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My Prostate Cancer Story: Craig Gillmore

Craig Gilmore was legendary personality at his company. A software developer with a quiet and unassuming nature, he was a beloved center of social life, often organizing events and coordinating outings. He was also known for something unusual, and to many, impossible: he lived his life completely car free.

Craig made this extraordinary decision when he relocated to Los Angeles 4 years ago. In a city known for its expansive sprawl and network of freeways, Craig vowed that his bicycle would be his only mode of transportation. He was so dedicated that when he was working at a production facility in China, he maintained his strict “no car” policy, loading all of his gear onto a collapsible trailer and riding to Los Angeles airport for the overseas flight. For the next 4 months in China he rode his bicycle exclusively.

It was shortly after he arrived in Los Angeles that Craig learned he had prostate cancer. While his prostate had been surgically removed, Craig was not cancer-free, and he knew it was a matter of time before the disease returned.

Despite his uncertain prognosis, Craig’s joie de vivre never waned. In May 2015, at the age of 62, Craig determined that it was time fully embrace his true passions and “start doing fun things.” He missed his hometown of Detroit, and decided it was time to return and open a microbrewery, a longtime hobby. With these ideas in firmly in place, he retired from his software job and set off on a personal odyssey. Of course, he would make the 3,500-mile trip on his bicycle.

Inspired by his passion, a group of his coworkers, led by Patrick Wright, decided to collect donations in his honor, celebrating Craig’s strength in the face of adversity. They followed his progress on Facebook page, updating their “Craig Tracker” at every team meeting. They watched him weave his way across the continental United States, marveling at such sites as Bryce Canyon and the Rocky Mountains. “It’s amazing stuff my colleagues had never done,” said Patrick. “And on a bicycle!”

While his coworkers watched him from afar, Craig pushed on in his journey. His Facebook page quickly became a collage of photos with new friends, various campgrounds, all kinds of weather, and changing topography. Among the numerous highlights of the trip were visits to the Grand Canyon, as well as stops at the Joshua Tree Music Festival and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, a “particularly scenic” locale, says Craig.

In August of that year, Craig finally arrived in Detroit, and has already begun the process of starting his microbrewery. Instead of living in the shadow of his prostate cancer, he is living each day to it’s fullest. While his cross-country trip was “pretty exciting,” he is now contemplating returning to Europe, where he once spent 6 months riding his bicycle. “Craig never advertised his prostate cancer,” says Patrick. “But people were aware. What he is doing with his life is off-the-charts amazing, and is a level of passion to which we should all aspire.”