ~$4500 raised for cancer research!!! Mind-boggling!! I did a very different 10 mile training ride today, with 10 more days left before the 300 mile challenge begins in June!!

    I decided to do an intense interval bike ride, using a 30 min you-tube video. I ride easy for a couple of minutes and then cycle as hard as I can at a much harder gear for 30 sec. Repeat that 8 times. Sudhakar and kids cheered me on, and they took a small video! I’m also getting data hungry, and gathered my heart rate data to see if I’m really working hard enough, or if I’m indeed getting stronger. I love seeing my heart pump faster to deliver much needed oxygen to allow me to pedal so much harder. I better be getting stronger!!

    The red blood cells in my body do a good job of delivering oxygen to my muscles. I know this because we have seen what low hemoglobin can do in a human body. Vinay has leukemia, which is a cancer of the white blood cells. The chemo given to kill the bad white blood cells also destroys the red blood cells. He is then given blood transfusions to recover. Vinay, my little zippy tornado causing destruction in his path, became limp and listless so many times. All due to insufficient oxygen due to low red blood cells. After a transfusion, he would be back! It was always scary though, as he had allergic reactions to blood many times. Yet, it is what has saved his life. We are so grateful to so many people who donate blood. Both Sudhakar and I have donated blood 2-3 times every year to give back in our own little way. With these thoughts I ride these intervals, hoping to become stronger. Really excited about this cycling challenge. SO, SO grateful for all your amazing support, from across the globe!

    ~$4500 raised!! 10 miles interval ride done
    Posted 36 days ago
  • $4000 exceeded and 27 miles done. Thinking of IV pokes.
    20 May 2019

    I did an unexpected 27 miles ride today. I really wanted to test out my fancy new GPS cycling computer, so I went to bike shop to get it working. From there, I decided to ride home, after all I now have a fancy new GPS device, with navigation, should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong!

    What the hell does “you’re riding north “ even mean? That is as useless as telling me to ride into the sunset! I managed to find my way to Terry Hershey park, which I know well, but I needed to get out of it, and after a few dead ends and useless navigational instructions, I found a way to go the other side of the I-10!! This got me excited, but then what? Left or right? I decided to go “west” because I had a 50% chance of getting it right, but I was 100% wrong. Bad GPS. I soon learnt that I had no idea where I was, so it had to be the “other way”. That’s how good directions are given, take notes GPS. "This way", "that way", "other way", "forward", "backward". SO simple. Apparently riding “east” (whatever that is) was good, and I discovered I was riding alongside Dairy Ashford on a lovely bike path, when it dead ended into I-10 again with no bike path. I looped back as I remembered a sign for another bike path, called Turkey creek. I just kept “east”, but still couldn’t find any familiar streets. Went back to I-10 to discover I was near the beltway, but on "this" side, and I had to get to the "other" side. At least I knew where I was. Whew. So, 25 miles later, headed back home.

    My navigational challenges due to an unavailability of an idiot proof GPS device reminded me of all the challenges the nurses had in finding veins in little Vinay for an IV poke. It takes 3 to hold him down while a nurse searches and pokes for a vien, and worst is when she cannot find one and tries again at a different location. Finally after his playful mood has been ruined with wires sticking out of his arm, Vinay would rip the whole IV apparatus out when our backs were turned, and as blood erupted like a fountain geyser from his arm, he would get doubly mad as he hates getting wet. Then the whole process of pinning him down & searching for a good vein would start all over again. IV pokes are the worst kinds of pokes in kids.

    With these thoughts in my head I returned home to find an awesome cycling jersey waiting for me, and I rode 2 more miles with the kids. I learnt something new today people: wherever you are, heading “east” is a good way to get home.

    $4000 exceeded and 27 miles done. Thinking of IV pokes.
    Posted 38 days ago
  • ~$3500 raised!!! We did it!! Woo hoo❤️🙏
    18 May 2019

    THANK you so much everyone! In less than a day we met this goal too. Thanks to all your donations, Our fundraiser is now #1 in TEXAS!! And rank #13 in the country!! We are on a roll, aren’t we? We are still in such a nascent stage, it’s only been 4 days since I clicked “join” on this challenge without much thought. Wow!

    I have now updated the fundraising goals to $5000. I’ve decided to cap the biking miles 🚴🏽‍♀️ at 300 mi (for now) as it is a nice round number, and I have no idea how hard it is to do.

    Also my mom is going to kill me.

    However I don’t intend to train or ride with any arbitrary ceiling or limits in mind, just like this fundraiser. I’ll go far as my body allows me. I just wish I decided to do this a few months ago and I would have trained for months instead of days. Nevertheless, we push hard anyway 🚴🏽‍♀️🚴🏽‍♀️🚴🏽‍♀️. THANK YOU ALL again 🙏

    ~$3500 raised!!! We did it!! Woo hoo❤️🙏
    Posted 39 days ago
  • 21 mi done! A tribute to all the hospital visits
    18 May 2019

    21 miles done!! I admit I was scared, my previous midnight ride left me feeling like the tank was empty. Was it food? Water? Sleep? Just me? I wondered what was wrong.

    Not today!!! It was a beautiful day, I overcame my fear of going on the main roads, and rode some circles in memorial park. I felt just as good returning home at 7:30 am, as I did returning home from numerous midnight emergency visits and long hospital stays. So often we were released at 5am and I eventually made it home by 7:30am, just like today. All cancer families can relate, being released from the hospital is the best feeling ever!!! Let’s see how high we can go!!! Have a lovely weekend ❤️

    21 mi done! A tribute to all the hospital visits
    Posted 39 days ago
  • ~$3000 raised!!!! I am still mindblown.
    18 May 2019

    I came to the fundraiser page early this morning to post this update that I posted on Facebook! “WOW!!! We exceeded $2500 in fundraising!! Thank you to so many awesome donators, supports, friends, family members, community members, ... YOU GUYS ROCKS! It's so wonderful that so many of you care to fund cancer research. New goals: raise $3000, ride 290 miles!!”

    When I opened the page, we were already at $2994.4!!! This is incredible! I have NO idea how much money we can raise. I do know this. I’m not going back to sleep. I have a ride I need to do 🚴🏽‍♀️🚴🏽‍♀️🚴🏽‍♀️

    ~$3000 raised!!!! I am still mindblown.
    Posted 39 days ago
  • $2,500 raised to fight kids' cancer!

    I just hit $2,500 to fight kids' cancer! Thank you so much for your support.

    Posted 40 days ago
  • WOW $2300+ raised!!!!!! How did we do this???
    17 May 2019

    After a 13 mile midnight ride later tonight, I was contemplating how just a little while earlier I was planning to not ride tonight. "I need a rest day", I thought.

    After insufficient sleep last night (kids still have school), I had to leave early from work to attend my daughter's choir recital today. Vani was so excited, she had a surprise for me. She even called me 10 min earlier from somebody's phone to check if I was coming. It was an hour in traffic, but I made it 5 min early, and got prime seats, and what a treat it was!! The kids are AMAZING! Vani kept smiling at me, and the surprise was that she was one of 5 descants (or some fancy choir soprano word) singing a special part!

    We then had to go back in traffic for another recital at a hindu temple, where she sang carnatic classical music. Both recitals were scheduled for the same day, of course. That was awesome too! Sudhakar picked up the younger kid and made it to the 2nd recital. Followed by dinner & play time at the park!!

    Back home, I completed some work as I left early, and decided "I did 15 mi yesterday, I can take a day off". And then I opened facebook at 11:15pm, just before bed.

    My jaw dropped. Seriously, is this real???? Amazing wonderful supportive people donated >$2300?? I'm rank #3 in TX on the fundraising leaderboard and rank #33 in the country!! Is that insane or what?

    There was NO WAY I was going to sleep after that!!!! It was torture to start the ride, my rear end hurt, (not my legs), but it got better in 5 min. I did it!! (>10mi is a good day) I need to find my limits so I can figure out how to pace myself. At 12.5 miles, my legs started turning super slowly. Guess there are walls to cycling too?

    Normally I find cycling alone too boring, but this time I had thoughts to keep me company. I thought a lot about Vinay's treatments, and dreamt about what new drugs could be developed from the money we raise. In 1960's people routinely died from leukemia, and doctors were contemplating not treating them anymore, as all it did was give false hopes before severe relapses. Cancer research brought us to where we are today, and we now talk about survival rates and cure rates!! Just imagine what could come in the future!? THANK YOU people, we are donating for a great cause!!!

    WOW $2300+ raised!!!!!! How did we do this???
    Posted 40 days ago
  • New goal: to raise $2500, I pledge to bike 280 miles in June
    16 May 2019

    Woo hoo!!!!❤️We raised $1500!! In 1.5 days! This is game on people. You are all fabulous, and we are going to raise so much together! Updated goals: $2500, ride 280 miles.

    Eating some tres leches cake, to prepare for another training ride RIGHT NOW!!!!

    I am super excited, I just got a worried phone call from my mom, “are you crazy, don’t raise the miles!!” Ha ha, where’s the fun without that??? 🤣

    PS: Writing this later: When I said RIGHT NOW, what I really meant is that I'm going for a ride RIGHT after the kids eat, finish their homework, Vinay finishes his daily chemo, take baths, brush teeth, demand a story for a millionth time, go to bed, stay in bed, go back to bed, fall asleep. So I took a break after that and went for ride at 11:30pm, and finished at 12:43 am. I finished a 15 miler!! Woo hoo!!

    Bike riding at midnight is unexpectedly delightful, we have a 0.1 mile loop in my community, 150 rounds of that with no traffic and cool air! Yes, this is awesome, very do-able.

    We've got to raise a LOT of money to challenge me !

    New goal: to raise $2500, I pledge to bike 280 miles in June
    Posted 41 days ago
  • We raised $1000 in <24 hrs!! You guys are incredible
    15 May 2019

    Dear friends, I am still sitting in disbelief that a goal of $1000 was reached this morning! I'm so thankful to some amazing friends and family who support the cause of childhood cancer research, wow!!

    To make this challenging, I'm going to increase the fundraising goal by $500, and every time the goal goes up, I pledge to ride 10 more miles in the month. So the new goals are: to raise $1500, I pledge to ride 260 miles in June. Let's see how high this goes! THANK YOU all!!

    I did my first ride close to midnight last night. A meager 5 miles, but its a start!

    We raised $1000  in <24 hrs!! You guys are incredible
    Posted 42 days ago
  • $1,000 raised to fight kids' cancer!

    I just hit $1,000 to fight kids' cancer! Thank you so much for your support.

    Posted 42 days ago
  • Wow, thank you! We’ve already raised $500 for cancer research!
    15 May 2019

    Thank you all for your donations in support of raising money for kids’ cancer research! I am so pumped and excited by all your support, I have decided to up the bar! I now hope to raise $1000 and ride 250 mi in June. I will start training for these next 15 days until June, and then it’s game (bike) on!

    Wow, thank you! We’ve already raised $500 for cancer research!
    Posted 43 days ago
  • $500 raised to fight kids' cancer!

    I just hit $500 to fight kids' cancer! Thank you so much for your support.

    Posted 43 days ago
  • $250 raised to fight kids' cancer!

    I just hit $250 to fight kids' cancer! Thank you so much for your support.

    Posted 43 days ago
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