Cyclists sometimes use the verb “crush” to describe a particularly good or fast ride, such as “crush a race”.
From Tuesday, many will also use the word to describe the eradication of a deadly disease.
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center partners with P3R, organizers of events like the Pittsburgh Marathon, to host the first-ever Rush to Crush Cancer event, a bike ride to raise millions for cancer research .
Organizers and supporters, including Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, himself a cycling enthusiast, gathered at the UPMC club at Heinz Field for the announcement of the inaugural event, slated for spring 2023.
It will be broken down into three courses ranging from 15 to 60 miles, to accommodate riders of all levels.
There will be a minimum fundraising amount for each rider based on the length of route they choose to ride. The money raised will go directly to research, according to the organizers.
“Every dollar raised by attendees of this event will be used to invest in the work that promises to unlock a future without cancer,” said Robert Ferris, director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “We hope the Rush to Crush will bring us closer to a cancer-free life.”
There will also be a walk to honor those affected by cancer and to celebrate survivors.
Brian Shanahan, from Upper St. Clair, was one of the survivors in attendance, having battled pancreatic cancer. A former football star at Upper St. Clair High School, Shanahan played as a fullback for the University of Kentucky.
Now a successful businessman, he has already donated $1.5 million to Rush to Crush Cancer and plans to cycle at least 15 miles at next year’s inaugural event.
“I need to progress after chemo,” said Shanahan, who sees it as a way to give back after the care he received at Hillman Cancer Center, particularly from Dr. Amer Zureikat, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer from stage three. .
Shanahan also donated an additional $1.5 million to Hillman to fully fund a two-year clinical trial for pancreatic cancer.
“When I had cancer, I lived through some of the darkest days of my life during a two-year process. I had a 7% chance of living,” he said. “The care I received was so incredibly phenomenal that I was moved.
“It saved my life. I made a lot of money in Pittsburgh, and it’s the easiest donation because everyone who donated before me saved my life.
Much of Rush to Crush Cancer’s money will go to specialist trials and research.
“Rush to Crush will allow us to engage others in our mission and provide ways for the community to step in and help us,” said Stanley Marks, president of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “This event will benefit and inspire patients, survivors and all those whose lives have been touched by cancer.
Jennifer Hawkins, executive director of SportsPITTSBURGH, said she considers the Rush to Crush Cancer event another “iconic” sporting event on the Pittsburgh sports calendar.
“It will impact our families, our friends, our neighbors and those who come to our community for treatment,” she said. “This event shows what is possible when the people of Pittsburgh come together and do something very special.”
A date for the Rush to Crush Cancer event will be announced later this summer.
For more information on the event, visit Rush to crush cancer website.
Paul Guggenheimer is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected]