Scientist Raises Money for Cancer, Rides With Tour De France Champ

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Lance Armstrong was a world-class cyclist in 1996 when he was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer and given a 30 percent chance of survival.

Under the care of Dr. Craig Nichols, oncologist at Indiana University, Armstrong underwent chemotherapy and achieved a remission.

Faced with survival, Armstrong was unclear how to proceed. Few, if any, programs existed to help survivors of cancer. He knew he wanted to give back to the cancer community, so he created the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF), which supports research in genitourinary and testicular cancers as well as survivorship issues.

Then Armstrong chose to re-enter cycling and has won the most prestigious event in cycling, the Tour de France, for the past three years in a row. He recently celebrated his five-year “anniversary” free of cancer.

“The LAF allows anyone to register and become a Peloton Project Member,” said Dr. Scott Ulmer, a fellow in hematology/oncology at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the U.

Project members raise money for the LAF and bring awareness to issues such as cancer screening and survivorship.

“I scanned the lists of Project members at the LAF and found the list contained no one from Utah,” Ulmer said. “I decided that I could make a difference and raised over $5,000 for the LAF.”

His sponsors include Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Utah, IDEC Pharmaceuticals, Genentech, Pharmacia and the Dr. Kenneth Nielson family.

This year, the Peloton Project has raised more than $2 million dollars for LAF where more than 85 percent of funds go directly to foundation issues.

Because of his fund-raising success, the LAF will fly Ulmer to Austin, Texas, this week for the annual Ride for the Roses weekend which runs from April 12 to 14. He will meet Lance Armstrong in person and attend a benefit concert, Rock for the Roses, where such bands as Cake, Stone Temple Pilots, Crystal Method and others will play.

The highlight of the trip, according to Ulmer, is that he gets to go on a one-hour bike ride with Armstrong and any attending celebrities. Last year Robin Williams rode along. Ulmer will also attend the Ride for the Roses gala and silent auction.

“LAF pays for the flights and hotel accommodations. As I mentioned before, anyone can become a Peloton Project Member by logging on to,” Ulmer said.

Those interested can also contact LAF at: PO Box 161180, Austin, TX, 78716 or call 512-236-8820

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