LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – 64-year-old Bob Falkenberg became an avid biker after his recovery from leukemia in 2009. He started his current biking journey on May 29th in Minneapolis, Minnesota making multiple stops in Michigan to help raise money for those in need of a bone marrow transplant.
“This trip I laid out all the transplant centers on a map and picked a route that allowed me to visit the greatest number of transplant centers all the way, said Bob Falkenberg. “I had a transplant myself, I had leukemia in 2009 and had a bone marrow transplant.”
Falkenberg stopped in Grand Rapids on Sunday and visited his donor, then traveled 61 miles to Lansing. He says he’s doing this to encourage patients currently fighting for their life.
“This trip is about spreading hope to patients,” said Falkenberg. “It means a lot for them when they are going through that to see somebody that has made it through and is doing really well that’s a really big boost for them.”
When Falkenberg was in the hospital fighting cancer, he had less than a 50% chance of surviving, but another survivors story inspired him. He said he wanted to do the same, to inspire not only the patients but the doctors too.
“It’s important for me because I’m very fortunate to be an outlier and in extremely good physical condition,” Falkenberg said. “I was cured totally, so I just want to help other people that are going through this.”
Falkenberg has a goal of fundraising $20,000, so far he has raised over $11,000.
“He’s shows other donors what it means when they donate, how many life’s you can impact after something like that happens after a patient receives their cures,” said Senior Manager of Community Fundraising at Be the Match, Stacey Chase. “He’s really honoring the transplant centers who are always on the front lines but this past year has been incredibly tough.”
Be the Match took a huge hit during the pandemic, losing $900,000 that would usually go to support families during the donation process.
“It’s about getting the word out, we still need more donors especially ethnically diverse donors who are underrepresented right now on the registry,” Falkenberg, said.
Chase and Falkenberg both told News 10 that minorities struggle to find a match. People of color only have a 29 percent chance of finding a donor, where Caucasians have a 79 percent rate of finding one.
Falkenberg told News 10 he wants to expand fundraising by getting leukemia survivors involved with a series of shorter bike rides. He also stated that staying active was a huge part in recovery so this would be a great way to make them stronger and continue to raise money.
Transplant News Sharing // “Bone Marrow Transplants” – Google News from Source www.wilx.com