So much help from strangers, even life-saving help

On bike tours, strangers have given me a laugh when I was lonely, directions when I was very lost, and a place to stay when it was late and I didn’t have one—sometimes in their own home. Yesterday, I met Dr. Scott Dehm. He’s trying to help me too. He’s trying to help me live.

Dr. Dehm is looking for ways to help men with prostate cancer, men like me. I met Dr. Dehm because my upcoming ride across the US is raising money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), and PCF has funded over a million dollars of Dr. Dehm’s research. Staff at PCF introduced me to Dr. Dehm.

As I walked to his office, I saw the tools of Dr. Dehm’s trade. The hallway had windows that let me see into biology labs, with their sinks, beakers, and bottles of different colored chemicals. The hallways also had bulletin boards with recently published research articles. I’ve tried reading some of those articles. They’re not easy to figure out, but for scientists, those articles have clues to curing cancer.

All this was on my mind before meeting Dr. Dehm. I have so much appreciation for what he’s doing, so I wasn’t sure what it’d be like to talk with him. He walked into the waiting room, asked if I was Steven, and with a cheerful voice, he said, “Good to meet you. I’m Scott.” Even though he was on time, he apologized for making me wait, since he was discussing research articles with colleagues.

We walked into his office, and the conversation took off naturally. He wanted to know about my bike trip, my cancer, and my treatment. It turns out that I’m lucky in a few ways. First, Scott knows some of the oncologists I’ve worked with, and said that one of them is literally respected around the world. That’s Dr. Manish Kohli at the Mayo Clinic. Scott has published articles with Dr. Kohli.

Scott also told me that a lot is happening right now for men in my specific situation, with prostate cancer. He added that some of the best research is funded by PCF, which makes me feel even better about raising money for PCF.

Cancer is hard to kill because it constantly changes, but overall, Scott made me more hopeful. He has a unique determination. Many cyclists and scientists are fiercely determined, sacrificing too much to win. Scott is determined but also balanced and happy. He talked about his family, his bike rides, and the good work of others, instead of himself.

When we finished, Scott shook my hand, asked to keep in touch and gave careful directions out of the building, at the Masonic Cancer Center. I walked away, thought about how much I enjoyed talking with Scott, the good people in Scott’s lab, and how cycle touring has taken another fun direction, showing me more helpful strangers. This time, it showed me how people like Scott are trying very hard to help me. I am trying very hard to help them, by raising money when I cycle across the US. Please consider making a donation.