By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
Josh Ladle likes to push himself.
Whether the Boca resident is competing in a triathlon or an open water swim, the father of four is always looking for a challenge that tests his limits.
His next endurance test: a 575 mile bike ride from the Florida/Georgia border down to Key West in 60 hours.
“I have never done anything this long or this crazy before,” he said. “I am really excited about it.”
This time, the challenge is more than just pushing his own physical limits. The ride is to honor his friends who have battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Palm Beach-Treasure Coast Chapter (LLS).
“I was thinking of doing it, just to do it and say that I did it,” he said of the upcoming bike ride. “I have always tried to do things that push my physical limits. Why not ride the entire state of Florida?”
Then, he decided there was a better reason out there for the ride. And he thought of two of his friends, one who died, and one who survived.
“I decided to do the ride in honor of them,” he said. “And to bring awareness to cancer in general.”
His goal is to raise $100,000 for his ride, which will take place from March 25-27.
Before two of his friends were diagnosed with cancer, he said he really didn’t know anyone close to him impacted by the disease. Then, it become personal when his friend Duben Wilde died at the age of 33 and left behind a wife and two young children. Ladle’s other friend Ian Patton is in remission.
“I want to help and prevent that from happening to another friend or another family,” he said. “It’s because of these two great friends, Duben and Ian, that raising money for LLS is so important to me. I want to do all that I can to help fund the research that will end cancer someday and will stop the terrible suffering of all those with cancer and the family members and friends who love them.”
To prepare for the ride, Ladle recently cycled from Boca to Key West, which was about 218 miles.
He said that ride was great practice for what he is about to take on. He is most nervous about traffic and a stretch of the ride where cars speed along at 55 miles per hour on bridges in the Keys.
The test ride helped him figure out what foods to pack along and how to hydrate properly. He also learned that he needs to bring extra batteries for his lights for night rides.
And beyond the physical exhaustion and how his body performs, he knows getting over the mental hurdles will be a big component of his ride, too.
Ladle said he has gained greater perspective on endurance because of his two friends.
“I’ve come to better understand that not all ‘endurance’ events have a finish line,” he said. “For those that do, well, sometimes those finish lines move. I always knew when my races would be over, but my friends didn’t know when their fight with cancer would end. I chose to participate in my endurance events; my friends didn’t choose to endure cancer.”
Ladle is encouraging other cyclists to join in on his ride, even if it is just for a mile or two. He is also still looking for sponsors and donations to hit his goal.
LLS’s continued advancements over the years are responsible for the blood cancer survival rate doubling and tripling; in some cases, the survival rate has even quadrupled. Many LLS supported therapies not only help blood cancer patients but are now used to treat patients with rare forms of stomach and skin cancers and used in clinical trials for patients with lung, brain, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers. LLS funded drugs are also now being tested for patients with other non-cancerous diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Donations support LLS research as well as patient services, advocacy, public and professional education, and community services.
His endurance races are his passion. During the day, he owns his own real estate company where he focuses on buying shopping centers.