Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

June 6, 2013

Cyclist making cancer a road worthy cause

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — For every loss that has resulted in the battle against cancer, there are countless stories of how it has inspired individuals to do what they can to prevent it from happening again.

Many use said inspiration to give time and resources to any number of events, including this Friday’s Relay For Life in Pauls Valley, but it was California resident Flynn Donoho who decided to take his cause on the road via his bicycle to fight the disease.

Stopping recently to share his story with the PV Democrat as he rode along state Highway 19, it’s a cause that began in 2011 and comes with a goal to raise money for research by riding to all of the lower 48 states, one that is only $40 away from his minimum goal of $1,000.

“I’ve covered over 16,000 miles and I’m doing all 48 states,” said Donoho, adding that he even looks forward to what will happen when he exceeds his donation goal. “This year I’m going to finish the nine left.”

Sharing a common bond with families who have felt the pain of the battle lost, Donoho was partly inspired by his stepsister who succumbed to breast cancer at the age of 35.

He decided to also take to the road to honor his sister-in-law, who is a cancer survivor, as well as an elderly man he cared for who passed on from his struggle with the disease.

“Apparently there’s been a lot of cancer everywhere I’ve been… Not one person has come up to me yet and not known someone with cancer,” said Donoho. “I’m talking a lot of people.”

Donoho has had plenty of encouragement from people who have seen him riding along the various highways, most of them happy to at least honk their horns when they see his ‘Cycling for Cancer’ sign attached to the back of the supplies each time he has made a journey.

He’s seen just about every kind of weather, including three winters and even was shown on one of the big screen displays while stopping in New York’s Time Square.

“The people stopping me and telling me what a good job I’m doing,” said Donoho, who will be going through states like West Virginia, New Hampshire and Maine before heading to Wyoming this stretch. “That kind of motivates you.”

In fact, the response has been so generous toward Donoho’s cause that he’s never had to ask for anything to keep going from food or bottled water to his riding companion, a dog named Diva, who is always thrilled to meet everyone. Some donors have even surprised him with a new bike and his latest buggy along the way and if he hasn’t been given a place to stay, he spends quite a few nights camping out in a tent.

“Stuff like that happens all of the time… Only help I’ve been getting is people on the road,” said Donoho. “I don’t have to ask for a penny.”

However, if there is one thing above all he has been able to depend on it has been his faith, pointing toward God as his strength in good or bad times. Quite a few churches have welcomed him into their sanctuaries to share how he became a Christian only a little over a decade ago and helped him find a bright path to pursue.

“I ride on the faith of the lord,” said Donoho. “God loves people who have faith and that’s why I ride…One of the greatest things I get to do is testimonies.”

To donate to his cause online go to http://teamacs.acsevents.org, click donate to a participant, type in his first as well as last name and go from there.