Krista Watson’s son Virgil is a cancer survivor.
"He’s now two and a half, beautiful and healthy and out of treatment now for over a year," Watson said.
Doctors at the Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven diagnosed Virgil with neuroblastoma when he was only three months old.
"There were some changes with his eye that we noticed so we brought him to the pediatrician who sent us here to the emergency room," Watson said.
Virgil underwent chemotherapy and surgery to remove his tumor.
"We can’t say enough about the wonderful doctors and nurses here at Smilow," Watson said.
Watson is a Learning Manager at Bank of America, the presenting sponsor for Closer to Free for the fourth year in a row.
"I have close relatives who’ve battled the illness, some with us, some not with us," Claudio Goncalvez, one of the 30 riders on Team Bank of America, said.
Goncalvez said he will be thinking about his dad when he pedals for 62.5 miles on Saturday.
"My father right now, it’s been about a year and a half," he said. "He’s had an illness that’s related to cancer so he’s been seeking treatment for that."
With her pin for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, Watson is looking forward to helping out with registration and bike parking at the Yale Bowl.
“We felt it was very important to give back to the organization that supported him through his illness," she said.
Watson has a vivid memory from volunteering at the 2016 Closer to Free ride.
"One of the things that touched me the most was a father son team and the son was wearing a survivor badge," she said. "I saw that and thought of what are family might look like in a few years."
A record number of more than 1,700 people have signed up for Closer to Free. NBC Connecticut is a proud media sponsor.
First Meteorologist Bob Maxon will have live coverage of ride day starting at 5:30 a.m. on NBC Connecticut.
Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut