80 year old man bike rides to raise money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

Bob Stidwell, a courtesy clerk at Albertsons and retired teacher from the Tacoma School District for 32 years, rides his bike almost every Saturday to various Albertsons stores to collect donations for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Bob explained what multiple myeloma cancer is, “Multiple myeloma cancer is cancer in your blood. There are anti-body cells that multiply and become malignant and instead of helping the blood destroy bacteria and fight infection, it attacks the system…usually on the bones.”

Bob’s wife was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer in October of 2007 when she was 65 years old and died from the disease on December 13, 2011. Prior to retiring, Bob’s wife worked for the Tacoma School District as an assistant cook at Wilson High School. When asked when he began his fundraiser, Bob replied, “I’ve been a bicyclist enthusiastic since 1953 when I took a long bike ride through the western part of the U.S. I’ve been riding off and on over the years. I did a fundraiser in the early 1990’s for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital called “Courage Classic,” a fundraiser for children that have endured sexual abuse. With that fundraiser, I averaged about 250 miles; I went over Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass.

I retired as a school teacher in 1992 and started working at Albertsons on Pearl Street in Tacoma.”

Bob explained his fundraiser, “I am accepting cash donations for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. I started collecting donations the first weekend in May 2012. I ride my bike to the various Albertsons locations (one new Albertsons location per Saturday) and first made contact with individual store directors of Albertsons stores in Pierce and Thurston County. I developed a schedule and am in the process of bike riding every Saturday until the middle of August. I set up a station at the entrance of the Albertsons’ stores and have pictures of myself and my family and collect donations from people. I’ve already been to the following Albertsons store locations: Pearl Street in Tacoma, Gig Harbor, University Place, 38th Street in Tacoma, Olympia, and Lacey.”

Bob has already raised approximately $13,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and commented: “I just want an education awareness program and to raise funds to help find a cure since there is not a cure for multiple myeloma cancer.” Bob and his wife have been Tacoma residents for 46 years. Bob stated: “She exceeded the 6 month time period of living.”

Bob shared what many people may not know about his fundraiser, “I’m determined to finish the fundraiser and the donations have been fabulous. I do a lot of talking to a lot of people. The people in Tacoma and in my home store on Pearl Street and surrounding area have been fantastic.” Bob discussed how his fundraiser was unique compared to others, “There are many contributors to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. I’ve had nothing but praise on the effort that they have given me. I think they’ve gone out on a limb to help me as word gets out more people will be interested in donating to this cause.

Through my website:
http://www.active.com/donate/2012mmrfYOR/YORBStidwe, cash donation, or writing a check I will give people’s donations to the foundation. For example, last week I raised $490 in cash.”

For more information about Bob Stidwell, please visit: http://www.themmrf.org/donate-now-take-action/join-an-event/featured-supporters/stidwell.html.

Bob plans on visiting the following Albertsons store locations between now and the first part of August: Spanaway, Canyon Road in Puyallup, Milton, and Bonney Lake. “Thank you for any help that you can give me,” Bob concluded.

By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com