Dan, transplant recipient
If there’s one thing to know about Dan Rembold, it’s this: The man doesn’t slow down—or give up. Not even when cancer lays down some serious potholes.
Dan’s battle with cancer began with a puzzling and pesky fever. After 11 days, several trips to the doctor and still no answers, he decided to go to the hospital. A full battery of tests later, Dan finally got his answer: cancer. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), to be precise.
AML is known for being aggressive and often fatal. In fact, Dan was told that his organs were already starting to shut down. Without immediate treatment, he could die within days. Cancer came fast and furious for this father of five.
A large farm, five kids, a budding passion for (bicycle) road racing, a dream house in progress, a thriving career in computer engineering—Dan had a lot he loved, and a lot to lose. But once the initial shock wore off, he actually felt blessed:
“Yes, I drew a bad lot, but I was healthy before the AML started. I had an incredibly supportive wife, a world-class doctor and nursing staff, an army of family and friends, good health insurance, and an incredibly supportive employer.”
Taking on the battle
Dan was diagnosed with a rare type of AML that is particularly rare and deadly. For his best chance at surviving, he would need several rigorous rounds of chemotherapy—and a blood stem cell transplant. During the first round of chemotherapy, he watched an Australian pro cycling race and became inspired by the beauty of the landscape and the cyclists’ performance.
After each round of treatment, he could barely get out of bed. But by the time the next round was due, he would already be back on the bike, clocking in miles on the road before it was time for more treatment.
A life-saving transplant
After chemotherapy, Dan’s life was in the hands (or genes) of a fully matched blood stem cell donor. Not everyone finds a match, but fortunately Dan found one on the Be The Match Registry®. The blood stem cell donation and transplant were a success. In July 2022 he met his donor on a joint family vacation. A woman from Germany, she had lost her own father to leukemia when she was just a teenager.
Racing to raise funds
Dan continued cycling to help recover from the physical toll cancer took on his body. Along the journey, he has also met, and become inspired by, fellow athletes who are also cancer survivors and transplant recipients.
Dan’s journey from diagnosis to transplant fills him with a sense of awe and gratitude for everyone who helped him along the way. And he holds a special place in his heart for Be The Match.
“I’m alive today in large part thanks to Be The Match,” he said. “In addition to finding and coordinating with my match to provide life-saving blood stem cells, they supplied extensive resources to help me understand this life-saving treatment and recovery.”
To raise funds, build awareness, and help others beat cancer, Dan has set up a Be The Match fundraiser as he takes on his next challenge: Road cycling in the Race Across the West (RAW). This incredible multi-day, 900+ mile course goes from California to Colorado. If Dan completes the race, he’ll be the first stem cell transplant leukemia survivor to do so.
Want to help Dan meet his fundraising goal to help give hope to more patients? Please consider making a gift in any size today. Or get in on the fundraising action yourself and create a page of your own.