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* Nick Loran Nick Loran

Nick Loran will ride from Melbourne to Cairns, Australia, to raise funds for prostate cancer through Athletes for a Cure.

Riding for a Cure

Nick Loran, a native of Calgary, Canada, is looking forward to graduation in May 2012. With just a few more credits to go, the senior majoring in mechanical engineering decided to spend his final semester in a study abroad program at Victoria University in Australia. Beyond starting classes, meeting new peers, and exploring a new geographical area and culture, Loran soon realized that he wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.

“I woke up in Australia, and realized that I haven’t done very much in my life for anyone but myself,” said Loran. “My priorities were far from what they should have been, and I had sunk into a selfish form of entitlement bordering on narcissism. Realizing that I am about to venture into the real world, it dawned on me that I had no idea who I really was, what I stood for, and what was important to me. It was time to test myself, find out a bit about my values and the strength of them. I had to ask myself, how far am I willing to go for something that has no ulterior motive or personal gains, but is right and needs attention anyway?”

From Nov. 22 to Dec. 24, Loran and a crew of friends will ride from Melbourne to Cairns, roughly 1,800 miles, to raise funds for Athletes for a Cure (AFAC), a program of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Loran will also be accompanied by his grandmother, Colleen O’Brien, a retired art teacher and “adventurous spirit,” who will be driving the group’s van filled with friends, camping gear, and spare tires. The winding route for the bike ride will take the group along the eastern coast of Australia through Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Townsville, and many other sites along the way. 

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer, affecting one in six men, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. In 2011, more than 240,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and more than 33,000 men will die from the disease. It is estimated that there are more than 2 million American men currently living with prostate cancer.

No stranger to the world of sports, Loran comes from a family of avid sports and aviation enthusiasts. For the last few months, he has been training for several hours a day in between classes. At Rensselaer, Loran served as president for the RPI Ski & Snowboard Club, and also played on the Rugby team. He enjoys playing hockey, golf, and football. His father, hockey standout Neil Little ’94, was inducted into the Rensselaer Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.

Loran hopes to raise $10,000 to support the foundation. AFAC is a new fundraising and awareness program to assist individual athletes in their quest to raise money for better treatments and a cure for prostate cancer. Funds raised support research, implement the newest technologies, and help connect men and their families around the world to the latest treatments and information.

For more information, and to view photos, video, or to donate, visit Loran’s blog at

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 18, November 18, 2011
©2011 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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