Marshall Reeves – Solo RAAM 2016


by Lucia Parker on July 14, 2016 Comments Off on Gratitude

Marshall and Rob pedaled their first miles of Race Across America one month ago today. They took a right turn on Surfrider Way and climbed east out of Oceanside, CA. With them were twenty eight crew. Twelve days later, that team had grown to thousands.

I’m overcome with gratitude and something harder to define. It’s a familiar feeling – one that I feel especially keenly during and after Race Across America. This event, these thousands of people coming together around the same purpose, it’s a reminder that we are not alone. It’s powerful and unexpectedly beautiful. We share grief and loss, but most importantly we share determination and hope.

Here’s what that shared hope did this year:

  • Together we raised $48,118  (and counting). Every penny will fund desperately-needed brain cancer research. That’s 120% of our $40,000 goal!
  • 60,313 people watched videos sharing the stories of our racers.
  • 99,067 people liked, shared or commented on a Facebook post.
  • All in all, our stories reached more than 250,000 people.

Thank you to Marshall Reeves, Rob DeCou and to your crew Adam Darby, Jacob Bouchard, Jesse Reeves, Joseph Josephy, Ryan Jean, Tyler Jandreau, Chris Clemens, Tyler Clemens, Darla Workman, Gay Hunter, Holly Cunningham, Jack Church, Jamaica Lambie, Jim Robertson, Kim Godawa, Kristin DeCou, Kyle Downs, Madisyn Heistand, Sean Flanagan and Totsie Robertson. Thank you Aly Moser, Bryan Cereijo, Cole McCauley, JoDee Ahmann, Joe Mulligan and Luke Rafferty for capturing and sharing the stories.

Thank you to each of you who joined our team along the way, offering encouragement, giving to brain cancer research and sharing the stories of our racers with your communities. Together we can end brain cancer.


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Lucia ParkerGratitude

Brain Cancer Took a Big Hit

by Maria Parker on July 4, 2016 Comments Off on Brain Cancer Took a Big Hit

Rob Decou and Mashall Reeves are home now, and hopefully beginning to recover from their Race Across America finishes. I’ve talked with a few of the crew, and they’ve each spoken of their experience with RAAM using terms like “epic,” and “unbelievable” with the same tired, but satisfied tones.  I too, am tired, but happy.  Each time I experience Race Across America, I come away exhausted and overwhelmed with so many emotions.


I’m so relieved that both racers and all the crew made it to Annapolis safely. After Marshall’s massage therapist. Jim Merchant,  was in a terrible accident driving Marshall’s car with all his gear to Oceanside (Jim is recovering and should heal completely), I wrestled with dark worries.  Thanks to the care and attention of all the crews, my worries were put to rest.

I am in awe of both Marshall Reeves and Rob Decou. These two men, with full-time jobs and families, competed in the world’s toughest race, proving themselves  both incredible endurance athletes and heroes to all of us who watched them.  They endured so much, and in the end, finished with the help their crews and the support of their extended communities and because of their commitment to the brain cancer community.


Rob Decou may be the biggest person to ever start Race Across America and certainly is the biggest person to finish it. His heart is as big as his tree trunk legs and massive arms. Rob takes community to a whole new level. He brought with him as many people that he loved as he could, and the rest served him from afar by donating, and writing encouraging messages.  In a sport that attracts mostly introverts and loners, Rob is a wonderful anomaly. Rob taught us what community and trust could do

Perseverance and toughness are the defining characteristics of Marshall Reeves.  This year was Marshall’s third attempt at Race Across America and he was determined to do what he had not done in 2012 and 2014..  All the way through the race, Marshall focused on what was going well. In the last days of the race he attacked the mountains of West Virginia, as if he had a vendetta against them; he’d left the race near Grafton West Virginia in his 2014 attempt. Marshall was John Wayne and Clint Eastwood rolled into one, and like the characters both of those actors played, he is incredibly kind and good under his obstinate resolve.

Over all my emotions and saturating all my thoughts is overwhelming gratitude.  I am so grateful to all of you in our 3000 Miles to a Cure Community.   Each of you gave so that those impacted by brain cancer might have hope and a chance for a future.  Some of you gave money, some donated time away from your families and jobs, many gave up sleep, some prayed and followed along, some of you did all of these.

Words of thanks are so little in comparison to the goodness of this great act of service, love and community. No one finishes Race Across America alone and  brain cancer will never be cured by a few.  Thank you for joining with us. Only together can we cure brain cancer.

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Maria ParkerBrain Cancer Took a Big Hit

June 27, 2016: Finished

by Joe Mulligan on June 27, 2016 Comments Off on June 27, 2016: Finished

I am sitting in a pretty little coffee shop, a few hundred feet from the Atlantic Ocean in Annapolis. A few minutes ago, Marshall Reeves finally crossed the finish line of RAAM 2016. He was close in 2012 and in 2014, but 2016 was his year to conquer the beast.

As he slowly unclipped his shoes from the bike pedals, he was greeted by whistles, applause, and countless hugs. His family was waiting to embrace him. His son, Jesse rode across the finish line with him while his daughter, Molly, and wife Madge, greeted him with hugs and tears.

Beer was immediately passed out to the crew, and Marshall had a Stella Artois in his hand with a enormous smile on his face. He popped it open, amoung cheers and congratulations ringing the air, took a big gulp, and declared he had finished, as if the beer was the final test.

With his beer still in his hand, he held up his shiny RAAM medal like a champion


And he was. He was a champion. He completed the hardest bicycle race in the world at the age of 60.

At the finish line, it was loud, but under the din was this feeling of completion. It was like a massive exhale after a nervous breathe. There was yelling and clapping and tears, but there was also understanding. There was an understanding of what had been accomplished.

Marshall was excited and waves to the crowd greeting him at the finish line.

Marshall was excited and waves to the crowd greeting him at the finish line.

I have been changed by RAAM. In these 2 weeks, I have dealt with my insecurities and fears. I have cried tears of sadness and joy. I have laughed alongside the crew and Marshall and experienced the beautiful country around me. I am a different Joe Mulligan then started RAAM.

When Marshall crossed that finish line, burdens were lifted, smiles became wider and previously glassy eyes came into focus. In the noise, I could hear my mom’s voice calling out among the fans. She was there watching, congratulating Marshall on his amazing job.

Marshall's team stands with him and celebrate the finish of the Race Across America.

Marshall’s team stands with him and celebrate the finish of the Race Across America.

After the crowd left, I had a short moment alone with Marshall. I thanked him for everything, praising him for his effort and supporting 3000 Miles to a Cure. He told me that he was glad to do it, and thanked me for being there and representing the cause.

Marshall, you are an amazing man, I hope I get to ride in a plane you’re piloting. Thank you for representing 3000 Miles to a Cure and dedicating your time and energy to serve us. I will always remember this finish with happiness in my heart, and I will always be inspired by you.

You’re done.

Joe Mulligan

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Joe MulliganJune 27, 2016: Finished

June 25, 2016: Almost There

by Joe Mulligan on June 27, 2016 Comments Off on June 25, 2016: Almost There

The last 24 hours of RAAM are in full effect. Fatigue is rampant through the crew and riders.

Marshall is now 200 miles from the finish. He is in territory he has never seen before. His last two attempts are fresh in his mind as he pushes to the finish.

Marshall’s cause and reasons are fighting the pain inside his head as he moves toward the finish one pedal stroke at a time. He is within hours of his official finishing time and there is some speculation as to whether he will make it.

The crew is doing everything they can to get him there, feeding, medicating, caring for all of his needs.

If he doesn’t push, he isn’t going to make it.

Please help Marshall, he did this for a cause much greater than himself. It is 3000 Miles to a Cure fighting alongside him as he conquers RAAM and seeks to conquer brain cancer. Every mile he pedals, is another small victory. Pledge just a small amount for every mile he finishes. Help get him to Annapolis and our goal of 20,000 dollars. Every dollar counts, donate BC_RAAM_2016_06_24_MorningIndiana-14today.

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Joe MulliganJune 25, 2016: Almost There

June 25, 2016: Chaos

by Joe Mulligan on June 25, 2016 Comments Off on June 25, 2016: Chaos

We’re 500 Miles from the finish line and everybody is exhausted. Marshall is pushing himself mile by mile to stay on the bike.

Most of his crew has circles under their eyes and a far-off stare. Everybody is talking about the finish. Is he gonna get there? What does his average speed need to be? How many miles does he have left?


He rolled into a stop at Chillicothe, Ohio a few minutes ago.  

As he was sitting in his chair, spooning chili in his mouth, Jacob and Ryan were massaging his feet and Tyler and Joseph were putting drinks in the cooler, filling up the follow car with gas, and buying more ice. Adam was checking the bikes and Jesse was talking to his dad about the last few hundred miles.


I did my best to stay out of the way while Luke and Bryan were snapping pictures and taking video of the whole scene. It was just chaos.

We are near the finish line, and everybody is ready to be there. The crews and riders are running on adrenaline and caffeine trying to get to Annapolis.

We are just trying to keep Marshall on the bike. His body and mind are telling him to stop. He is latching on to the cause and trying to separate his mind from the saddle sores and lack of sleep.


We are 500 miles from the end and we still have not reached Marshall’s donation goal. Please donate for mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, children and grandchildren, who will lose the fight to brain cancer unless we cure it first. Marshall and Rob fight every mile. 3000 Miles to a Cure needs your support. We craft videos, albums, and interviews hoping that they have an effect. Hoping that others can see the passion we have to end brain cancer and be inspired.

Just keep pedaling, Marshall

Joe Mulligan or affectionately “Glasses McWritterface”

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Joe MulliganJune 25, 2016: Chaos

He Must Finish

by Maria Parker on June 24, 2016 Comments Off on He Must Finish

This morning I woke up after only 2 and ½ hours of sleep, my head thick with exhaustion.  My first thought was, Marshall has been doing this for 9 days while cycling for 21 hours a day.  At this point in Race Across America, I’m incredulous that Marshall can keep going.  Yet go he does.  He and his crew say every day, we must finish.  This time, we must finish.   I feel their desperation.  Marshall must get an official finish this year, his third attempt.  

Last night Marshall got a big push toward Annapolis. An anonymous benefactor offered to donate $10 for each mile Marshall pedaled, (750 of them as of last night), only if he gets to Annapolis.

She said “Just tell him to finish,  It’s his third time, he’s not getting any younger. He will not have to do this a fourth time.  I so want him to finish. I know how terrible I have felt not finishing a measly 50 miles a few years ago…he must feel that a 1000 times stronger…He will finish.

When we told Marshall last night, he was overwhelmed.

This donor is challenging Marshall’s community to come alongside her and also pledge per mile donations.  Marshall has offered anyone who matches her pledge a signed 3000 Miles to a Cure jersey, one of the jerseys he has been wearing during his ride.  Any matching donation will encourage.  $.10 per mile is $70, $1.00 per mile is $700 dollars, or come up with your own amount.  Let’s get Marshall to the finish line.  He must finish.

Maria Parker

Marshall is racing to cure brain cancer. Every cent of every donation goes to brain cancer research. Join us.

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Maria ParkerHe Must Finish

June 23, 2016: Junior

by Joe Mulligan on June 23, 2016 Comments Off on June 23, 2016: Junior

We caught up with Marshall as he was tackling the bumpy roads of Illinois. Last night we saw him cross the Mississippi River in good spirits. He was glad to be two thirds of the way through.

Illinois is similar to Kansas in a lot of ways. Long flat roads with corn and wheat everywhere. It is more populated and the traffic is much more of a hazard. The heat and humidity is unbearable, but the tailwind assists his speed.


He stopped to cool off and the media team was able to catch up with the night’s activities. He was smiling and surprised by how good he felt. In his previous experiences, he was dealing with extensive leg pain by this point in the race. The fact that his hamstring muscles are functioning is encouraging, despite the hand numbness and saddle sores.

The media team asked him what he was going to do differently after his unsuccessful attempts. He simply said “not screw up.” 


While he got some more water from his crew, Aunt Maria read him some encouragement from donors. On one message, he was addressed as Uncle Mark. He laughed when he heard this, and I was curious as to why.

It turns out, he legally changed his name at the age of twelve to Marshall Reeves Jr. He adopted his father’s name because he respected him so much. Marshall is not a super emotional guy, so when he talks about his father, I am moved.


The relationship between fathers and sons is a special one. A father is someone who you can seek wisdom from and confide in at the same time.

After Mom died, Dad had to take upon the entire responsibility of leading the household. He had to work full time and provide emotional comfort during a hard experience. During this time, we spent more time together. Mom’s expressiveness was a big factor of my childhood, after she died, my dad and I developed a very personal friendship. We ate lots of steak together as men and discussed a plethora of subjects. I like to joke around and call us “bros,” because we really do have a great friendship. Without Mom to mediate, I got to know dad on an entirely different level. We united in our grief and our happiness. I began to realize the extent of his wisdom and gained so much knowledge from him on how to lead a family. Without my father’s guidance the experience would have been so difficult.   
Marshall and I seem to have a similar respect and love of our fathers. It freshly reminds me that some people don’t have that comfort. When a family has to deal with a terminal disease, their relationships can suffer and never heal. I can’t imagine losing my father to brain cancer. I don’t want to imagine it. I hate brain cancer. I never want to see another family suffer because of it. I don’t want to see a son suffer after he loses his father or a father suffer after he loses his son. My mother was an amazing woman.  It is time to end brain cancer. People are fighting. 3000 Miles to a Cure is supporting researchers across the country who want to see it cured as much as we do. You can provide them with funds. You can wave goodbye to brain cancer alongside 3000 Miles to a Cure. Every penny goes to research. Please donate here today.

Happy Birthday Pops (Dad), 52 is going to be a great year.

Joe Mulligan

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Joe MulliganJune 23, 2016: Junior

June 22, 2016: Team

by Joe Mulligan on June 22, 2016 Comments Off on June 22, 2016: Team

As Marshall races across the country, the media team meets up with the crew and Marshall as much as we can and we have gotten to continually observe the team in action.

Marshall is capable, but he is only able to attempt RAAM with a team behind him. These six men are like brothers with lots of caffeine and time spent in close proximity. In a pre-race interview Marshall talked about the impact of this team.

“The great thing about this operation is that everybody on this crew volunteered. Everyone on the crew this year, came to me wanting to do it and that to me is huge. That is even more motivation, without them even having to say a thing…”  

Adam Darby, the bike mechanic, has flowing curly blonde hair that sticks out of the side of his hats. He always has a big smile on his face and is ready to lighten the mood with a joke. When he gets a bike in his hands, he becomes a machine, adjusting and fixing so fast, you wonder if he is actually thinking about it.


Joseph Joseph III (his real name) is the crew chief. He knows Marshall well and capably leads the team. He is a professional accountant and works well with numbers, constantly analyzing distances and speeds and feeding Marshall helpful information. He and Tyler Jandreau went to Marshall and volunteered to lead a team to get him to the finish line. He is tall and thin, sporting a short beard and bright orange reflective glasses.BC_RAAM_2016_06_16-8

Ryan Jean is the all-around, jack-of-all-trades guy. He has shoulder length wavy blonde hair and a short and broad-shouldered figure. He is constantly looking for ways to help and provides a comforting presence to all he is around. He has lots of interesting stories about his adventures on the Appalachian Trail and his biking experiences.


Jacob Bouchard is a details guy. He doesn’t forget things and provides a steady anchor for the more lively of the group. He has a friendly countenance at all times, always providing interesting conversation with his many talents. I love hearing his thoughts and ideas about RAAM or anything else.


Tyler Jandreau is an engineer. His mind is always working and he tends to be a problem solver. He likes wearing flip flops and his laid back personality tends to calm people down when facing problems. He is also a jokester and likes to lighten the mood.


Jesse Reeves is Marshall’s son and provides excellent moral support for his dad as he goes through this challenge. With a great love of music and long black hair in a ponytail, he is quite interesting to talk to about anything and everything. He is always seeking to help his dad when he can, providing valuable assistance to the specialist of the team.


These men have sacrificed more than 2 weeks of time from their jobs and homes to come and support Marshall as he to conquer RAAM. They live off of little sleep and eat gas station food at unscheduled times. They often sleep in the RV or in the car when they can.

Sunscreen is constantly being applied to Marshall alongside massages and an assortment of drinks. Monitoring Marshall’s health is a responsibility all on its own. He requires pain medication and lots of medicinal creams. They are always behind him pushing him to the finish line. They readily find anything Marshall needs and serve him in any way they possibly can, putting his needs far above their own.

They are expected to perform well under high stress situations and often have to do it quickly.

I am  inspired by their diligence and perseverance. They respect Marshall and want to see him finish, just like I do.

3000 Miles to a Cure is made up of men and women who have chosen to put a cause above comfort, money, and time. Every donation, every dollar given, inspires riders, crews, and volunteers alike.  We work hard because we love those who we’ve lost and don’t want anybody else to suffer that loss. Please donate here today, so brain cancer can no longer thrive unopposed, taking people from families and friends.

Mississippi River is ahead of you, Marshall

Joe Mulligan

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Joe MulliganJune 22, 2016: Team

June 21, 2016: Jenny Paparella Mulligan

by Joe Mulligan on June 22, 2016 Comments Off on June 21, 2016: Jenny Paparella Mulligan

2 years ago I lost my mother.

Losing your mom is hard. In fact, it is really hard, hopefully the hardest experience I will ever have in my life.

I remember always telling people how I was doing. Out of concern, they asked me, which I did appreciate, but I never could answer them. I told them it was hard, but I was good. It was always hard, but I was never good.

In fact, I am not even “good” today. Every day I think about college or even getting married, I realize she isn’t going to be there with me. She isn’t going to sit crying in the church as I say my vows or even heartily cheer when I get my diploma. She just isn’t.

I have come to realize that I will never truly accept this. I will look out at those people on my wedding day and try to find my mom’s shining, beautiful face.

I will never be able to take my kids to see their Grandma. I will never have someone to talk to about life decisions, or how I should propose to my girlfriend.

I won’t be able to come over and eat her delicious spaghetti and meatballs.

There will always be a void. There will always be an unfilled portion of reality that I am aware of.

But in the end, it is ok. I know she is there watching, sending her love to me every day as I go through life.

I will make it to tomorrow. She would have wanted me to.

Mom, I love you and miss you



Donate here

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Joe MulliganJune 21, 2016: Jenny Paparella Mulligan

June 20th, 2016: Memories

by Joe Mulligan on June 20, 2016 Comments Off on June 20th, 2016: Memories

Today Marshall cycled through the long flat plains of Kansas. The roads stretch miles and miles flanked by corn or wheat, creating a quiet landscape, but still an enchanting picture.


We rode beside him for a mile or two to get some good pictures and video. He called out puns about cows as we passed and we struggled to come up with any of our own.

He was still smiling, clearly enjoying the fresh breeze and the flat roads. It was only while we passed the large ranches of cattle that his face changed in reaction to the foul scent. “It wasn’t me!” he said with a smile.BC_RAAM_2016_06_20_Kansas-7

He looked experienced as he pedaled along the gray pavement. His gaze was calm and confident, and his eyes looked straight ahead at his target when he wasn’t punning about steaks.

When we stopped, his pain was more apparent, but he was still joking alongside his young crew. Almost halfway there, saddle sores and tight quads are always a topic when we stop. However, Marshall is tough and confident in his ability to bear the pain.

He is ready to get to the finish, I can tell. Sometimes, you can see the excitement in his gaze. When he is struggling with the climbs or disheartened at the distance left to go, he adopts an almost glassy expression.

He stopped briefly to rest and apply a new layer of sunscreen. Marshall showed us an old rust-covered and well-used knife.  BC_RAAM_2016_06_20_Kansas-9

“This is my father’s knife that was given to him when he became a Navy Aviator. He passed away last June.”  

He was obviously affected as he unsheathed the knife from a well used leather sheath. He carefully examined it as he was being massaged and sunscreened. His expression was different, as he remembered his father. He was emotional, but not sad or crying. He had a new resolve, almost as if he felt his father’s gaze on him.

He mounted his bike with excitement and a new kind of energy.
We all see things that remind us of lost loved ones or past memories. When we do, old feelings are freshly awakened, and briefly we see and feel things differently. For me, it is this one cookbook, called Taste and See. It was made by a group of women from my old church. It has a bunch of delicious recipes that Mom made often. She was even the author of a few of them. When I see that I am a little saddened, but it also reminds me of good times. Times without stress. Times where brain cancer was never talked or thought about. It was just smiles , laughter, and peace.

3000 Miles to a Cure knows about this longing. Instead of people remembering those times with sadness we want people to look forward to new memories with their family. When brain cancer is cured, there will be less looking back and much more looking forward. When you make a donation, think about the memories you will make with your family in the future and remember that some people can’t look forward to that. Donate here today, for others tomorrow.

Kansas is almost behind you Marshall


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Joe MulliganJune 20th, 2016: Memories