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Riding for his dad: 23-mile rider dedicated to helping find a cure

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Mark Kassouf is riding in LOWVELO24 to honor his father, John.
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John Kassouf reading his favorite book, The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss to his granddaughter, Charlotte.

After losing his father, John, to prostate cancer, Mark Kassouf wants to continue fighting for a cure so that other families won’t have to experience what he has in the last year. In this Q&A, he shares why LOWVELO is so important to him.

Tell us why you’re riding in LOWVELO.

I ride in memory of my father, John Kassouf. In 2022, during a trip to Greece with my mother, my father experienced medical complications on the flight. He was hospitalized for his entire time in Greece, and it was during this time that scans revealed concerning spots. Upon returning to the States, he received the devastating diagnosis of Stage 4 prostate cancer and began his courageous battle against the disease.

Despite undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, the cancer spread to his brain. He endured further complications, including fluid buildup in his lungs, and underwent various procedures to manage his symptoms. Despite his valiant fight, my father ultimately succumbed to cancer on Nov. 22, 2023.

As I embark on my third year participating in LOWVELO, I do so to honor my father’s memory – a man who continues to inspire me with his strength, love, and dedication to family and my faith.

Can you tell us about the kind of guy your dad was?

My dad has always been my inspiration on how to be a father and husband. As a father of three wonderful men, their amazing wives and grandfather to three awesome kids, he is still an inspiration every day. My parents were married for 45 years and were madly in love until the very end. Dad had a long career serving the Lord. He worked as a teacher, youth minister, and then a principal before going to seminary to become a pastor. After seminary he served as a pastor for several churches in South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

He retired to have the fight of his life with cancer while trying to enjoy each day with mom, the two puppies (Oreo and Peanut), family and friends.

What route do you ride in LOWVELO? 

This year I will be doing the 23-mile route. Last year I did the 20-mile Island ride and the year before I did the 10-mile Island ride. 

Kassouf completes the 20-mile ride in LOWVELO23.

Why do you think the mission of LOWVELO is so important?

Supporting cancer research is crucial in finding a cure. It is an honor to help in the battle against this disease.

What is your favorite part about riding in LOWVELO?

Knowing that I’m making a difference in the fight against cancer!

What would you tell someone who has never taken part in LOWVELO about the experience?

The experience is wonderful and empowering but can be emotional. We get through it together.

Complete this sentence “I ride in LOWVELO….”

To help find a cure for this terrible disease and hopefully help other families not have to go through what my family has been through the past year. 

 

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