UCMC doctors hope to spread awareness with 100-mile bike ride

The surgeons hope to continue bike rides and bring awareness to different specialties in the future.

By Haojia Li

A group of surgeons from the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) recently took part in a 100-mile bike ride to spread awareness of urological cancer and diseases.

Cycling together were Arieh Shalhav, Greg Bales, Vivek Prachand, Greg Zagaja, and Mohan Gundeti. The surgeons planned the bike ride to reach out to fellow doctors and patients in the northwest Indiana region.

They embarked on Thursday, October 9 from Benton Harbor, Michigan and made stops at different cancer centers, including Franciscan Woodland Cancer Center in Michigan City and Memorial Regional Cancer Center, in order to strengthen ties with these facilities. Their journey concluded the next day at Cancer Health Treatment Center of Valparaiso.

Gundeti, a pediatric urologist, stressed the importance of his field and the need for greater awareness. “[I] take care of children born with urological abnormality as pediatric urological tumors are rare—prostatic and bladder rhabdomyosarcomas,” he said.

According to Gundeti, the tri-state area was selected as the location for the bike ride due to its existing relations with the UCMC. “We draw [a] lot of patients within this region and it is important to know our referring physician[s] and put a name to face and build partnership for better caring of patients from this area,” he said.

Even though the surgeons’ trip has ended, this will not be a one-time activity. According to Gundeti, the doctors hope to spread the idea of biking for awareness to different specialties at the UCMC. The trip also aimed to fundraise for the Fritz Duda Foundation, a fund used for cancer research and prevention.

Gundeti said the trip also created a special bond between the doctors.

“In the difficult part of the rides we were making sure that we do not lose the path and [are] looking out for each other­—that’s the best part in this team riding,” he said.