Reason to Ride

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Fuddruckers Owner Has A Reason to Ride

Jim Boland of Fuddruckers tells reporter Ethan Forman Why He Has A Reason to Ride for Cancer Research

(Story appeared on front page of Gloucester Daily Times and the Salem News)

DANVERS — When cyclists finish their rides on Sunday in the A Reason to Ride bike-a-thon for cancer research, they’ll be rewarded with a free cookout, courtesy of Fuddruckers.

Turns out, the restaurant is not just the presenting sponsor of the local charity ride. Over the past decade, Jim Boland, a Gloucester resident who owns four Fuddruckers franchises with his wife, Jan, has formed a deep connection to the ride — one that developed because of a friend who died from cancer in 2009.

Ten years ago, Boland saw a flyer for the ride, which benefits cancer research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He called organizer Tom DesFosses, a Peabody resident and brain cancer survivor, offering to help — and nothing has been the same since.

“The ride wouldn’t happen without him,” DesFosses said simply.

Back in 2008, the Rev. Howie Rich of Danvers was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. Rich, a retired health and physical education teacher at Danvers High, was also the the minister at Boland’s church, Union Congregational Church in Magnolia.

Boland was taking Rich for his chemotherapy treatments at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, under the care of neuro-oncologist Dr. Eric Wong, who was also Tom DesFosses’ doctor.

Boland recalls spotting a flyer for A Reason to Ride in an office there. What caught his eye was that the ride was supporting Dr. Wong’s research.

“The next visit with Howie,” Boland said, “we drive down. He’s getting his chemo, and Dr. Wong just happened to come in to check on him. And I said, ‘By any chance, are you Dr. Wong that is involved in this ride?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’ And I said, ‘We would like to get involved somehow.’”

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A Reason to Ride Cancer Survivor Story in Dorchester Reporter

Cancer survivor rides to help Beth Israel-Deaconess team

Dorchester native Bob Harland’s involvement in A Reason to Ride, taking place on Sunday, September 9 in Danvers, is personal. The 62 year-old is a bladder cancer survivor who credits the doctors and nurses at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) with his successful treatment.

In the fall of 2015, Bob was in Ireland on vacation with his girlfriend, Peggy Folan, who is an oncology nurse at BIDMC. She felt something was wrong with his health and insisted that he go to the doctor as soon as they returned. After seeing his primary care physician, he was referred to Dr. Andrew Wagner, a urologist, and then to Dr. Kathleen Mahoney, an oncologist, both at BIDMC.

Harland was diagnosed with bladder cancer and underwent a 10-plus hour surgery where his bladder was removed robotically and rebuilt using his intestines. He later developed complications including pulmonary embolisms, but his is now cancer free. He is still not able to exercise at the level he did prior to the cancer diagnosis and suffers from neuropathy (damage to peripheral nerves that often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in the hands and feet) from the knee down as a side effect from the chemotherapy.

Harland has participated as a rider at A Reason to Ride in the past, but this year will be doing the 5K that is part of the event. He is grateful that he is feeling well enough again to be part of this meaningful event which was started by a brain cancer survivor who was also treated at BIDMC.

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