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My Story

The Event

The Cause

My Supporters

Here's what happened last year:  In May 2019, healthy and fit (as I have been for 53 years) and returning from a vacation, I though I maybe caught a cold on the plane back to the U.S.  Less than a week later, I was diagnosed with Leukemia (ALL) and immediately admitted to the RI Cancer Center.  I underwent chemo in preparation for a Bone Marrow Transplant at Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI).   The odds weren't great.  There was no guarantee I'd find a donor in time...or ever...and 65% of people my age with ALL don't make it.

When worlds collide: My childhood friend (who's daughter survived cancer when she was 4 years old) has been tirelessly running a fundraiser for Cancer Care in Northwest CT (where I grew up).  It's a bike and walk fundraiser and its called the Tour of Litchfield Hills.  It's a pretty big deal.  In the 18-year history of the event, the participants have raised over $1.2 million to help provide cancer care to people in need in northwest Connecticut.  The event is held the first Sunday in August.   Knowing this, my sister (Betsy Cracco) formed a team (aptly named, "Team Joe"), to ride in my honor as I was undergoing treatment for cancer.

What happened after that: My sister and a few others took tests to see if they could be a donor match for me, but no one was.   Then I got lucky.  Dana Farber, through the International Donor Program, found a good match and my bone marrow transplant was scheduled for Septemer 12th.   DFCI admitted me, stuck tubes in my chest, chemo'd me up, sent me for 3 days of total body radiation and then did the bone marrow transplant. I remained in Dana Farber recovering and being monitored for a month.  It was the most difficult month of my life. When I was discharged, I was a shell of my former self.

The recent past: As the saying goes, "Don't count your chickens before they've hatched" (so I won't) but since that time, I've taken dozens of pills every day including daily chemo, had more blood tests and infusions than you can count, seen my doctors weekly....and have worked very hard at recovering.  Part of that recovery process has had me on a bike trainer to rebuild my strength and and stamina.  And that brings me back to the Tour of Litchfield Hills.  This year, instead of just being on the sidelines while "Team Joe" rides in my honor, I'm going to ride IN the Tour of Litchfield Hills along WITH Team Joe and the other fundraisers .  I've set a goal of completing the 55-mile ride.

My ask:  Frankly, I'm lucky to be alive.  I've thus far survived cancer becuase other people before me have selflessly donated to fund cancer care and cancer research.  I hope that you'll help me support cancer care in NW CT by sponsoring me this year as I ride in the Tour of Litchfield Hills with my sister and the rest of Team Joe.

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My Story

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The Event

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The Cause

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My Supporters

My Team

Tour of the Litchfield Hills is a 501 (c) (3) EIN: 51-0474072 nonprofit organization

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