In 2017, Denise Burke was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer which occurs primarily in the extremities of the arms or legs. Doctors felt the best way to beat this was to amputate her leg, undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Denise being the fighter she is, began her battle. Her dedication to overcome her cancer diagnosis has led to financial hardship. She had quit her job and has been on disability since last summer. Denise lives in Newbury Park with her three teenage children. As of 8/18/18, her last scan showed 20 new nodules throughout her lungs as well as the growth of 2 nodules they had been monitoring. Synovial sarcoma loves to spread to the lungs so they are very concerned about possible metastasis. Her doctor denied her release to go back to work.
A longtime resident of Thousand Oaks, Niall was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrigs disease) in 2015. ALS forced Niall to retire in 2015. Their home of 22 years is not ADA accessible as of yet. They recently remodeled the bathroom, so Niall can walk into the shower. They are in need of a stair chair and mobility van. They do have a smaller travel chair but will be needing the larger power wheelchair as he progresses. Niall is using his voice to bring awareness to this disease to help raise funds for ALS research and services in the community. Health insurance has increased, savings is depleting and expenses are increasing.
“Cowboy Steve” was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Prostate Cancer in July of 2018. This recent diagnosis and fearful prognosis require multiple hormone and Chemotherapies, with radiation and immunotherapy being likely other future, albeit costly, treatments. His goal is to seek financial assistance until he can sign up for a certified health plan through Covered California this December to begin coverage in 2109. He has been an avid cyclist for over 40 years – including road, mountain and track cycling. He is an active, positive and well-loved 57-year-old man who also enjoys skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, playing guitar but mostly, bringing great people together. He is one of kind and a true friend to many…so goes the expression, “A Friend of Cowboy Steve is a Friend of Mine”.
Troy has been battling Central Cord Syndrome and Parkinson Disease. Central Cord Syndrome is the most common form of incomplete spinal cord injury characterized by impairment in the arms and hands and to a lesser extent in the legs. The brain’s ability to send and receive signals to and from parts of the body below the site of injury is greatly reduced but not entirely blocked. Parkinson’s Disease-A progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement, chiefly affecting middle-aged and elderly people. It is associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain and a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Being a recipient is providing Troy with hope to partake in a more extensive therapy and allow him to make necessary modifications to his home. Troy has spent his life in service, working in law enforcement for over 25 years throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, as well as being a great influence on the bike community in regard to training and safety. Troy spent a significant amount of his career teaching thousands of officers bike safety and techniques for patrol, as well as designing the primary patrol bike used by dozens of police departments nationwide.
Jayden was diagnosed with kidney failure and an autoimmune disease. The diagnosis has been debilitating. She has spent 40 days at Children’s hospital and needs chemotherapy to fight the illness. One year after chemotherapy she will need a kidney transplant. The family is grateful to be a recipient for this years ride.
Scotty was diagnosed with stage 1, 2 Classic Hodgkin Lymphoma in July. After several months of dealing with symptoms that were originally misdiagnosed as a heart condition, they found a grapefruit-sized tumor in his chest cavity, compressing his heart and lungs. Unfortunately, due to the delay, it had a chance to root and wear him down. However, he’s confident it will not get worse. Because of the placement, the goal is to shrink the tumor, rather than have it removed. He and his wife, Elisabeth, have been very busy the past few months learning all about the disease and not only how to treat it, but heal from it, while still managing their lives, her work, and raising his 11-year-old daughter. Scotty’s daughter, Sophia, knows about her Daddy’s illness and has been very sweet and supportive, although it’s been quite a challenge for her to adjust. She still struggles with fully comprehending why he can’t come run around and play as much, or why he’s resting so much more. That all said, he’s just finished coaching her basketball season, which was a blast, but pretty exhausting! Elisabeth and Scotty are confident he will heal this thing, but in the meantime, he has been unable to work during this process so they are extremely grateful for him to be included as a recipient for this years ride!
Leslie suffers from a rare autoimmune disease called Relapsing Polychondritis. Relapsing Polychondritis is a rare, debilitating, and often fatal autoimmune disease. It causes the patient’s own body to attack and destroy the cartilage, collagen, and proteoglycan-rich tissue. This includes – but is not limited to – the ears, nose, joints, tendons, upper and low airways, heart and valves, veins, eyes, and kidneys. The destruction leads to life-threatening manifestations such as sudden airway collapse or valvular regurgitation. It is a complex, incurable, little understood, and very painful illness. Leslie is a compassionate, kind, and incredibly giving person—but she is also a smart, witty, personable, creative individual, and an outstanding mom. She is in constant pain. As well as being challenged with ulcerative colitis, bouts of scleritis (severe inflammation of the eye that can lead to blindness), and acute kidney failure, she has extremely painful joints throughout her body. An area of concern is the damage the disease has done to the structure of her spine. If the scoliosis continues to worsen at the rate it has been, she will be in a wheelchair soon, and it will eventually affect her heart and lung function. Her daughter (age 25) is struggling financially to support the both of them by working as much as she can each day.