Venkatesh studied at the Johns Hopkins University. In the summer of 2012 he is riding with a group of college-age students on a 70 day, 4000+ mile bike ride from Baltimore to Portland.
What is your connection with the cancer community?
'Cancer' is a cluster of diseases, a betrayal by the majesty and power of the development program that constructed and heals us. Every single person is touched by cancer -- grim statistics and biology practically demand this. Here is a foe written deep into each of us. My mom has been fighting cancer as an oncologist for many years. I imagine this has been a hopeful era to be an oncologist; shortly before my mom entered medical school, Watson wrote 'Now is not the time to work on the biochemistry of cancerous cells'. Many cancers were automatic death sentences and meagre treatments available were brutal. Now some clever small-molecule therapies exist; there are few forms we cannot slow, at least for a time. There is nothing I can do but sit in the bleachers and read about and distantly understand the work of doctors and researchers; my understanding is worthy to be sure, but is not action. The call to 'do something' is strong. This ride is an opportunity to answer in a small way.
Why are you riding the 4K for Cancer?
I'm riding the 4K to be a part of team with a clear purpose and a defined goal that matters to me. I'm riding in honor of a friend who rode the 4K to Seattle last year. I'm riding to inspire, but just as much to be inspired; to gain an appreciation for the blessing of good health; and an appreciation for the strength by which people face adversity. 'Why can't we do something?' is a powerful impulse. Most of all, I'm riding to do a small measure of good within my reach.