Edible Pedal founder battles Leukemia with support from restaurant community

For years, John Boyer has advocated for using bicycles for work transportation, leading by example as he launched a one-man food delivery operation that grew into Edible Pedal.

Beloved for his soft-spoken demeanor, Boyer was known to cyclists, restaurant folks and farmers as a dreamer who made things happen.

So many were saddened to learn recently that Boyer received a daunting diagnosis – Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, or CML – which raised his white blood cell count to alarmingly high levels. A persistent cough sent Boyer, 57, to his doctor, and when his doctor saw the test results, he called and told Boyer to go to the emergency room immediately.

The good news was that Boyer got medical attention in time and the prognosis for a recovery is a good one. But there is plenty of bad news, too.

“The costs are unbelievable. The drugs are $15,000 a month and just a week’s stay in the hospital is $85,000,” said Boyer, who has health coverage through his wife, but it only covers a portion of his bills.

When word spread through social media that Boyer was not only sick but saddled with serious medical bills, restaurant owners stepped up with offers to help. First up is a fundraiser at Hot Italian in midtown on Sunday, Feb. 7.

“We’re trying to do a series of fundraisers. We all talked about what we could do for him and we just said let’s do whatever he needs,” said Hot Italian co-owner Andrea Lepore.

The first effort is a simple one. It’s Super Bowl Sunday and plenty of folks will be ordering pizza. Anyone who orders bike delivery (in a radius of two miles) will see 100 percent of net proceeds go to Boyer’s medical bills.

To order, call 916-444-3000. If you order through one of the third-party delivery services, it doesn’t qualify for the fundraiser.

Says Lepore: “John really was the first one who approached us when we opened about starting a bicycle delivery service. He’s married to an Italian and he wanted to bring that culture here. He’s always so positive and has such a great outlook on people and food. It was a natural fit for us.”

Boyer, who ran a bike shop and delivery service out of a midtown alley, recently sold the business to his mechanic. But he has maintained the bicycle delivery component and plans to rejuvenate it once he is back to full strength.

For now, he is working one day a week at the new Edible Pedal in West Sacramento (328 Third St.).

“The drugs were really tough on me the first couple of weeks, but I’m starting to get back on my feet again,” he said.

Referring to the public outpouring in the restaurant and cycling communities, Boyer said Friday, “I’ve just been floored. I’ve been speechless. I never saw that coming.”

Blair Anthony Robertson: 916-321-1099, @Blarob