“There’s nothing like a cancer diagnosis to make you rearrange your priorities.”
That’s what Robert Ferrari, 59, told ZERO when we asked him about his upcoming 4,000-mile bicycle trip across the country. After a successful recovery from surgery last year, Robert is taking his passion for prostate cancer awareness to the open road, biking from Anacortes, WA to Acadia National Park in Maine to raise money for the disease.
“As things played out this year with COVID, I thought to myself, bicycling is the most socially isolated thing you can do!” said Robert. “I was looking for some way to help somebody, and I thought, go big or go home.”
Robert has an extensive family history with prostate cancer: his father and brother both battled the disease, and they’ve been having conversations about their risk ever since he was young. Now, living in Southwest Virginia with his wife, daughter, and son-in-law, he said that the support of his family helped him get through his surgery back in 2019. That’s one of the reasons he’s biking: to advocate for honest communication among fathers and sons about genetic predisposition to prostate cancer.
“The two most important things I can encourage men to do is 1) get tested and 2) have conversations with your family. ZERO is doing a great job with outreach and making sure men understand how this disease works.”
According to Robert, biking cross country has been a lifelong dream of his. He’s an avid cyclist — he’s commuted to work on his bike for 20 years — and now that he’s on the other side of his prostate cancer battle, he wanted to spend his retirement doing something adventurous.
“One of the problems with prostate cancer is it affects men as they’re getting older,” Robert explained. “They already see themselves diminished a little bit. I don’t want to retire and watch TV, I want to do stuff. Hopefully, with this ride, I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew.”
Calling his cross-country journey challenging would be the understatement of the century: Robert plans to be on the road for three months with nothing but himself, his bike and 40 pounds of gear. He began his adventure last month and plans to finish in September, just in time for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. ZERO wishes Robert a safe ride, and we plan on catching up with him with a follow-up blog upon his return.
“Cancer is just such a scary word. People automatically assume that it will change your life. And it will. But different doesn’t have to be worse,” Robert added. “Different can be different. You can hold two things at once and have them be true. Something can be different and good.”
To donate to this unique and inspiring fundraiser, head over to Robert’s Team ZERO page here. For more updates along the ride, you can also read his contributions to the “Crazy Guy on a Bike” blog here.