Tribute to Arnav: Andrew Harris, Head Coach

Updated: Jun 16, 2019

It is a real honor to stand before you tonight at the VPCC and tell you about our dear friend Arnav Krishna.


Arnav joined the Edge Cycling Family as a fledgling twelve- year old junior cyclist, at the stage of physical development where his knees were the largest part of his leg.  He literally, was skinnier than his bike.  I wondered how he would even get the pedals around.  But boy did he.  With uncommon desire, a thirst for learning, and a relentless drive for excellence-Arnav quickly rose through the junior ranks.  In 2016, right here in Trexlertown, Arnav rode his first national championships.  Arnav rode strongly through the competition but complained of constant pain surrounding his left knee.  After nationals the pain persisted and worsened.  What we thought was a mild muscle strain, was much more.  Arnav was diagnosed with a rare form of aggressive bone cancer called Osteosarcoma that strikes about 400 teenagers per year.  


After months of un-relenting chemotherapy treatments and multiple surgeries.  Arnav was cancer free.  During this most difficult period Arnav developed his mantra “Relentless Positivity” to help keep him positive and looking forward


More than anything, Arnav loved riding and racing his bike.  He dreamed of one day being an Olympian.  During his recovery, He set his goals on making his return to racing at the 2018 Junior National Championships as they made their return to Trexlertown.   Arnav’s doctors advised against any mass start events which would increase the chance of a crash, since he was still weakened by nearly two years on ongoing treatments and surgeries.  We decided Arnav would make his comeback by riding the one- kilometer time trial, an individual event raced against the clock.


For those not familiar with the kilo, it is known as the most painful event in cycling and maybe in all of sport. It requires a maximal effort of around 1 minute, resulting in a crippling rise in intra-muscular acidity that results in discomfort that can best be described as if someone were repeatedly driving knives into your legs and buttocks.


2018 was the year of the Kilometer.  In November, Matt Glaetzer of Australia became the first rider to ever go under one- minute flat with a time of 59.97.  At the world Championships in March Jeffrey Hoogland reset the mark at 59.45.   But for those who were here in Trexlertown on July 11, 2018 witnessed what I will forever consider the greatest, most courageous kilo of all time. 


From a standing start, Arnav Krishna hurled himself around the concrete crater for three laps, pedal stroke after pedal stroke.  After his finish, He rolled onto the warm-up circle and slumped over his handlebars from exhaustion.  I approached Arnav and began to help him off his bike.  He said to me “THAT REALLY HURT”.  I said to him, I know.  But I didn’t know at all.   What we didn’t know is the pain that Arnav spoke of was what his Oncologist later described was pain twenty times greater than pain that any of us have experienced.  What we didn’t know was that the cancer had returned, and with a renewed vengeance.  Arnav now had tumors aggressively attacking him in 7 different locations. With the integrity of his bone compromised by the tumors, bone was literally fracturing with each, and every pedal stroke.  Yet Arnav rode on and on.  One painful, courageous push on the pedal after push on the pedal.   Gaining speed with each stroke.  He rode on courageously and miraculously to the finish.  ABSOLUTELY RELENTLESS.  NOBODY rode like Arnav that day.


Six months ago- today, Arnav lost his physical battle with Osteosarcoma.  (2 1/2 years after the battle begun).  When I had originally learned of his diagnosis in 2016, I addressed his Edge Cycling teammates to inform them of Arnav’s condition.   I told them that Osteosarcoma had picked the WRONG GUY when it picked Arnav Krishna.  And it did.

While Arnav has passed on to a greater place.  His remarkable way of living with Relentlessness Positivity will forever stay with us.


Osteosarcoma you DID pick the wrong guy,  because when you chose Arnav -you chose a multitude of his dear friends,  you chose his teammates and classmates,  you chose his parents Nitin and Sunita, and you chose his equally courageous twin brother Dhruv, who stands next to me right here.  And now that you, our cycling family, fans, and the community here at the VPCC know a little about Arnav,-- Osteosarcoma, you chose them too. 


Cancer is the number 1 disease killer of children. Most cancer research funding comes from the National Cancer Institute at the tune of about 170 million per year.  Most of this goes towards laboratory research.  The funding for clinical trials for pediatric cancer has declined each, and every year since 2003.  Last year a paltry $100,000 dollars went to osteosarcoma research. I would dare say there is a single automobile here in the parking lot tonight that cost that much.  We can make the difference.


We are going to continue Arnav’s battle, let's show Osteosarcoma it did indeed, choose the wrong guy.  Arnavs brave brother Dhruv has begun a foundation called Team Arnav, it’s mission is “dedicated to building a community of support for those in need and working to raise awareness and funds to continue the fight against sarcoma cancers. Every dollar that is raised will go directly to sarcoma cancer research and treatment. Please join us in the fight to end sarcoma cancer”


To find ways to help go to arnavstrong.com


Let’s go toe to toe with this childhood killer and put an end to this terrible disease and let do it with RELENTLESS POSITIVITY, just the way Arnav would have done it.


- Andrew Harris

(Director & Head Coach - Edge Cycling)




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