William Anthony Dean, Volunteer & YSC Tour de Pink® East Coast
Rider from Team “Why We Ride”
Breast cancer doesn’t just affect the person diagnosed. It’s a family disease, but does this only apply to blood relatives? Not according to William Anthony Dean (Anthony).
For nearly five years, Anthony worked at Urban Outfitters with Kristen Martinez, a bright young woman who captivated everyone she met. She was Anthony’s boss and friend. As Kristen entered her 30s, she worked, spent time with family and friends and, of course, went out and had a great time! Then in 2005, she was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer. Not only did Kristen receive the diagnosis at the age of 31, she learned she had metastatic cancer — it had proliferated to her bones.
Kristen subsequently became very involved with Young Survival Coalition (YSC), serving as Chair and Chair Emeritus of its national In Living Pink gala. As the music played and the drinks flowed at the 2009 event, Kristen asked Anthony to do “a little bike ride” for her. What she meant was, “Would you cycle 200 miles over three days in YSC’s Tour de Pink® (TdP) to help raise money for the organization?” Little did he know that this “little bike ride” would change his life forever.
Most people would back out of a challenge of this magnitude. But Anthony pedaled from Hershey, Pa., to New York City in the 2009 Tour de Pink East Coast ride. He was amazed by the camaraderie he enjoyed with other riders — and their overwhelming support. When he told Kristen about his amazing experience, she vowed to join him in 2010.
Sadly Kristen passed away in June of that year, never having had the chance to participate in TdP herself. Three months later, Anthony rode his second TdP in her memory, armed with Kristen’s Mass card and her motto, “Make your mark, inspire change and leave your legacy.” He even recruited one of his best friends, Brandon Phillips, to join him.
That year the guys met Evelyn Hernandez, a young woman from New York whose father had passed away from lung cancer. At the time, Evelyn had no direct connection to breast cancer, but, unfortunately, it entered her life two months later when her 22-year-old-cousin, Kayla, was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer, which had spread to her bones.
Fueled with an even greater determination to make a difference, the trio formed team “Why We Ride” in 2011 to honor both Kristen and Kayla. They raised more than $25,000 for YSC, and they did it because as Anthony says “It’s simply the right thing to do.”
In 2012, Anthony convinced more men to join … and even talked them into wearing pink tutus, created by fellow teammate and rider Christine Malloy! Team “Why We Ride” grew to 13 riders (10 men, three women, including José Falcon, Kayla’s father) and has 30 riders this year.
When asked why he continues to ride Anthony says, “I’m motivated by Kristen’s continued influence in my life and by all the survivors I’ve met along the way. They inspire me as they pedal to change their lives and leave their own legacies.”
Thank you Anthony for your unwavering dedication to YSC. As your team grows, so does YSC’s circle of support!