LIFE AS A SURVIVOR
There are few words out there that more terrifying and unnerving than "you have cancer." For 30 years, I've taken those words and fought back any way I can. I've been fighting ever since I was diagnosed at 3 years old. And I must say this, cancer chose the wrong person to pick a fight with.
For the people that know me best, they've heard what my story was: 3 years of chemo, radiation, infections, and many many more years of check-ups and physicals. I can still smell the alcohol pads, feel the cold of the dark brown Betadine swirls on my chest, see the rubber tubing of the medication lines protruding from my chest. For 30 years, I've fought for a future, for tomorrow to come and shine just a little bit brighter.
I've said "Cancer does not judge. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care about age, race, color of skin, or sex. It doesn’t care about family and friends. It doesn’t care who it takes, or who is left behind. But I do. I am a cancer survivor."
I've walked and ridden hundreds of miles over the years, raising thousands of dollars through various organizations, and advocated to keep fighting against a relentless disease that definitely fights dirty.
And then 2020 came along, and well, challenged us to the core. Yet another cancer diagnosis in the family. But this time? It was mom. All the questions, the dreads, the “what if’s” came back into play. And here I was, sitting on the other side of it all, now as the caregiver. The caregiver. Knowing that this would be a lengthy process from start to finish was probably the worst feeling out of every emotion that came forward.
But the time, compassion and expertise that came from Roswell Park changed everything. The diagnosis shook us. It shook me. There's no denying that. But we’d been through this before, and we would do it again, as a family. Roswell Park slowed everything down and worked out a game plan. With the expertise of their doctors, their skillsets, the research they’ve done, the doom and gloom disintegrated to an inconvenience.
I cannot over-express the importance of this ride. It is more than just a bike ride. It saves lives. It brings us together. It provides hope. It makes a difference right here, right now.
Because of cancer, I’ve lost. I've lost way too many friends, way too many family members, way too many GOOD people. But because of my choice to fight back against cancer, I’ve gained so much too. I’ve met people with incredible and amazing stories. I’ve experienced more than I could have ever imagined. I've seen the best in the worst of times. I don't fight back against cancer for the sympathy. I fight so my battle isn't one of loss and depression, but rather of hope and courage. I fight because the effort I put in saves lives. I wouldn't be alive if someone else years ago hadn't thought the same thing.
Please help me continue to make a difference. Please help me continue to save lives.