Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cancer Patient Bikes across Country to Highlight Disease

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cancer Patient Bikes across Country to Highlight Disease

Article excerpt

Anyone who has gotten a cancer diagnosis knows the rushing, deafening fear in the first few minutes of getting the news. Then the fear deepens each hour, deepens each day with a weave of morbid fantasies.

Then there's a plan: what we're going to do to fight this thing. A game plan is the first piece of hope.

Luigi Laraia, a 37-year-old economist with the World Bank in Washington, D.C., was diagnosed in March. Leukemia. Then he got his first chemotherapy treatment and spent the next weeks losing weight and not wanting to eat.

After recovering, he anticipated a second treatment in October.

"I didn't want the time to go by without me doing anything," Mr. Laraia said by phone. "I thought I could be useful to the cause, to raise money to find a cure."

He decided to try a cross-country bicycle trip, something he had done two years ago from D.C. to the Grand Canyon. He contacted the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, which organized a fundraising campaign and will receive all the funds.

He leaves Thursday and will arrive in Pittsburgh on Saturday. He doesn't know yet where he will hole up and whether he will have time to spare. He doesn't have a program schedule, just an itinerary of stops. He has no back-up car to follow him with supplies and to make sure he's OK. He is winging accommodations except in places where he has friends to stay with, and he plans to carry Spartan supplies.

Mr. Laraia will keep a journal, writing about his trip every night, at He already has raised $5,000 there.

On the site titled "relentless for a cure," he wrote "the rest of this blog will be a travelogue, a collection of immediate tales and thoughts from my cross-country bike trip. Immediate: in the sense that my writings will come your way straight from the oven on the very same day that I buzz along America's roads. It is going to be mainly spontaneous prose, an undisturbed flow from my mind. It might be somewhat incoherent so please bear with me. Kerouac once said, 'I have nothing to offer except my own confusion. …

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