The uncertainty started when Anna Pennycuff - an RN by day, Naptown Roller Girl by night - found herself bruising frequently and easily. Cancer never entered her mind, until a routine blood test showed that her white blood cells were elevated. She was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in 2009.
"As a couple, we were in shock," Anna's husband, Jeff, says today of that period. "The uncertainty of how long she had to live along with all the things that go with that are overwhelming and indescribable."
Jeff says his focus was entirely on Anna during those years. While she isn't cancer-free at present, treatment with the cancer inhibitor Imatinib has prevented the growth of further cancer cells on the molecular level.
Having come through that experience with Anna, Jeff resolved to devote himself to cause of cancer fundraising. And he chose to get involved with 24 Hours of Booty, because, as he argues, the medicine that keeps her alive today was discovered in part thanks to fundraising efforts like the event.
And when 24 Hours of Booty, a fundraiser for LIVESTRONG that challenges participates to bike into the wee hours of the morning, returns for its second year to Indianapolis this month, Jeff will be at the front of the pack.
The event will once again be held at Butler University, which will make room for the event's Booty Loop, a traffic-free loop and Bootyville, the event's own mini-city, home to riders sleeping and relaxing while off of the bike.
Since 24 Hours of Booty's inception in 2002, more than seven million has been raised towards cancer research and survivorship for local and national cancer charities.The Indianapolis version will host 400-plus bike riders who will raise more than $200,000 for cancer research and survivorship.
With his minimum goal set at $4,000 this year, Jeff is looking to family and friends for donations. And while he rode alone in the 2012 race, he's gathered together family and friends this year to race as a group - named Team Naughty, in honor of Anna's old roller girl name, Ivanna B. Naughty.
At present, Team Naughty ranks eighth in top teams with a total fundraising number at $1,610, while Jeff ranks ninth as a top participant coming in at $1,230.
"I'm not sure what benefits we have seen, but I'm sure there are some just as I know that the event got the word out for cancer research and fundraising in the community," Jeff says. "As the inaugural event, no one knew what 24 Hours of Booty was. This year, everyone is aware and asks questions about my team and the event schedule."
Jeff's original goal was to clock 100 miles during the event last year, but the weather and heat held him back. He's confident he'll meet his goal this time around. And he's in it for the long run in another sense: "As long as I can ride and raise money, 24 HOB will be an annual event."