When Timmy Samec hops on his bike in August to help raise money for MUSC’s Hollings Cancer Center and its LOWVELO Fellows program, the fourth-year Clemson doctoral student aims to ride a total of 1,700 miles.

Why make such a commitment? Samec is already training to ride in Ironman triathlons and is a LOWVELO Fellow doing cancer research at the Hollings Cancer Center. He is also a cancer survivor.

“I’m not sure if cancer gave me a totally different perspective but it definitely gave me a new angle to look at things,” Samec said of his testicular cancer diagnosis early this year. “It’s ironic that I primarily work on the gender-opposite ovarian cancer of what I was diagnosed with. I’ve always had a pretty clear vision and reason as to why I do the work I do.”

Samec was the first fellow selected for the LOWVELO program. In last year’s fundraiser, he and more than 660 cyclists raised nearly $700,000 riding on one of three Lowcountry routes that ranged from 25 to 100 miles long.

The Hollings Cancer Center is holding the fundraiser as a virtual event. LOWVELO 2020 participants can run, walk or cycle, logging miles to raise money with donations.

This year, it will include runners and walkers, but it will be a solo event because of COVID-19 and physical distancing. Participants will sign up and log their miles online.

Samec, who studies in Clemson’s bioengineering department under the guidance of assistant professor Angela Alexander-Bryant, said the virtual event is “a great opportunity to get many more people involved who otherwise may not have been able to participate in person at the ride originally scheduled for November.”

For more information about LOWVELO and how to participate, go to the MUSC website. Participants can register here.

“Cancer touches everyone’s life in one way or another and I have had many close relatives with some type of cancer diagnosis,” Samec said. “It always hits home. I’m just happy to be able to do what I do and if I can help further the field of cancer therapeutics and therapeutic delivery even in the slightest, I’ll know that I’ve done my job and that my family is proud of me.”

Read more about Samec and his work in this story.