I was asked today by my Ride for LIVESTRONG - Big Apple 2011 Team Captain to tell my story.
Some riders have one story that inspires them to ride. For some, that story is their own story of survivorship and fighting cancer one-on-one. I am neither of those riders.
I ride for those who can't. I've never had cancer. But I've seen & felt the aftermath it leaves behind, and I've witnessed the amazing and truly awesome triumph it gives those who have been victorious.
Last year, I rode the NYC Century Tour because I was so inspired by my mentor's, Darlene Berggren, first victory over cancer and her second battle, which I was sure she would have won. Sadly, only days after the NYC Century Tour, she lost her fight.
I rode the LIVESTRONG Philadelphia Challenge in celebration of my friend's, Ryan Weiss, clean bill of health after fighting a brain tumor and release from the hospital only days before the Challenge. In less than three months later, the tumor sought revenge, its guerrilla tactics took us all by surprise, and took Ryan before many of us had a chance to say goodbye.
I was riding the LIVESTRONG Austin Challenge to honor my closest friend's father, who was in the process of officially being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was in Austin, working as a volunteer to get swag bags ready for the LIVESTRONG Challenges starting the following day when I got the call. While the labwork was being completed on the biopsy sample, and only days before my friend was flying out to Israel to see his father for the first time in years, his father had succumbed to the disease.
This year, I ride for those families who are still reeling from the sting of losing their loved ones unexpectedly. I ride because there is nothing else that I can do to soothe their pain. I've learned that for many, knowing that someone else feels the same injustice and is taking some form of action in their loved one's name, and telling their stories of loss and inspiration, and making sure their loved ones' names are not forgotten, can help them grieve and find a new path towards living their lives.
To contribute towards my TD Bank 5-Boro Tour Ride as a member of Team LIVESTRONG, or to join the team, please go to my Personal Page on LIVESTRONG.org.