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.
Of course, I ride for my dad. That's a given. This year I ride for my Man Up To Cancer friends. I ride in memory of Vicky, Elvis, Tom, and others who have fought so courageously. 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 have shown me what courage looks like, Carl, Donna, Melanie, Bill, Lacey, Sharon, Teenia, Kara, Steve's dad Barney, and the so many others. Sadly, I ride for Bob Koch, Cindy Mathis and Gary Bledsoe. The world lost these three amazing people this year, and my heart aches every time I think of them.
This year, I also ride for me.
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!