Cancer. It’s an evil word. It can steal dreams, crush hope, and dim one’s bright shining light. It’s the demon that not only attacks the physical body, but can erode one’s mental spirit. It can bring a strong man or woman to their knees, begging God or anyone to help save them. It is a universal terror as it will even go after our children. It can make one hide and suffer in silence. It’s the demon on one’s shoulder that reminds them you can’t get rid of me that easy.
Cancer in remission, completely surgically removed, or when declared NED, no evidence of disease, has its own nasty side effects. The worry of if or when it will return and one would have to fight again.
Cancer is a body, mind and spirit attacker. It is real life hell.
I was baptized into this hell when I was a young girl and I watched my father fight brain cancer. It stole his smile, his laugh, his short term memory; he suffered terribly. When he passed, it broke his family; it broke me.
That grieving young girl has made it her mission to help as many people fighting cancer as possible. That’s one reason I ride.
This year is a bit different. I know it’s a long shot, but I would like to raise $5,000 so I can get a brick put in the garden at Roswell to remember my friend Tom. I met him when he was first diagnosed. He was courageous, brave, proud, and just the nicest guy. Even though I will never forget him, I would like to get him a brick in the garden. It means so much to me.
Of course, I ride for my dad. That’s a given. I ride for my Wings Flights of Hope passengers as well. This year I ride for my Man Up To Cancer friends too. That group is changing the world’s view on how a man deals with cancer. They are incredibly inspiring and I am proud to help them. I ride for my friends who have moved on to a far better place, Vicky, Elvis, Tom. I ride for my friend JP’s family who have seen way too much cancer, especially his brother Michael who is missed every day. I ride for my friends who are showing me what courage looks like, Michael, Don, Danny, Jay, Trevor, Carl, Donna, Melanie, Bill, Lacey, Sharon, Bob Koch, Teenia, Cindy Mathis, Kara, Steve’s dad Barney, and the so many others. Each one of those individuals, has a piece of my heart.
This year, I also ride for me. I know what the inside of Roswell looks like now. I know the fear of waiting. I know the mental battle, and I know how it changes everything. The day I signed up for the Ride For Roswell, I sat on my kitchen floor crying because I had no idea what the future had instore for me, but I had made a decision that no matter what, I would accomplish this one goal. I started training for the century ride knowing that in a few weeks I would be having surgery and everything could change, but I was determined to complete this ride. For me, by riding the century, I am taking back my normalcy. I’m showing myself that I can conquer what I put my mind to. I also am reminding myself that HOPE does exist, to never ever give up, and to keep going!