Bridging Rivalries

Julie and Bill Rogers inspire hope as members of the Taussig Cyclotrons.

A cyclotron is a machine capable of accelerating small particles to high energies. The same kind of high energy that would be necessary to make Pittsburgh Steelers fans Bill and Julie Rogers of Knox, Pennsylvania, sing the praises of Cleveland.

They’ve been riding for Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cyclotrons team in VeloSano Bike to Cure for the past five years, a journey that began when Bill was diagnosed with cancer in 2016. 

His local physician presented several top-notch options for specialized care. Through prayer and much consideration, Bill and Julie decided on Cleveland Clinic, despite never having been to Cleveland. 

During a treatment session, Bill looked out the window and saw hundreds of cyclists riding past Taussig Cancer Center. An avid cyclist himself, he asked what was happening. A nurse told him about VeloSano Bike to Cure, Cleveland Clinic’s annual fundraiser for cancer research. Despite the uncertainty surrounding his prognosis at the time, Bill made a vow that someday he, too, would ride past the very building where he was being treated. Before he left that day, a nurse was able to find a VeloSano jersey for Bill, further igniting his desire to fulfill his goal. 

In 2019, with a bone marrow transplant and several other challenges in the rearview mirror, Bill and Julie rode in their very first Bike to Cure weekend. They celebrated the accomplishment by taking a photo of Bill holding up his bicycle on Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, signifying his personal triumph over adversity.

“We were just overwhelmed by how uplifting and encouraging it is to be there among everybody,” Bill recalls. “One of the things that makes it so special each year is seeing my caregivers at the event. We hold them in such high regard and such high esteem, and here they are participating with us just like everybody else, riding, volunteering and fundraising for a cure.” 

Bill and Julie have raised more than $10,000 for cancer research. They also built their own fundraising website so that everyone in their small town could learn about VeloSano and Cleveland Clinic. 

“Fundraising for VeloSano and riding in Bike to Cure is a very fun time, yet when it’s time to be serious, Cleveland Clinic is really serious about finding a cure,” Bill says. “When you’re there, you can just feel hope that everybody has a chance. And that’s the biggest thing — just the way people treat you. It just gives us hope.” 

Bill and Julie never expected to fall in love with Cleveland, but they’re committed to giving back to the place that has given them so much. “We’ve grown to love Cleveland and all the people,” Bill says. “You know how hard this has been because we’re Steelers fans.”