MANATEE — Within just a few weeks, Pam Roy went from taking part in a half-marathon to being diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia.
There followed a series of blood and platlet transfusions and chemotherapy, including three weeks in the hospital.
That was in the spring and summer of 2008, but for the past year, the Palmetto resident’s leukemia has been in remission, a testament to the treatment she received.
Sunday, she completed the 21st Annual Intracoastal Waterway Century, a 102-mile bicycle ride that took cyclists on a course through Cocoa Beach, Kennedy Space Center and Titusville.
In the process, she raised almost $12,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society riding with Team In Training. Altogether, Team in Training raised about $200,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
“I wanted to do something to pay back,” the 59-year-old grandmother said Monday after returning home to Palmetto. “But I was looking for this event to be behind me because I was stressed out about doing 102 miles.”
Tyler Allwood, Roy’s son, said the family fell in behind his mother after she became ill.
“It came out of the middle of nowhere. All of a sudden she seemed tired all the time. It didn’t seem like she was the same person,” Allwood said.
The family, which owns and operates Charles A. Roy Roofing, rallied around her, and worked to keep their emotions in check to support Roy in her recovery.
“We knew that was going to help her by us not being down,” Allwood said.
Paul Chrostowski, president of Spacecoast Freewheelers, which organized Sunday’s ride, said there were about 500 riders taking part, including 65 from Team in Training.
All of the money raised by the event goes to various charities, he said.
Roy said since her leukemia has gone into remission, she has been able to run several marathons.
She really appreciates having her strength back.
Thinking back to her diagnosis with leukemia, she said, “I was functioning, but they didn’t know how I was walking around; my blood levels were so terrible.”
She admits to being a little intimidated by the prospect of a seven-hour bike ride, but is already thinking about taking part in another event next year.
“It’s a tough economy, but if people want to give money to a good cause, this is a good one,” she said.
For more information, visit Roy’s Web page at http://pages.teamintraining.org/sun/waterway09/proy.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.