University of Rochester Med Student from West Seneca Will Ride Across America to Support Lung Association

Cara Hall Will Cycle 3,300 miles as part of Big Ride Across America June 17- August 8

Cara Hall of West Seneca, a first-year student at the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, is taking advantage of her last free summer before her medical rotations begin by taking part in a cycling event like no other- the Big Ride Across America to benefit the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific.   The Big Ride takes participants on a 3,300 mile journey over the course of seven weeks with riders making their way from Seattle to Washington, DC. All funds raised by the Big Ride benefit the Lung Association’s mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.  It’s a mission that Hall strongly supports.  

Cara Hall photoHall first learned about the Ride from another U of R medical student, Benjamin Coconougher, who had done the ride in 2012 and began a research project on that journey which studied the development of asthma-like symptoms in fellow cyclists.  Hall will be continuing this research by periodically measuring riders’ lung function with spirometry during the course of the ride.  Spirometry is a common test of lung function used by physicians in which test subjects breathe into a device called a spirometer. The test is used to assess conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

She’ll also be taking it a step further by looking at air quality measurements to see what kind of correlation there is between pollution levels and the development of asthma-like symptoms.  The ultimate goal of the research is to find mechanisms that will improve the health performance and well-being of athletes.

“When I heard about this project and found out that the ride was for the American Lung Association,  I knew I had to do it, “  says Hall. “ The work the Lung Association does is very personal for me. I suffered from asthma as a child and can recall the many nights my mother stayed up with me while I was taking my nebulizer just so that I could breathe well enough to sleep.   I am also riding in memory of my mother’s fiancée’s father, Jim Nosbisch, who passed away from lung cancer in 2011. Lung disease touches so many of us and , for me, this ride is not just an opportunity to help further research that can find better treatments and cures for diseases like asthma and lung cancer, but raise awareness about the importance of clean air and doing everything you can to keep your lungs healthy.”


Hall also stresses that she sees the ride as an opportunity to challenge herself physically and mentally while learning more about herself in the process.  She believes that the ride will help further hone her ability to deal with hardship and unexpected challenges – skills that will be crucial in her medical career.    She explains that just as the pursuit of a career in medicine requires perseverance, commitment and true devotion, so does taking on the task of cycling across the country. 

“I started indoor cycling about four years ago and have been a spinning instructor for over two years now,”   says Hall. “I also currently teach weekly bootcamp classes and love the opportunity to show others that fitness can be fun and rewarding. While I challenge others in the gym several times a week through my workouts, this ride is an opportunity to test my own limits.”

The Big Ride will depart from Seattle on June 17 and arrive in Washington, D.C. on August 3. Participants will travel an average of 83 miles per day through a total of 12 states and the District of Columbia.

The American Lung Association’s Big Ride Across America cycling event is hosted by the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific.  Participants come from all walks of life, including students, teachers, retirees, executives, and those who just want to experience the ride of a lifetime.  Registration for the event is open on the event’s website at bigride.org
 
“I am looking forward to the Big Ride,” adds Hall.  “Not only am I strong supporter of the Lung Association’s mission, I am a big fan of the organization’s events.  It’s apparent that the Lung Association goes above and beyond to make their fundraising events unique, challenging and fun for participants.  It’s not just about raising money, it’s about having a good time while you do it.”

To support Cara Hall in the Big Ride Across America, visit her personal webpage at  action.lung.org/goto/CaraHall.

For a great cycling experience closer to home, the American Lung Association of the Northeast offers three exciting options.   Its annual 3-day, 180-mile Trek Across Maine is this Father’s Day Weekend, June 16-18; its annual Cycle the Seacoast ride in Portsmouth is on May 5, with 25, 50 and 100–mile route options; and the Autumn Escape Bike Trek presented by Sunovion is being held September 27-29. To learn more about the American Lung Association of the Northeast’s local cycling events, or to register, visit biketreknewengland.com