After beating rare cancer, ‘signing up for Obliteride was a no-brainer.’

Keith Winkle will come back to Seattle from Alaska to ride 100 miles in Obliteride because research saved his life.

When Keith was getting radiation treatments at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (the treatment arm of Fred Hutch), he rode his bike 18 miles from his parents' house to each appointment, then rode all the way back—sometimes with a detour around Lake Washington. It's this kind of commitment to beating cancer—and to cycling—that powers Obliteride.

"I've seen cancer hit so many people that signing up for Obliteride was a no-brainer," said Keith, an emergency room doctor who lives in Anchorage, Alaska. "Plus there are so many good rides in Seattle that I wanted to go back and do them when I actually feel good."

Doctors diagnosed Keith with Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare skin cancer, in August 2012. He came to Fred Hutch and SCCA for radiation, surgery and an experimental treatment that used high-intensity electric shocks to drive medication deep into his tumor.

"The shocks are about half the strength of a lightning bolt," Keith said. "The first one wasn't so bad, but I drank a 22-ounce beer before I went in the next time."

The treatments were so successful that Keith is now in full remission—and extremely grateful for the lifesaving research that fueled his recovery. It was only about five years ago that researchers discovered a virus to be the cause of Merkel cell carcinoma. That finding paved the way for one of the innovative treatments that Keith received, which used a DNA vaccine to combat his tumor.

"If I had this cancer 20 years ago, I probably would've died," Keith said. "Thanks to research, I survived."

Register for Obliteride or support Keith through his Obliteride participant page. Thanks to our generous sponsors, 100% of every dollar raised will directly benefit lifesaving cancer breakthroughs at Fred Hutch.