Hey All! A bit of a long one today! I just kind of started writing this morning and it ended up being long!
In just three short days I will be riding my bicycle from Vancouver BC to Seattle WA in support of the BC Cancer Foundation. I can't wait! Thank you to all my readers and to all the people who took the time to read my web page about the ride! (www.conquercancer.ca/goto/eamonnc)
The week leading up to the ride is so much fun. Training has been completed for a few days now, and on things like twitter (#rtcc) things are popping up all over the place! I have been able to see pictures of the ride in Ontario, this week will be BC, and soon enough Quebec and Alberta will be following. Four awesome rides to conquer cancer!
It is an emotional week for sure. I used cycling as a way to get back into shape after chemo/surgery/radiation, and as a vessel to give back to the people that helped me so much, and continue to monitor me and my health. Most importantly, they continue to help people diagnosed with cancer. Help them fight back.
One of the most interesting (for lack of a better word) parts of the ride is the "cheer stations" along the ride route. These are a few designated areas where people can gather and meet up to cheer on the riders (although there are people in spots all over the ride, it is so awesome to see just random people at the end of their driveways in the middle of farmland Washington out cheering us on!). Last year, I saw a kid with a sign that just said "Thanks! Heading to my last chemo". I nearly had to stop and break down. It was a really hard moment. I know what that kid is going through, I know the excitement of being "done" chemo and everything that comes after it. I don't know what it is to be that little and go through something like that. Tough kid, tough parents for sure. It is a painful reminder of how far we still have to go. 2 in 5 Canadians are diagnosed with cancer, and 1 in 4 die. I read recently it is the number one killer in every province in Canada now. Terrifying to know how close I was to the edge. To take a quote from Sara recently, "These aren't just numbers, these are people. Wives, Husbands, children, parents, friends brothers, sisters."
The total ride distance, 240 km, seems like a long way to go, but it is nothing compared to how far we still have to go in our fight against cancer. When people ask me about the distance, I say it is essentially nothing and I get funny looks a lot of the time. I train, I prepare. You can't do either for a cancer diagnosis. I can take breaks, I can rest, I can re-energize. Things I couldn't do when I had cancer. This distance and the obstacles that come with it are so minor compared to what I went through with cancer. A flat tire in the rain sucks for sure, but I can certainly put it into perspective. I can laugh about how my knees are stiff, my butt is sore, and so are my shoulders. But they will be fine in a few days. I know that. The people in the event are amazing. So helpful, and more importantly so positive in what can only be described as a happy, optimistic yet very somber event. Every person their has been affected by cancer, but they are still smiling. So many stories. We will beat this one day I am confident. So is everyone else.
I am in a very fortunate position. No matter what happens, I have had the last 18 months cancer free, and have been able to get on my bike (some people tell me too soon, but if I didn't I drive myself as hard, I probably would only be doing the ride for the first time this year...). I can do this event, and I will continue to, as long as I am healthy enough to do so. One thing cancer survivors know is how quickly things can change, and I respect that. But nothing will take away my desire to "help out". I am "healthy" outside of the nagging side effects that come along with cancer, but at the end of the day, I know many cancer patients are not as fortunate. Too many people have heard the word "incurable". I will continue to ride for them.
My efforts are for everyone who had to fight, those who are, those who will fight in the future, and those who can't fight anymore.
So thanks again for your support everyone. Together, with our combined efforts we can beat this. We are all in this together,
PS I will put up pictures I take from the event as it goes along and post them up next week. They will be great! So no blog Sunday, but shortly after it will be up!