• Print Print
  • Share
  • Text Size: A | A | A

Profiles of Fondo Fans

Clint Froke at the finish line - the Canadian Border! This September, he will cycle 270 miles from Canada and end at the Gran Fondo in Walla Walla.

Clint Froke 

Caregiver dedicates journey to cancer patients and inspires support

Last September, Clint Froke proved it is possible to bicycle more than 250 miles from Walla Walla to the Canadian border in one day. Clint departed at midnight from Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center, determined to use his bike to make a statement. He decided on a bold, if somewhat daunting goal—biking to Canada in 24 hours. “No one ever accused me of having much common sense,” he says.

The ride was a symbolism of the tough journey a cancer patients faces. According to Clint, “Without support, it makes both journeys much more difficult.”

The idea of the ride was born from Gran Fondo, the “Great Ride” to raise money for cancer patients. He has been involved with the event since the very start 12 years ago.

Froke, right is pictured with his mom.

Clint set up an account with everydayhero, a website that allows participants to personally raise money for the event. In his mighty attempt, he raised awareness for the Gran Fondo and $4,355 for cancer patients.

Clint will once again use his bike to make a statement. This year, he will cycle 270 miles from Canada and end at the Gran Fondo on September 24th, 2016. Join us at noon at the Walla Walla Community College to welcome Clint back from his ride.

If you’d like to support Clint on his journey, visit everydayhero.com.

Tom O’Donnell is the Director of the Providence St. Mary Rehabilitation Department. Gran Fondo hits especially close to home for Tom’s department.

Tom O’Donnell

Tom O’Donnell is the Director of the Providence St. Mary Rehabilitation Department. Last year, Rehab staff and their families formed the largest Gran Fondo team, coming out in full force to support the event.

Gran Fondo hits especially close to home for Tom’s department.

“Rehab staff work very closely with patients who receive a cancer diagnosis,” Tom says. “We can improve their quality of life through a healing touch. Over the course of a patient’s rehabilitation, we get to know them personally. We get to know their story.”

Tom was hired in 2014 and experienced Gran Fondo for the first time that year. He says he was moved by the “outpouring of community support and the opportunity to see current and former patients outside of the hospital. It’s an opportunity to celebrate life and celebrate movement.” And of course, raise money for the Cancer Special Needs Fund.

“We directly see the difference the Special Needs Fund makes for our patients. The fund pays for items insurance won’t cover, such as lymphedema sleeves or wraps,” Tom says. “Health care is a calling. We often ask ourselves not only how are we impacting patients, but how are patients impacting us?”

Join Tom and the Rehab Staff for the 2016 Gran Fondo


Bob & Becky Betts

There are things you expect in life. You expect to age and hope it’s graceful. You expect your kids to grow and leave the nest. You expect the sun to rise and set. Nobody ever expects cancer. Nobody is ever prepared for the chaos and uncertainty that ensues. 

We found ourselves in that very situation last August when out of nowhere, Bob was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Lymphoma, called Burkitts. Now eight months into remission, we both know that without a shadow of a doubt that the only way we made it through was because of community; our connection of friends, family, co-workers and the excellent care from Dr. Cunningham and the extraordinary staff at the Cancer Center. Looking back I am certain that is the reason Bob’s treatment and recovery has been so successful, because of the strength of our community.

Supporters in 2014 showed up for the Gran Fondo wearing tie dye 'Team Betts' shirts and took the Walk of Strength with Bob.Gran Fondo 2014 was a splendid day! Supporters showed up wearing tie dye “Team Betts” shirts and took the Walk of Strength with Bob. He had just completed two difficult cycles of inpatient chemotherapy, but was determined to walk. I remembered how fatigued he was by the time we got to Rook’s Park and I even suggested a taxi for the return. He declined and knew his team, his community, would usher him back.

Bob will again participate in the Gran Fondo’s Walk of Strength, only this year as a survivor! We are committed to make this a yearly family affair to support the great work of the Cancer Center. Visiting the Cancer Center countless times over the past year, we have witnessed the constant stream of patients that find themselves navigating the rough waters of cancer. Many do not have the resources needed to ease their journey. The proceeds from the Gran Fondo provide many services and amenities necessary to just keep going.

Join us at the Gran Fondo! It is a celebration of community and to a cancer patient, community means everything.