Riding is a Family Affair: A Husband’s Support for his Wife’s Fight
Anna Pennycuff, a nurse by day and a member of the Naptown Roller Girls by night, was prone to bruises due to minor injuries from participating in the roller derby sport. She never gave much thought to these small contusions until 2009 when her bruises led to an unfortunate breakthrough discovery.
In August 2009, Anna went for a routine blood screening and found that her white blood cells (WBCs) were elevated. Results later discovered that she had Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) — a cancer of the WBCs that is characterized by an unregulated growth of myeloid cells in the bone marrow and blood stream. Immediately, Anna was prescribed a chemotherapy drug called Gleevec, a targeted cell treatment that kills cancer cells at the molecular level. She must take Gleevec every day for the rest of her life in order to remain in molecular remission as she has since 2010. Although there are minor side effects, such as nausea, Anna is happy that there is a less invasive treatment in pill form with less risk than traditional chemotherapy to keep her alive and healthy.
To show support of Anna’s fight against cancer, her husband Jeff Pennycuff began participating with 24 Foundation last year at the inaugural Indianapolis event after hearing about the organization and event from his local CBS station. In 2012, Jeff proudly rode the event by himself in support of his wife, but this year is happy to have others join him for the 24 hour event. This year, Jeff has formed a team with other family members named Team Naughty after Anna’s former roller derby name, Ivanna B. Naughty.
Initially, Jeff set a fundraising goal of $1,500 for the 2012 ride, but received overwhelming support from family and friends earning him second place for individual fundraising with over $4,000 raised. Through the use of social media, Jeff hopes to raise $4,000 for the 2013 24 Foundation of Indianapolis by receiving donations from family, friends and even strangers.
“The medicine that keeps Anna alive is a direct result of cancer research,” Jeff Pennycuff said. “What better reason for donating is there?”
Jeff had a great first experience participating with 24 Foundation and was very pleased at the amount of awareness and fundraising the inaugural Indianapolis event produced in the community. He is very excited that people are becoming more aware and asking questions about his team and the upcoming event schedule. At first, Jeff thought being among so many riders who are riding to fight cancer was his favorite part about the event.
“But as I took my first lap, I have to say that the support for the families in the neighborhood was overwhelming!,” said Jeff who plans on riding 100 miles this year, as weather permits. “I plan to make 24 Foundation an annual event and continue riding and raising money for as long as I can.”