Carl Hubbard was a father, mechanic by trade, volunteer firefighter in Guilford and Stacey Hubbard’s husband.
“He was truly a fighter,” Stacey said, “my hero, he never complained at all. He fought to the bitter end.”
Carl’s cancer diagnosis in December 2011 came as a complete shock to his family.
“It was a week before Christmas,” Stacey said, “he collapsed at a family party and we thought it was his heart until the next day we found out his body was ravaged with cancer.”
After seven months of treatment and care at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, Carl passed away four years ago this week. He was 40-years-old.
“We spent 115 days here at the hospital,” Stacey said, “and they became our family.”
Stacey is in her fourth year keeping her husband’s memory alive as the captain of Carl’s Crusaders, currently the top fundraising team in the 2016 Closer to Free Ride.
“Go big or go home,” Stacey said, “as my brother-in-law says.”
In three years Carl’s Crusaders has raised more than $229 thousand for patient care and the search for a cure. This year Stacey said the team’s goal is to reach $100 thousand.
Team members include Guilford firefighters like Rich Johnson, who knew Carl for more than 20 years.
“I’m happy to put in that time to help raise some funds and support the people that need it,” Johnson said.
Cancer survivor Ryan Walton is in his second year riding with Carl’s Crusaders.
“I had just gotten out of the hospital,” he said, “looking for something to do, and get into as a positive work out and get back in shape.”
Emergency surgery at Smilow in November 2014 saved his life.
“I realized how fortunate I was that I’d be leaving the 15th floor and some people might not,” Walton said.
This year 14-year-old Cameron Hubbard will ride for the first time in honor of his father.
“I know my husband couldn’t be prouder of him right now,” Stacey said.
NBC Connecticut is a proud sponsor of the Closer to Free Ride on September 10th. You can still register here.