Dennis McLaughlin isn't particularly athletic. Nor is he a fundraising expert or known within local cycling circles as a die-hard rider.
But what Dennis lacks in athletic ability he more than makes up for in determination, in spirit, in having a survivor's mentality.
During a routine colonoscopy last year, Dennis learned he had colon cancer. He underwent surgery and chemotherapy. Now, at 61 and in remission, he's ready to support the research needed to make sure more people like him have options when it comes to cancer care.
Dennis has joined the growing ranks of riders and teams, for the first annual Philadelphia Ride to Conquer Cancer.
"I saw the TV commercial for the ride and thought, 'First annual? Let me try it out!'" he says. "I registered, went to the information session and started planning out how I'd raise the money and train for the ride."
A cable technician in Upper Darby, PA, he hadn't been on a bike since he was a kid. He hooked up with a local bike shop, got a bike and his training gear, and slowly began to train.
"I'm definitely a 'fair-weather' rider,'" he says. His wife and children are supporting him, but joke that Dad may not be the fittest rider in the bunch.
"I just decided I was going to go for it," he proudly quipped. "If riding and fundraising money for cancer research can help one person not go through what I went through, I'm happy with that."
So far, Dennis has raised $450, and plans to raise $2,100 more before the October ride. He even joined a team, the GIST-Busters, with fellow rider, Susan Ranck.
"I can deal with the soreness from riding if it means we're closer to a cure for cancer."