Craig Broeder ('83, '85 M.S.) wanted to use his passion for cycling to raise money for cancer research and treatment, paying homage to his wife, Kay, and her struggle to overcome ovarian cancer. But cycling 3,000 miles across the U.S. wasn't a big enough challenge.
So, in 2008, Broeder rode the perimeter of the country instead — a journey that took more than three months and 9,000-plus miles. He raised $115,000 for the Kay and Craig Broeder Preventive Health Female Cancer Fund.
"I wanted to symbolize what a person with cancer feels like, where you're not sure if you're going to make it to the end," he says of the ride.
Now Broeder, CEO of a medical research company that conducts claims studies for preventive health and fitness products for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, is gearing up to be the first man older than 60 to cycle the perimeter of Australia and New Zealand, averaging more than 125 miles per day. That journey will begin in fall 2014.
After his wife's cancer diagnosis more than 25 years ago, he watched as she endured chemotherapy and radiation. Kay was eventually given a clean bill of health, but the seeds were planted for Broeder's charity work.
Charity cycling is just one of his fundraising initiatives. Broeder, who studied music at UNT, says his professors taught him how to be passionate about making music, not just learning the notes. Now he also is raising funds to bring the One O'Clock Lab Band to his former high school, which recently started a jazz program. He wants the lab band to perform for students and conduct a master class.
By increasing awareness for causes dear to his heart, Broeder has remained focused on what is most important to him — helping others.
"I live by this little creed: Never take a breath without helping somebody," he says.