By Stefanie Donahue
Last month, 32-year-old Scott Bianchi joined 10,000 riders from seven countries and 45 states in the 200-mile Seattle to Portland bicycle ride.
Bianchi graduated from Blaine High School in 2003 and grew up on Lincoln Road. In the fall of 2013, he was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a type of deadly bone cancer that originates in the cells that form bones. Doctors first discovered the cancer after he fell in a convenience store in Tokyo and broke his leg.
A painstaking eight months followed the diagnosis as Bianchi fought the cancer with several rounds of chemotherapy and surgery to salvage his limb. He remained in Japan for treatment and was bedridden for several months. Throughout it all, he received letters and cards of support from friends and family before he came back to Washington.
“I had always been a very active person playing tennis, basketball and recently learning to play ice hockey,” Bianchi said. “All of the activities I loved were taken away from me and just the thought of walking again was in question.”
Bianchi gained close to 100 pounds due to lack of activity and diet during the treatment, he said. After his return home, he took part in a rehabilitation program to get back in shape and regain his ability to walk. “I wasn’t able to run, jump, or even bend my leg enough to ride a bicycle,” he said.
That was until he came across a someone selling a handcycle, which is powered with arm strength, as opposed to a bike. Riding the handcycle was the first time he’d felt freedom in a while, he said.
Soon after he purchased the bike, he promised his family that he’d train to ride in the largest multi-day biking event in the Northwest that spans through valleys, forest and farmlands in Washington and Oregon – the Seattle to Portland. The event took
place July 15 to 16.
“The funny thing is, I would never have attempted this as an able-bodied person,” he said. “Handcycling has given me back a part of my life that I thought was lost forever and I’m truly grateful for that.” To say the least, his fater Stan Bianchi, stepmother Kathy Stauffer and brothers Kevin and Michael were quite proud of his achievement.
“His road to recovery has been nothing short of a miracle as all of us have watched a young man surrender to the reality that he is not in charge,” Stauffer said. “Taking responsibility for his health, he has created a diet and fitness regime of discipline and determination and to that end decided he would start bike riding again, this time on a