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September 3, 2013

Peabody cancer survivor rides in charity event to make a difference

PEABODY — If anyone has a reason to ride for cancer research, it’s Dave Bethune.

A Peabody resident and an avid cyclist, Bethune has biked in all five A Reason To Ride charity events, which begin and end at the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers and raise money for cancer care and research. Each year, he joined the cause because of different people he knew who had cancer.

One year, it was his good friend Howie Rich, who had been diagnosed with brain cancer; he has since died.

“You kind of ride for those people, and you write their initials or write their name on your tag — you feel good about it,” Bethune said. “But I never thought it would be me.”

In January, however, Bethune himself was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

He had no symptoms, he said, other than feeling “the winter blahs.” But he had time to get a routine physical because he was in between jobs and wanted to tie up some loose ends.

He’d been working for a company called Nolij of Beverly, which sold imaging software to colleges, when it was sold to another company. He had a new job lined up at Ebsco Information Services in Ipswich, where he had previously worked for seven years, and scheduled his checkup for the period in between.

“It’s a cool story as far as not blowing off your physical,” said Bethune, a married father of three teenagers. The diagnosis came officially on a Friday, and he was starting his new job on Monday.

Ebsco has supported him throughout, including during chemotherapy and radiation treatments in February and March to shrink the tumor, he said. He then had two months off to rest and then two surgeries in May. It was tough after surgery, Bethune said, but he proved a fast healer because he was in good physical shape.

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