Many of you know PMCer Jothy Rosenberg. And those who don’t know him personally, you’ve seen him along the Sturbridge to Provincetown route the last seven years.
He stands out among the sea of matching PMC cycling jerseys. Rosenberg lost his leg to cancer as a teenager and today he rides with one leg on a bike specially-designed with one pedal.
You notice Rosenberg as he passes you, offering you kind words of encouragement through long stretches between water stops, the challenging hills or the dunes. You thank him and nod and then you notice – this guy is riding past me with one leg.
You pedal faster and push harder to try to catch up with him.
Oh, and he only has one lung too.
Rosenberg has seen it happen many times over the years, and he laughs.
The Pan-Mass Challenge is one piece of Rosenberg’s amazing journey as an amputee turned extreme athlete, which he chronicles in his new book, Who Says I Can’t.
The PMC hosts a launch party for Who Says I Can’t on Dec. 16 at 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the PMC headquarters, 77 Fourth Ave., Needham. Meet Rosenberg and purchase an autographed copy of the book (limited numbers copies). The book can also be pre-ordered online. Event is free and open to everyone.
Here’s more about Rosenberg’s personal story:
Who Says I Can’t (mass distribution date February 1, 2010 but available for sale) is Rosenberg’s memoir, the inspiring story of his incredible desire to surpass countless mental and physical challenges, from getting his PhD in five years to being offered a job as the first-ever professional amputee ski instructor. The book reminds readers that while everyone has something that could hold them back from setting and reaching high goals, it is possible, even necessary, to achieve in the face of adversity.
Rosenberg, now 53, was only 16 when a diagnosis of osteogenic sarcoma required the amputation of his right leg just five inches below his hip. A mere three years later, the cancer had returned, metastasizing and spreading to his lungs. This time, it was 2/5 of his left lung that had to be removed. His doctors told him that he had zero chance of survival. Taking the experts at their word, Rosenberg thought if he was going to die, he’d do it while skiing. So, he quit college and drove to Alta, UT, where he skied for 100 days straight. When the snow melted and he was still alive, he devised a plan for living instead of dying.
That was 33 years ago. Rosenberg defeated the odds and beat the cancer, just one example of the perseverance that has come to define him. Ever since the day of his second surgery, when his doctors essentially handed him a death sentence, Rosenberg has been determined to beat the odds and not just survive, but truly live. He strives to be the best in everything he does, never just “pretty good, considering…”
In the years since beating cancer, Rosenberg has accomplished many incredible feats of endurance and strength, completing challenges that would seem insurmountable to those even with two good legs and a full set of lungs. Who Says I Can’t recounts the numerous seemingly impossible achievements Rosenberg has accomplished; from founding six start-up tech companies, to riding in the 192-mile, two-day Pan-Massachusetts Challenge seven times, to completing the annual swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco a whopping 16 times, to being a double black-diamond skier, each of Rosenberg’s accomplishments is more amazing and inspiring than the last. He teaches us to appreciate what we have, use it well and we just might be surprised at what we can do when we focus and push ourselves as he has.
Why Says I Can’t Book Launch Event
Wednesday, Dec. 16 from 5 p .m. to 8 p.m.
Pan-Mass Challenge Headquarters
77 Fourth Ave., Needham Mass.