Day 47

We are still in Salt Lake City.  Sleeping in was great, but we woke up around 8:00 to walk to the Huntsman Cancer Institute for our event day.  There, we met three scientists who are funded by the Damon Runyon Foundation.  Dr. Trudy Oliver is a researcher in lung cancer, investigating cancer origins in varying cell types and how this relates to drug resistance.  Her goal is also to erase the stigmas associated with smokers because lung cancer also affects non-smokers.  Dr. Kevin Jones is a surgeon who deals with sarcomas, trying to understand cancer origins including chromosomal translocations.  These two scientists work together and Dr. Jones very kindly gave us all copies of his book, “What Doctors Cannot Tell You.”  Dr. Joshua Schiffman, a pediatric oncologist, was motivated by his own cancer at age 15, and now is trying to develop better methods for cancer screening.  He discussed how animal models are used, including dogs which get cancer at a rate of 11 times that of humans and elephants which rarely have cancer.  It was emphasized that we are not riding for a cure,  but a billion individual cures.  Cancer is significantly harder to treat than bacterial infections because cancer cells are of the same species as the host, and the genes are incredibly evolvable.  We had a great time learning about these scientists’ novel work, and a filling breakfast was also provided.

After the Damon Runyon event, we all went our own ways.  From grocery stores and bike shops to Temple Square and the capitol, we were all over the city.  There was also a logistics committee meeting to organize a stayover for a city in Oregon, and we ended up calling over 30 churches and other locations before we had a stayover confirmed. Some riders celebrated Thanksgiving with a potluck, and others found food around the city.  It was great to have a rest day, and we’re ready to get back on the road come tomorrow morning!

Our team with the Huntsman Cancer Institute researchers.

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