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Prostate cancer survivor prepares for LOWVELO 2021 ride

collage of images of Doug McCracken and his dogs

When he isn’t busy working or training for LOWVELO, Doug McCracken helps rescue and rehabilitate dogs in need to prepare them for adoption.

Doug McCracken knows the toll cancer can take physically, emotionally, and mentally. A cancer survivor himself, McCracken is preparing for what has become one of his favorite days of the year – LOWVELO, particularly since 100 percent of what is raised by participants goes to support cancer research.

McCracken is president of Alliance Healthcare Services Oncology Division, which partners with MUSC Hollings Cancer Center to provide comprehensive services for the Radiation Therapy department in downtown Charleston and Mount Pleasant. He first rode in LOWVELO back in 2019. This year, he’s excited to serve on the executive committee for the event. 

“LOWVELO 2019 was really my first venture into long-distance bike riding,” McCracken said. “Since then, I’ve joined other rides and found such an incredible community that I never would have known existed without LOWVELO.”

When he first rode in 2019, McCracken’s closest encounter with cancer was with his step-father, who died of esophageal cancer. Since then, cancer has hit much closer to home – his father and his own diagnosis of prostate cancer in 2020.

“When you’re a patient and you walk through the cancer journey, you get a whole new appreciation that you wouldn’t have otherwise,” he said. “You pay a lot more attention to clear communication and getting accurate information about your diagnosis and treatment plan.”

McCracken’s diagnosis coincided with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. He admits it was a scary time because so much was uncertain. He credits an annual doctor visit and blood work for catching his cancer so early.

“I wasn’t expecting to be diagnosed with cancer. That isn’t something you prepare for, even after I had a biopsy,” he said. “I kept thinking the odds were in my favor, and they weren’t.”

McCracken took part in the virtual LOWVELO event in 2020 while undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. He said he can’t wait to get back up on his bicycle and ride in person once again for LOWVELO 2021 on November 6.

“There’s just something about that day and the energy level around LOWVELO that makes you feel good. I didn’t even think about how tired my legs were after 50 miles of riding.”

McCracken will be joined by his wife of 22 years at LOWVELO. The two are used to giving back. In their free time, they rescue and help rehabilitate animals in need to prepare them for adoption. “It’s a rewarding venture. Those animals are like our children.”

Having now survived prostate cancer, McCracken is also on a mission to give back to the cancer community and play a role in improving patient care and expanding treatment options. He knows many of those treatments wouldn’t be available today had it not been for past research funded through donations. He’s excited to play a part in raising money for Hollings and hopes to one day see cancer cured.

“This is something that impacts everyone, and it’s personal for me,” he said. “When LOWVELO rolls around, you see other riders and who they are riding for. Some are riding for their mother or father – others are riding for their kids, friends, or themselves. Everyone has a personal story. That’s why LOWVELO is so special for me.”

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