TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning recognized Richard J. Spayde as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight's game against the Buffalo Sabres. Spayed, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will contribute the money to his charity of choice, the Cure on Wheels Foundation.
As Co-founder and President of the Cure on Wheels Foundation, which raises money to help individuals and their families cope with the diagnosis of cancer through an annual bicycle race, Spayde has donated over 1,000 hours of personal community service within the Tampa Bay area. To date, the initiative has raised over $300,000 through organized cycling events held in conjunction with Moffitt Cancer Center and All Children's Hospital.
The catalyst behind Spayde's motivation to serve others comes as a direct result of battling his own personal hardships. In 2005, upon being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia at the age of 38, Spayde underwent two bone marrow transplants, eight rounds of high-dose chemotherapy and over 110 transfusions of blood platelets. Rather than lament over his illness, Spayde used the experience to educate himself about the disease and then share that knowledge with others to form his own charitable initiative, which aspires to provide Tampa Bay families with necessary services after a potentially debilitating diagnosis of cancer.
Spayed, who today is considered cancer-free, serves on both the local and national Board of Trustees for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and also chairs its Advocacy Committee. In addition, he continues to actively volunteer at Moffitt Cancer Center, where he also holds a position on the organization's Patient Advisory Council. On occasion, Spayde also serves as a reviewer for the Department of Defense and its Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.