The Ride Spotlight: Ian Todaro
Third-Time Participant in The Ride Leaves His Bike at Home
September 17th, 2021 | Rob Kelly
Ian Todaro, a UW Health Nursing Assistant at the cancer unit at University Hospital (and soon to be a UW Health trauma nurse), has taken part in The Ride twice. He will be participating again this year, but he’ll leave his bicycle at home this time, choosing instead to do The Ride’s half marathon.
This is the inaugural year for the half marathon as well as the 5k run/walk. He’s been training with two co-workers and will be running to honor his grandmothers, who died from cancer, as well as the patients he has treated since becoming a Nursing Assistant in 2018 while pursuing his UW Accelerated Bachelor of Science in nursing.
“The best part of my job is really getting to know the people I’m taking care of. They’re incredibly grateful. My wife, Carissa, is a nurse as well. When I talked to her about getting into nursing she said, ‘You’ll have days that are not all that great, but a lot of times you encounter patients that ‘fill your bucket.’ Those are the ones who keep you going as a nurse.’ We’re with patients every day as they’re going through the depths of their disease, and we see some of them come out on the other side and go on to live great lives afterward. Unfortunately, many people we treat and get to know as staff members don’t make it. This is a good way for me and my fellow staff members to honor their memory,” Todaro says.
The Ride also gives Todaro hope because he knows the positive impact research funded through this event can have. “I directly see the impact of research on the patient we see here. One patient population that comes to mind is CAR-T therapy patients. CAR-T therapy is a fairly new type of treatment that uses your reengineered T-cells to specifically target a patient’s cancer. It’s cutting-edge stuff that has been made possible by funding for research. I’m really happy we have The Ride, a mechanism that supplies that type of funding, and that I get to see firsthand the impact of that funding.
“The Ride is a great example of the Wisconsin Idea. It takes place in our own backyard, and the money stays in our backyard, but it will benefit patients across the state and beyond. It’s one the main attractions of The Ride for an alum like me.”
The Ride has powered over $1.3M since 2016 through the support and foundation of its participants. For more information on how to walk, run, bike or volunteer at The Ride, visit badgerchallenge.org.