For Chris and Team 182, Bike to Beat Cancer is not just a ride. It’s a way to honor the memory of his mother.

Chris Crews and Team 182 ride in memory of his mom and to support cancer research and resources for the Louisville and Southern Indiana community.

On Sept. 7, hundreds of cyclists will line up to ride anywhere from 5 to 100 miles in the Norton Cancer Institute’s Bike to Beat Cancer. The hope is to raise more than $500,000 for cancer research, prevention, advanced treatments, patient support and more for the Kentuckiana community.

The ride begins in front of the Norton Cancer Institute, where every day, patients undergo the latest cancer treatments, research is conducted, and people support their loved ones.

For most riders, getting on the bike is personal. For Chris Crews and his wife Monica, this event is part memorial, part victory ride and part holiday.

A diagnosis

After a chiropractor’s X-ray showed some irregular results in 2010, Chris went to his family physician. There were more tests, including a CT scan and a biopsy, which confirmed the worst: cancer. Chris was eventually diagnosed with lymphoma. He was 36 years old.

Through it all, Chris’s mom, Alberta, was there for him. “She was my biggest supporter,” he said. Mother and son spoke often over the years of intense treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation. Finally, Chris was in the clear – the oncologist told him to keep up with yearly bloodwork with his regular physician.

The family didn’t have very long to revel in Chris’s cancer-free status — Alberta was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2017. During her treatment, it was Chris’s turn to be a source of comfort, information and support for his mom. “She would call to talk about treatments and what to expect and that kind of thing.”

Bike to Beat Cancer

Register for this year’s event.

Learn more

A Special Bond

Chris and Alberta always had a close relationship. “I’m much younger than my three older siblings, so they were out of the house by then,” Chris said. He was eight when his father passed away. “It was just me and my mom.” Alberta focused on her son and her Catholic faith to get her through difficult times.

They spoke often, especially during their respective cancer diagnoses. Two themes stand out to Chris about chats during that time, wisdom from a woman who had lived 73 years in this world: life is short and take care of your health. “My diagnosis and then my mom’s diagnosis really made me aware of my health in general,” he said.

Perhaps the strong bond between mother and son, catalyzed by their cancer diagnoses, was what made her death in 2018 so devastating.

Just like riding a bike

A vacation in 2019 sparked Chris and his wife Monica into more serious cycling. “We rented bikes on the trip and when we got back, we started biking for health reasons.” That was also their first year participating in Bike to Beat Cancer.

“It’s odd, I remember my first oncology visit at Norton Cancer Institute. There were these brochures in the waiting room for Bike to Beat Cancer,” Chris said. “I thought, ‘Well, that’s interesting but that’s not for me.’” Little did he know that less than a decade later, he and his wife and a team of supporters would create their own little holiday around this event.

Since 2019, Chris, Monica, and a rotating team of family and friends have ridden in BTBC. “We have always done 35 miles, but maybe this year we will make the jump to 62, or maybe 100,” the couple said.

A Holiday in September

For the Crewses, BTBC is a celebration, a memorial and an athletic event all rolled into one two-day event. “It really starts the day before the actual ride, at the Celebration of Courage,” Chris said. “Picking up packets and so forth, it all has a very welcoming and festive feel.” The next day, after fueling up with breakfast, they head to the starting line.

“There’s a tremendous sense of community, of support,” Chris said. “They treat the riders so well, it’s a really well-run and organized event. We look forward to this all year.”

Riding this route mimics a cancer journey. “There are ups and downs, there are times when you feel really good, and times when you have to push through,” Chris said. “My mom and I, during our treatments, rallied around the idea of one day at a time. If that’s too much, get through the next 6 hours. If that’s too much, get through the next hour. Or the next 15 minutes.” The name “Team 182” is a reference to Alberta’s days in retail. “Her timeclock number was 182,” Chris said. “Her motto was to just keep going, moving forward, one foot in front of the other.” Or in this case, one more push of the pedal.

Schedule an Appointment

Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.