Barbara Wiedemann and Dave Brumitt met in 1997, married two years later, and had a wonderful life together. They traveled the globe, bicycled through North Carolina and entertained friends with their cooking. In winter of 2002, at the age of 56, Dave was diagnosed with adenocarcinomal esophageal cancer. He underwent surgery the day after a 100-mile bike ride, and fought tenaciously through a five-month recovery. When his cancer returned, he and Barbara decided to pull out all the stops. They bought two Harley-Davidson motorcycles and rode all over the state. They traveled with friends. Unfortunately, less than two years after his diagnosis, Dave succumbed to the disease.
In 2003, Barbara decided to set up a fund at the Triangle Community Foundation in Dave's memory to support esophageal cancer research. And Barbara and Dave's friends decided they really ought to go on a bike ride again, in Dave's honor. So the Frostbite Tour for Dave was born! The idea of a long bicycle trip in February is a bit offbeat, perhaps, but as Barbara says, "It's the kind of thing that Dave really would have liked, and the idea of using it to help in cancer research would have appealed to him."
The Frostbite Tour for Dave travels a route through Johnston, Wake and Nash counties to raise money to support research to prevent and cure esophageal cancer. The first ride in 2004 drew 90 riders; the latest in 2009attracted more than 300.
Through The Frostbite Tour more than $70,000 has been raised to support the research of Nick Shaheen, MD, MPH, a physician-researcher at UNC Lineberger. Dr. Shaheen's research focuses on improving the standard of care of patients with cancer of the esophagus. He is pioneering new, less-invasive, treatments for a precancerous condition, called Barrett's esophagus, which can develop into cancer if left untreated.
"Dave would be humbled by the outpouring of riders and the contributions raised," said Barbara, who is married to Chris Fitzsimon. "We're pleased to support Dr. Shaheen's cutting-edge research."