74 Miles for 74 Days-Cancer survivor Patrick Wiese bikes for charity
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 04:00:00 GMT —
Less than a year after this report, former Le Moyne baseball player Patrick Wiese has made monumental steps in his recovery.
Once the MVP of the Le Moyne baseball team, Wiese was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma cancer in his right knee the summer before his senior season. After that, Wiese faced a total knee replacement and months of intense chemotherapy. We watched on CNY Central as Wiese worked through his rehabilitation, struggling to simply turn the pedals on a stationary bicycle.
As his rehab and chemo continued, Weise started the Patrick Wiese Foundation, an organization that supports research as well as cancer patients and their families.
So far, the Foundation has raised tens of thousands of dollars. In May, a 3-Mile Fun Run/Walk raised more than $6000 at Jamesville Beach Park. A few days after the fundraiser, Patrick underwent his final day of chemotherapy, and has continued to improve and recover every day since.
But, Wiese said he wanted to make sure the Foundation wasn't a one-time fundraiser. So, he took some time to brainstorm ideas of events and activities to keep the promotions going, and to keep the money coming in. He said the number '74' now holds significance in his life, as it represents the number of days he underwent chemotherapy. Somehow, he quickly came to decide a 74-mile bike ride on the Erie Canal was the right choice.
"We wanted it to be significant, and not just some random event," Wiese says. "We wanted to do something that meant something."
In preparation for this monumental task, Wiese, who struggled mightily on a stationary bike last year, rode his bicycle as much as possible...often 15-30 miles at a time. After riding his bicycle to a few routine checkups, he admitted the doctors asked why he was sweating, and couldn't believe what he was doing and how fast he recovered.
He made the announcement and opened up donations on his website, PatrickWieseFoundation.org. Now, the last chore was the bike ride itself.
Along with a few friends and family members, Wiese started his trek just outside of Rochester in Macedon, NY at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 2nd. He admitted there were some tough times, with the course being a little more challenging than expected. With the song "Fireball" by Pitbull on repeat on his iPod, Wiese powered through.
"Last year I couldn't even get one rotation, and if it was one rotation that was it, I couldn't do anymore," Wiese said around the 65-mile mark. "I was getting a drink of water after I was out of breath. And to think the progress, not only myself, but my family and friends, how they've rallied behind me...I'm biking 74 miles a year after I couldn't even walk, I couldn't even get one rotation on a bike."
With about 8 miles remaining, there was a special moment. Wiese was joined by OCC baseball coach John Sheedy and Andy Sheridan, the father of Jack Sheridan, the CBA junior baseball player diagnosed with leukemia last Spring.
Meeting those supporters was a boost for Wiese and his crew, but then Andy Sheridan stopped Wiese for a moment. Explaining that Jack wanted to join Wiese, but couldn't because of treatments in the hospital, Andy presented Wiese a check for $1500 to the Patrick Wiese Foundation.
"Pat was one of the first to reach out to him, visited him in the hospital," Andy Sheridan says. "It was really important to support Pat's cause. He's really been an inspiration to Jack."
The $1500 donation was the money raised during the Pray for Jack T-shirt fundraiser. It was Jack's idea to donate them to Wiese's foundation, as the two have bonded the past few months because of their similar circumstances.
"I actually visited Jack, I've been in contact with him," Wiese, who was at a 'loss of words' at the time, said. "We've been talking about everything we go through, we're both going through it, I went through it, he's going through it...doing anything I can to help him out. He's a fellow CBA Brother, so it's always easy to talk to him."
Wiese's outreach to Jack Sheridan is what the foundation is all about, the bike ride itself serving as inspiration for not just Jack, but all cancer patients and their families as well.
"He's just a great role model," Sheedy says. "Someone that not only teaches the game of baseball, but teaches life lessons, and I think that's what all of us can take away from what Pat's doing. A lot of life lessons and something to really get behind and support."
As for the Patrick Wiese Foundation's next event, Wiese's brother Matt and a team of Upstate Medical Students will run the full Disney Marathon in support of the Foundation in January. If you'd like to donate, click here.