KENDALLVILLE — Scott Derby considers bicycling a hobby, but he’s turned that hobby into a way to help others.
Derby, the engineering administrator for the City of Kendallville, is training for his second Miles for Myeloma fundraising ride. As in 2018, Derby is riding in honor of his boss, Mayor Suzanne Handshoe, who has battled the disease since 2016.
Derby was the top fundraiser in the 2018 ride, accounting for $3,300 of the $10,000 fundraising goal.
“It’s a hobby I do for exercise and I enjoy it,” Derby said about cycling. “When I became aware of the ride, it was a combination of my hobby with the natural thing to do.”
Myeloma is a rare, incurable form of blood cancer.
Dr. Rafat Abonour, the founder of the ride, did Mayor Handshoe’s bone marrow transplant. She sees him every three months for a checkup.
“He’s awesome,” the mayor said. “It is very humbling. His work is dedicated to finding a cure. It’s very emotional at the end of the ride to see all the supporters and survivors.”
This is the 15th year for Miles for Myeloma, a cycling event founded by Dr. Abonour, an Indiana University myeloma researcher and IU Health physician. It began when a group of his patients decided to organize a run or walk to raise awareness and funds for multiple myeloma research at Indiana University. Rather than planning the usual event there, Dr. Abonour offered to cover the distance himself, reasoning that he should go to his patients who often traveled from the far corners of Indiana for treatment.
The two-day cycling event takes place each fall with a crew of myeloma researchers, medical caregivers, family members of patients, and even a couple of patients themselves.
This year’s ride begins in Angola on Oct. 11 in the morning, with a brief stop at the Jansen Pavilion in Bixler Lake Park about 9:30 a.m. for a rest break and refreshments, then on to Marion, covering about 100 miles the first day.
The public is encouraged to come out, encourage the riders and participate in “something special” at the stop.
The ride concludes Oct. 12 with the 80-mile leg from Marion to Indianapolis. A celebration dinner at the end rewards riders and supporters.
Since 2005, Miles for Myeloma has raised $5.4 million for research and enhanced care at the IU Simon Cancer Center. Other fundraisers for research are a golf outing, an indoor ride and a dance honoring the memory of a patient who loved to dance.
Handshoe said there have been more advancements in medicines and treatment for multiple myeloma in the last 10 years than in the previous 40 years. She said patients experience remission and relapse, but can look forward to a longer life expectancy because of research.
Derby said he helped selected the travel route between Angola and Churubusco and planned the stop in Kendallville to honor Mayor Handshoe. The 30-40 cyclists will travel mostly paved county roads with less traffic, led and followed by support vehicles.
“It’s a steady pace, not a race pace,” Derby said, adding that the slowest rider in the group will likely set the pace.
He’s ridden 3,400 mile so far this year to stay in shape and train for the event.
Derby has a goal of $3,000 for his online donations, but will raise the goal if that amount is met. Derby is again contributing to the IU Foundation’s goal of $10,000.
People can donate to Derby’s fund online at iufoundation.fundly.com/scott-derby-miles-for-myeloma-15th-anniversary.