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Katie and I are back in the office, both exhausted and exhilarated from our time on the road with the Amgen Tour of California (ATOC) and the Breakaway from Cancer campaign.

The last three days of the tour were spent in amazing cities.  Big Bear Lake, Los Angeles, and Thousand Oaks.  I rode in a caravan with the riders from Palmdale to Big Bear Lake.  The course was breathtaking: it was all mountains, and the cyclists put all they had into that ride.  It is fitting that the most courageous rider jersey was awarded that day to George Hincapie, our Breakaway from Cancer spokesperson.

In Los Angeles, the Staples Center towered over the time trial course.  And while Katie followed the riders on the course, several hundred men and women stopped by our booth for information on cancer prevention.  It was good to see so many people with an interest in learning more and also heartening to see such a high level of awareness and practice about the importance of using sunscreen and lip protection with SPF!

The final city was Thousand Oaks, our final Breakaway Mile city.  The largest crowd to date joined us at a Breakaway from Cancer breakfast and many of them shared their stories of early detection and survivorship with me.  It was there that we met the Thousand Oaks Cancer Champion Steve Bartolucci and his family.  What a leader he is in support of cancer awareness!  And the most thrilling moment of the day was when actor Patrick Dempsey joined us and hundreds of cancer survivors to march across the finish line in our Breakaway from Cancer mile.  The smiles on the faces of those marching alongside him were wide!

It was a privilege for Katie and me to work and travel with such a dedicated team of Breakaway from Cancer partners.  We thank our partners, Amgen, the Cancer Support Community, the Patient Advocate Foundation, and the national Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, as well as the thousands of men and women who came out to raise awareness with us.  It takes a team to fight cancer, and what a great team with have in Breakaway from Cancer!

An image from Bakersfield (Photo by Lisa Hughes)

May 23, 2010 - Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Champion Steve Bertolucci and actor and cancer awareness activist Patrick Dempsey share center point behind the Breakway from Cancer banner as they walk the Breakaway Mile in Bakersfield, CA.