Outdoors

Craig Davidson rides Obliteride for family

Craig Davidson, left, is riding Obliteride on Saturday and Sunday, and his son, Alex, is working as volunteer. Davidson is riding in honor of his wife, Cathy, and Alex, both of whom survived cancer.
Craig Davidson, left, is riding Obliteride on Saturday and Sunday, and his son, Alex, is working as volunteer. Davidson is riding in honor of his wife, Cathy, and Alex, both of whom survived cancer. Courtesy

Cancer barged into the Davidsons’ life nearly nine years ago, and they’ve been fighting against it ever since.

In December 2007, Alex Davidson was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoblastic lymphoma. He had just turned 7 and spent the next 25 months undergoing chemotherapy.

“On his last day of chemo, we had a big party where we chucked all his pill bottles into the garbage and had a big family party,” said Craig Davidson, Alex’s dad.

Nine months after the party, Alex’s mom, Cathy, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her treatment included a double mastectomy.

Today, both are doing well, said Craig Davidson, a 49-year-old pilot.

Davidson is spending this weekend biking 150 hilly miles in honor of his wife, son and those seeking a cure for the disease he hates.

He is one of more than 1,300 riders in this year’s Obliteride, a bike ride with routes ranging from 10-165 miles. Obliteride raises money for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In its first three years, the ride raised almost $7 million.

Event organizers say the race is underwritten by sponsors, so 100 percent of donations go to cancer research.

Craig Davidson is no stranger to challenging charitable rides. Fourteen times he rode the Courage Classic, a three-day ride in the Cascades raising money for child abuse prevention and intervention.

While Craig Davidson rides this weekend, his son will work as a volunteer.

As Obliteride approached, Davidson took a few minutes to field a few questions:

Q: Going through this twice as a family, what positive came from these battles?

A: It really tested people’s optimism. Fortunately we had great doctors. … Everybody has a road. Fortunately ours had a happy ending. I guess I really don’t care how bad it was as long as we got the ending that we did.

Q: Do you ride a lot outside of these charity rides?

A: I used to. I raced in college (University of Washington) and now I’m just trying to get out and keep myself off the sofa. I would call myself a cycling enthusiast. I’ve ridden most of the roads on the Obliteride.

Q: How cool is it to have your son out their volunteering while you are riding?

A: It is awesome. I’m looking forward to seeing him, and I’m sure he’s looking to make sure I actually survive.

Q: It’s not a flat ride — more than 10,500 vertical feet over the two days — how many training miles do you have in this year?

A: Uh, how about, not enough. … I don’t know if people notice that number (the vertical) when they sign up, but I know what that number means. That’s not insignificant. I can do 85 miles standing on my head, but when you throw in 6,000 vertical (the first day) it’s a little more painful.

Q: What do you do to celebrate the anniversaries of beating cancer?

A: With Cathy we haven’t really done a lot. We talk about it. With Alex, on his cure date, the five-year mark, we had a big reception with about 120 people. All his doctors and nurses and family, everybody who helped out. We celebrate the day every year.

Q: What should people know about Obliteride?

A: Come out and cheer everybody on if it’s going by your house. And donate. It seems like cancer is so rampant these days that just about everybody is impacted by it.

Q: I see your fundraising goal is $1 million.

A: It’s a reference to (the 1997 movie) “Austin Powers.” One millllion dollars! I hope to raise a couple thousand dollars if I can.

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