Cross-country motorcycle ride raises awareness about cancer reso - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Cross-country motorcycle ride raises awareness about cancer resources

Source: WTOC Source: WTOC

A Florida man who spent almost 60 days traveling on his motorcycle to raise awareness about resources available to those battling cancer stopped in Savannah on Saturday.

David Cowan is the founder and CEO of Ali’s Alliance Cancer Resources and Support Directory, a non-profit organization providing a free, web-based database with information about resources and support for the cancer community.

"I've been on the road by myself, and that's kind of symbolic of the journey that people battling cancer go on," Cowan said. "Everyday you're out there by yourself. You're doing it. There's help. There's support. There's family. There's friends. There's all kinds of things out there to help you along, but everyday, you're doing it by yourself."

Cowan knows what it's like to feel alone after a cancer diagnosis. 

His wife Alison was unexpectedly diagnosed with a rare, aggressive type of melanoma in 2010 after a routine procedure by a doctor who wasn't an oncologist.

"We didn't even know what questions to ask, and so at that point, shaken and stirred, we went home and got on the internet," he said. "And that almost made things worse."

The search turned up thousands of results, but few definitive, useful pieces of information. Cowan lost Alison 10 and half months after her diagnosis, but decided he didn't want others left searching the internet aimlessly for answers. He then started Ali's Alliance, which connects those with cancer to treatment providers - everyone from doctors to dog walkers - to help ease the diagnosis. Treatment providers of all kinds can sign up for free and list the services they give. Caregivers and those battling cancer can then search specific resources geographically and based on their stage of the cancer battle.

"It makes it easier for the people that need you to find you, and it's free," Cowan said.

As he wraps up his trip to the four corners of the country with more than 14,000 miles shared between him and his Harley, Cowan said it isn't his own story that he thinks of while riding.

"When I first started the Ali's Alliance project, it was about the experience that I had had," He said. "It was a way to memorialize my wife and keep her memory alive, and that was early on. As the project has gone on, it's about the cancer community."

At every stop, he planted a red knot representing the tying together of that community to services across the country. 

Cowan hopes his ride raises enough awareness about the database to double the number of resources available to the cancer community. 

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