Why would I do this crazy thing again?
I ride because I am lucky enough to be able to.
I ride for all of the moms who lost their hair and their limbs and their lives, never getting the chance to watch their children grow up.
I ride for the little girls who will never know a celebration untainted by the ever present specter of emptiness just off to one side. They are the same ones who will grow up to be strong women who can’t help but whisper when they are sure that no one is listening “I just wish you were here.”
I ride for every call I get from a friend saying that they or their spouse or their parent or their child or their friend just received that most devastating diagnosis, and I have no choice but to answer that we are working so hard and we are so close, but maybe not quite close enough for them.
I also ride for the days when I can answer just as truthfully “Yes, ask your oncologist about this, this might help.”
I ride for the vibrant, clever, fierce, five year survivor who sat next to me at a DOD grant review panel who was alive and well with stage IV NSCLC because his tumor had a mutation that we had discovered in tumors like his a decade earlier. A mutation that told his doctors that he might respond to a new drug. A drug that promised him more good years to come.
I ride for the days in the lab when a grad student comes in with that bright, glassy, wide-eyed look, their hands shaking just a tiny bit, and quietly says “it worked.”
I ride for the ones who wear their survivor mantles like invisible suits of armor and fiercely hug their children and grandchildren just a tiny bit longer, because they can. You know who you are. And I am so grateful to have each of you in my life.
I ride because there is more to do, and I can’t stand still.
If you’re reading this, you likely know my story, or at least parts of it. It’s a story with a lot of tears, and a lot of joy, and a lot of love. It’s a story that will now have a very small chapter in it entitled “that time I rode my bike 500+ miles from NYC to Niagara Falls again, just because I am lucky enough to be able to do so.”
If you don’t know my story, please don't hesitate to ask. And if you have the means, please give. It really does make a difference. Roswell Park uses these funds carefully and judiciously and with patients at the center of all of our efforts. Every ESR is dedicated to my mom - who I loved and lost 39 years ago and still miss every day. But I also ride for all of you. You all lift me up and help me keep going.
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