In His Own Words

Battling cancer on my bicycle


Dave Fonda is probably not your typical cancer patient. After all, not everyone cycles 160 miles in a weekend after finding out they have stage-four melanoma that metastasized to their lung and pericardium.

But Dave sees biking as therapy. He takes on the steep climbs of Jo Daviess County with abandon, and credits one of his cycling compatriots for helping him get the right treatment at the right time. Dr. Mike Perry, President and CEO of FHN and a fellow biking enthusiast, conferred with Freeport physicians and Mayo Clinic contacts who ultimately prescribed an immunological treatment strategy.

According to Dr. Perry, "FHN does a great job helping people fight numerous kinds of cancer, but in unique situations we know that other centers of excellence have the most advanced options available. When that happens, our entire team is dedicated to finding the best treatment for our patients elsewhere, wherever that may be. That was the case with Dave."

"The melanoma oncology team at Mayo has been super," Dave explains, "and I really appreciate how well FHN and Mayo worked together on my behalf. My medication 'super boosts' my system and lets my body search for and destroy the 'enemy cells.' After I started treatment, I cycled more joyfully and with new purpose. Battling cancer on my bike is really a major arrow in my quiver. Besides being a fundamental tonic for mind and body, pedaling became a healer."

Dave continues his therapy with the help of FHN's Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center. "Dr. Shaikh and his staff are absolute treasures. They add new meaning to our preparation for this year's 'Tour for Cancer' biking fundraiser, which will benefit their facility." Dave plans to participate in the ride with new understanding and dedication.

If you have questions about cancer treatment or the 2015 “Tour for Cancer” biking fundraiser, call FHN at 1-877-6000-FHN (1-877-600-0346) ext. 984. We're ready to help you climb whatever steep hills may await you.

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