Local cancer survivor Jamie Alamillo completed a 200-mile bike ride over 36 hours to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society last weekend, raising more than $204,000 for cancer research.
This was one of many of Alamillo’s fundraising efforts for the LLS, which is near and dear to him, as a survivor of advanced stage of multiple myeloma, an aggressive cancer that causes cancer to form in plasma cells.
After finding himself paralyzed from the waist down in 2013, doctors found that lesions on Alamillo’s spine had broken his back in two places.
Though Alamillo was told he would never walk again — and that he had a lifespan of seven years — he continued fighting, determined to see his two young children grow up.
After physical therapy, radiation, chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant Alamillo had fought his way into remission, and since then, he has not only begun to walk again, but has also begun to run and even ride — all to benefit the LLS and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
Alamillo has done half and full marathons, a duathlon, triathlon and multiple hundred-mile bike rides — including a 540-mile ride from Santa Clarita to Lake Tahoe in 2019 — raising nearly $800,000 over the course of six years.
“Not only does he do this for other people, but he still does miraculous things with his body — the body that couldn’t walk, or shouldn’t have ever walked again,” Sarah Clark, the campaign development director for LLS, said in a news release. “He should not, from all accounts, be alive anymore, but he is able to ride his bike from Santa Clarita to Lake Tahoe. He does incredibly selfless things for other people. And he just cares about the other patients that we’re serving. And he uses them as his inspiration when he’s actually all of our inspirations.”
This most recent ride was part of Alamillo’s campaign for the LLS’ 2021 Gold Coast Man of the Year, a virtual fundraising competition that took place over the course of 10 weeks for residents of Ventura, Santa Clarita and the San Fernando Valley, with the candidate whose team tallied the most votes named the winner.
Starting Friday, Alamillo rode 20 miles every four hours in a 10-mile loop, joined by other cyclists, marathoners and cancer survivors during various sections, for a total of 200 miles. Alamillo and his crew, called Team Together, raised over $204,396 as a team, which won Alamillo the title.
“It’s a huge honor,” Alamillo said. “I feel that I need to do it, not only for myself because I was told I will never walk again, but for others who can’t.”
Alamillo said he couldn’t have done it without Team Together, aptly named as all 16 team members each have their own whys for participating, yet are working together toward one goal: curing cancer.
“If it wasn’t for my teammates, I wouldn’t raise this amount of money,” he added. “The money that we raise goes towards cancer research and some of that research prolongs cancer survivors’ lives, which is mine, and it’s just a great feeling knowing that I can do it for myself and for others as well.”
Looking ahead, Alamillo plans on completing the 540-mile ride to Lake Tahoe again in 2022 and hopes to reach the $1 million fundraising mark next year.
For more on Alamillo’s story or to donate, visit bit.ly/jamiea21.