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Be the Match cyclist embarking on 3,500-mile ride stops at UW Health

Bob Falkenberg is raising awareness for bone marrow transplants via a cross-country ride.
Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 4:35 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A leukemia survivor is looking to raise awareness by cycling 3,500 miles.

Bob Falkenberg is a bone marrow transplant recipient and received a life-saving donation through the Be the Match website. Twelve years later, Falkenberg is embarking on his 10th bike ride to raise funds and awareness for the non-profit.

“It’s a short painless process to actually donate,” said Falkenberg. “For one day of your time you can save somebody’s life.”

On Wednesday, Falkenberg set off from UW Health and the UW Carbone Cancer Center. Madison is his third stop so far on the Tour De TC.

He says he wants his athletic abilities inspire other patients.

“It really means a lot to someone going through that process, facing 50/50 odds of survival, all of that chemo and what it does to your body, to know that you’re going to come out on the other end,” said Falkenberg. “You can get your life back. You can do the things that you’ve always dreamed of doing.”

He plans to travel east to Boston and then ride south along the East coast before ending his ride in Jacksonville, Florida.

Along the way, Falkenberg hopes to encourage donors from racially diverse backgrounds to join the registry.

Dr. Natalie Callander, the interim director of bone marrow transplant at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, says transplant centers are in need of donors who come from traditionally underrepresented populations.

“We really want to encourage donations from Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans,” said Callande. “To have the absolute best outcome, patients coming from those communities need the best matches possible.”

Callander says young people, ages 20-44, are also encouraged to sign up.

To learn more about Falkenberg’s journey or how to register for Be The Match, click HERE.

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