Charlie has joined Empire State Ride on the road for more than seven years now. For him, the event goes beyond his love for the sport of cycling. He connects to the ESR mission on a much deeper level.
“I never talk about it, but I’m also a cancer survivor. I resonate with what is going on, and I understand the studies and the clinical trials, because I went on a clinical trial that really made my outcome better. I’m still alive.”
Charlie was preparing for a cycling event in Europe when his cancer journey began. Between cycling regularly, running a cycling center and traveling to and from events, he maintained a healthy lifestyle and felt great. That’s what made what happened next even more surprising.
During a routine dental cleaning, Charlie’s dentist discovered a lump in his throat that wasn’t supposed to be there. He referred Charlie to a specialist to have it biopsied. When Charlie did, the results confirmed the worst-case scenario: throat cancer. He never smoked and realized quickly that a cancer diagnosis can happen to anyone.
Through a reference from a friend at Stanford University, Charlie got into a promising clinical trial for his specific type of cancer that involved less radiation. He signed up and began treatment, anxious for the upcoming cycling event in Europe. Luckily, Charlie took to treatment well and was able to get back to cycling sooner than later.
“I survived. But it would’ve been a completely different experience if I had gone through those three extra weeks of radiation that the normal protocol called for,” Charlie says. “When they talk about clinical trials at ESR, I understand the benefits and how much they can change the outcome. I have respect and passion for the research side of things, too.”