Immune to Cancer: The CRI Blog



CRI Fundraiser Eric Pond has a Passion for Racing and Cancer Immunotherapy Research

CRI fundraisers take a variety of routes to raise money for cancer immunotherapy research. Some help raise money during marathons, others organize tailgate and golf outings. Ultimately, the sky is the limit, and a fundraiser can be catered towards anyone’s interests. 

Montana-based Eric Pond has a unique passion that he implemented in his fundraising efforts: off-road racing. To date, Eric has raised over $11,000 through Vigilante Racing and Queen City Off Road of East Helena, MT. Eric is also a cancer survivor, and used his passion for racing to help raise money for a cause that is near and dear to him. 

Want to do something big for cancer immunotherapy research? Make a donation today to the Cancer Research Institute. 

Who are You? 

My name is Eric Pond, and I am a retired entrepreneur and off road racer. It was just a week before I was to begin an 18-month sabbatical and spend my time traveling up and down I15 attending multiple off-road races in a variety of capacities until I found out I had cancer.  I had plans to compete in some races, pit crew for friends in other races, and spectate a few.   

Image courtesy of Eric Pond.

My sabbatical came to a screeching halt, and I picked up a new job title, ‘Cancer Warrior.’ 

After two major surgeries and completing three months of radiation to clean up the remaining tumors, I finally was ready to put a ‘one’ in the win column. It was time to celebrate. 

I got right back in the race truck and competed in the Mint 400 in Las Vegas, where we proudly took second place in our class. We managed to do a couple other races in which we picked up another podium and finished strong in a couple others. Needless to say, it was a great seven months racing as much as possible as a cancer-free warrior. In the blink of an eye, it all changed with a failed routine bloodwork. The cancer returned and it was angry and aggressive. There was some good news to this, there was no more cancer in my pelvis. The bad news was, it had metastasized and migrated to my abdomen. 

After several visits to hospitals and clinics, we determined the Utah Cancer Specialists would handle the radiation, luckily only five weeks of daily treatment to my abdomen. Then the Advanced Cancer Clinic would handle the Immuno-oncology. I finished up those treatments on December 19, 2023, just in time to celebrate Christmas with my kids and granddaughter in Arizona. All through treatment I was planning on competing in the Triple Crown, an off-road race challenge put on by Unlimited Off Road Racing. 

Three weeks after treatment was the first race in Parker, Arizona. I was physically worn out and fairly fragile, and participated as much as possible and thanks to a dedicated team we pulled off a victory. What a way to celebrate living life again. 

I was confident in the treatment I received as I thoroughly did my homework and had all the faith in my doctors and oncologist. It was not official, but in my heart, I knew my first bloodwork was going to come back undetectable.  

On January 26, 2024, it became official, I was able to stab another victory flag in the next peak. I cannot wait to do race two of three knowing I am cancer free or more accurately in remission.  

Image courtesy of Eric Pond.

Why are You Raising Money for CRI? 

When my stage 4 prognosis was given to me, I immediately began researching treatment methods for metastatic cancer patients. When a patient reaches this level, there are a lot more treatments available. When I stumbled upon immunotherapy I had to read more and dig and dig into this modality.  

I love the backstory of CRI and believe in the mission and the science behind it. After scouring the website and coming across the fundraising section it took all of a nanosecond to realize I was going to use my 2024 race season to give back to the people that have given me so much. Even before treatment, I knew this was the golden ticket to becoming cancer free. What better way to raise money than putting myself out there in front of thousands of people and telling my story and letting them know who is responsible for prolonging my life. I figure it is my duty to help where and how I can to further spread the word of those that have given me so much. 

Tell Us About Your Fundraiser 

Unlimited Off Road Race Series is host to what is known as the Triple Crown: three of the most prestigious off-road races loaded with 50 plus years of history. To finish even one of these races is a win no matter where you fall in the standings. To get on the podium of one of these races is not only a lifelong dream, but a memory as well. The Parker 400 in Parker, Arizona, the Mint 400 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the California 300 in Barstow, California, are an off-road racer’s choice season to compete in. It will be a season filled with excitement, heartache, and that glorious feeling of conquering a challenge through hard work and dedication. These races draw thousands in which racers get to interact with spectators for a couple days prior to each race through a variety of pre-race festivities. We figured it would be a great platform for visiting with race fans and sharing our story to bring awareness of the effectiveness of immuno-oncology in hopes that people would consider donating to such a worthy cause. 

Anything Else You Would like to Share About Your Journey? 

I have been a competitive person all my life — from playing college hockey to racing dirt bikes and off-road trucks — doing what they say cannot be done. Battling cancer is just another one of life’s challenges in which sometimes you lose and sometimes you win. It is the desire to dust yourself off and get back on the horse and keep riding, that is what keeps people like me enjoying that feeling of summiting the next peak to take in the next sunset. 

The doctors, scientists, oncologists, and nurses prove this to me time and again how dedicated they are to being in the winner’s circle. They take as much pride in each battle victory as I do, and this is one of the biggest lessons I have learned. Have faith and through dedicated practice and an open mind there is nothing you cannot do. 

Thank you for sharing your journey and your passion for off-road racing with us, Eric. Fundraisers like you can help us create a world immune to cancer. 

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