items tagged with Danny Leonard
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Category: Feature Stories
The two men came to the cross-country bike ride in different ways.
For Danny Leonard, a cancer survivor in his late 60s, the idea for a second cross-country ride arose from a conversation he had two years ago while running on a treadmill next to a young man preparing for a marathon. As the men ran next to each other for almost two hours, the young man explained to Leonard that running the marathon would be his way to raise awareness for leukemia and lymphoma research. The conversation left Leonard wondering what he could do to advocate screening for and raise awareness about the disease he had battled -- non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He decided to place an advertisement on Craigslist looking for a Christian who was interested in riding across the United States to raise awareness of the importance of early detection.
For Drew Wessels, an Augustana College graduate and Bettendorf native in his early 20s who stumbled across the listing while looking for a job, it was an opportunity to honor the grandfather he lost to leukemia three years ago.
But for both men it was the right time for the ride. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Leonard being cancer-free, and of his first ride across the country. Wessels, whose summers were usually consumed by basketball or school, found himself with a rare free summer. "The one time I actually had the opportunity, that something like this came by is pretty neat," Wessels said. 2009 also marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
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