Monday, July 9, 2012

Riding for a cause

My name is Angela Gonzales. I’m an enrolled member of the Hopi Tribe from the village of Shungopavi. Like many Hopis, I have lost family members and friends to cancer. The loss of these loved ones has motivated me in both my personal and professional life. As an Associate Professor of Development Sociology and American Indian Studies at Cornell University, my research focuses on community-based interventions to increase awareness about, and use of, preventive cancer screening. 

To celebrate my upcoming 50th birthday I wanted to do something memorable to mark the event. After considering bunjee jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, hiking the Himalayas, or swimming the English Channel, I decided to use the occasion to do something on my "bucket list," ride my bike across-country (north to south). On September 25, 2012, I will depart Bellingham, WA to pedal my bike 1,539 miles to Ventura, CA.  Preparing for the ride has made me realize how fortunate I am to be healthy enough to undertake such an adventure. As a cancer prevention researcher, I know how chronic diseases -- diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and cancer -- have compromised the quality of life for many Native people. Motivated by the Hopi values of nami'nangwa (volunteerism) and sumi'nangwa (reciprocity), I decided to use my ride to raise money for the Hopi Cancer Assistance Fund (HCAF). 

The HCAF was established in 2005 to assist tribal members having to travel off the reservation for cancer treatment. Since then, the fund has helped over 60 individuals and their families with the cost of travel for cancer treatment. Without a local cancer treatment center, Hopi tribal members must travel more than 550 round-trip miles for cancer treatment in Phoenix or 750 round-trip miles for treatment in Tucson. The weekly cost for gas, food, and lodging for 2-3 months of treatment can be costly.

I hope that you will consider helping me reach my goal of raising $10,000 for the Hopi Cancer Assistance Fund. A $500 donation will cover the cost of lodging for a patient receiving a week of intensive treatment, $250 will provide meals for a patient receiving one-week of intensive treatment, $100 will cover the cost of lodging for a patient needing to stay overnight for treatment, $75 will pay for gas for the 500 round-trip miles to Phoenix for treatment, and a $50 donation will cover a the cost of meals for a day of treatment. All donations are tax-deductible and 100% of the proceeds raised will directly benefit Hopi cancer patients and their families. 

Angela Gonzales


  1. A terrific idea for a much deserving cause. Thanks for demonstrating how one's research agenda and interests can meet and support the needs of Native communities!

  2. Darold H. JosephJuly 13, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    I agree with Matt! This is an awesome idea and a very deserving cause! Coming from Hopi myself I understand the challenges presented with the limited resources we have, any bit of support is very helpful! What better way for a Hopi community member to build a bridge between the two and give back! Reciprocity! Nahongvita!!!

  3. How exciting! An email blast from AIP alerted me to your effort and this blog. I know all too well the struggles of cancer patients and their families. I'm happy to add my name to your list of supporters. Have a great ride!

  4. What a powerful message you will be relaying to many people both native and non-native. Yes, we have lost many to this terrible disease. I have experienced it first hand what it does and how it effects the family and friends. We just lost a hard working and well respected man a couple of weeks ago to cancer. And I am happy to give you my support. My prayers go out to all those who are battling cancer. Enjoy your ride and my good thoughts will go along with you. Um nahongvitani!

  5. Angela this is very moving that you are not only doing what people generally see as "Ivory Tower" activity as a researcher, but that you are much more involved as you are also from the Hopi community, you like many of us have family who have suffered and passed on from cancer, and that you are jumping in with another solution to the issues Hopi people have in that they don't generally have the resources to get to the care they need. Keep up the good work! Nahongvitotangwu!

  6. I'm behind you all the way as you embark on this inspiring journey to help make the world a better place. Carrie

  7. Me too, have lost family and friends to cancer...the injustice seems insurmountable at times, but we still must hope and do what we can to help. Thanks for inspiring me to think about how I can do my part. Action research all the way! And what a wonderful experience for you! Yours, Emily G.

  8. Hi Angela,
    As a WomanTour cyclist--have been on 4 great trips so far--I applaud you in your quest to raise $10K for the Hopi Cancer Assistance Fund.
    I was happy to contribute today!
    Hope to meet you in SF at Scoma’s on October 16th.
    Hi to Mary Blake for me.
    Francie Curtiss


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