Cycling doctor spreads word about early cancer detection

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2008

ANCHORAGE - An emergency room doctor from Anchorage is spreading the word about the importance of early cancer detection.

John Hall, 62, is a doctor at Providence Alaska Medical Center who has traveled through 32 states in four months on a bicycle to spread the word and raise money to battle cancer.

He began his trek on April 1. His wife, Jane, is accompanying him in an SUV. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and 36 rounds of radiation before receiving a clean bill of health.

Hall expects to finish up his trip on Thursday. By the time he finishes, he will have pedaled for 120 days. He is spreading awareness of early cancer detection and to raise money for the Susan Butcher Family Center in Anchorage and two cancer foundations.

The Halls left from the cemetery where John's parents were buried in Lompoc, Calif.

"And that's where we're going to finish up," John said.

The Halls planned to take the tour in September of 2007, but postponed it until this year because of Jane's illness.

Most days, John bikes about 100 miles. He's only taken one day off to visit an aunt in Georgia.

"I'm pretty much amazed every day he gets back on that bike and mentally, he's just so strong, and even with huge mountains and 30 mile-an-hour winds in his face," Jane said. "He doesn't complain, he just does it."

He's had 14 flat tires and two wrecks. One of the wrecks - just outside Naples, Florida - involved a U-shaped clamp in the road that latched onto his tire and led to a sudden painful stop.

"It stopped the bike and I kept going (over the handlebars)," John said. He separated his shoulder, bloodied his hands and landed at the ER.

"My wife made me," he said. "I was going to keep riding."

So far, Hall has raised $99,000 for the Susan Butcher Family Center, $4,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and $12,000 for the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation.

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