Newswise — In four weeks, 23 year-old cancer survivor Phil Bayliss will complete an improbable 4,300-mile bike tour across the U.S. which began in San Diego and will end August 21, in Sea Isle City, N.J. Bayliss, who is riding alongside his best friend, Jon Triantafyllou, is expected to raise $30,000 for cancer research.
“I was one of the lucky ones who caught my cancer early,” says Bayliss, a Saint Joseph’s University business graduate student living in Philadelphia. “Not everyone is as fortunate.” In October of 2009, Bayliss was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Doctors removed his thyroid on January 7, 2010 and declared Bayliss cancer-free. But his story doesn’t end there.
The next day, Bayliss along with Triantafyllous and four of his classmates at Saint Joseph’s University, formed Bike Towards the Cure to raise money for cancer research. With support from SJU faculty, the group became an official non-profit organization in Pennsylvania.
Bayliss and Triantafyllou have endured heavy rains, dry desert air and extreme heat on the road, but both say their families, friends and their interactions with the locals have kept them motivated.
On his blog, Bayliss writes about a fellow camper in Arizona who prepared the men hamburgers stuffed with mushrooms and onions; in Texas, a man named Gary repaired his front gear; in Lousiana, a local family fueled the pair with a home-cooked Cajun meal. “The locals have been great at keeping us energized,” Bayliss says. “It’s been cool to share our story with people along the way and receive their support and encouragement.”
Bayliss and Triantafyllou will complete their journey on Saturday, August 21, in Sea Isle City, N.J. The pair will temporarily park their bikes at Saint Joseph’s on August 20, for a silent auction to benefit Bike Toward the Cure.
To follow their journey or to contribute, visit Bike Towards the Cure (http://www.biketowardsthecure.org)