A North Carolina man battling cancer will on Friday depart from Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant on an 8-day, coast-to-coast motorcycle ride to raise cancer awareness and funds to support research.
Joe Wise has two missions for the trip: One is to raise money for non-toxic cancer treatment. The second is to cross off just about everything on his bucket list.
“I was a truck driver, and I passed signs for the Grand Canyon so many times, but I never had time to see it,” Wise said. “I’ve been all over the country and wanted to see so many things. Now I have time to stop and smell the roses.”
Wise, also a U.S. Army veteran, is launching his ride at Patriots Point, the home of the retired WWII-era aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. He’ll make daily stops across the country and end the journey in San Diego on June 15.
He hopes to raise $100,000 along the way. The coast-to-coast bike ride is hopefully a new kind of fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, he said.
“We hope that Relay Across the Country will be something that takes off in the years ahead,” Wise said.
Riders all along the course, which has stops in seven states, are invited to join the caravan and raise funds for cancer research and treatment, Wise said. He is riding with his wife, Dana, and friends, Gary and Peggy Waldron.
While the ride is all about crossing off the 53-year-old’s bucket list, it’s also about funding cancer research. Still battling cancer today, four years after his initial diagnosis, Wise said the cause is as important as ever.
“Cancer has taught me not to waste a single minute of my life,” Wise said. “In 2008, they only gave me two years to live. I’m on my fourth type of chemo now, and my body is responding.”
He hopes his fundraising will benefit a specific heart hormone cancer treatment currently being researched. It’s a non-toxic treatment that Wise said shows promise. Already the American Cancer Society has given a Florida-based researcher a grant to study the new treatment, and Wise hopes his bike ride will allow the study to go even further.
Wise and his wife and friends depart from Patriots Point at 1 p.m. Friday. They’ve invited the public to send them off just before starting their engines. Overnight stops are planned for Mills River, N.C.; Jackson, Tenn.; Fort Smith, Ark.; Amarillo, Texas; Gallup, N.M.; Flagstaff and Yuma, Ariz., and finally ending San Diego.