In some way, each one of us is affected by cancer. Whether it be a family member, a friend, or a personal battle, I can almost guarantee that if you were to approach any Joe Schmo on the street, and asked him or her if they knew anyone who has lost their life to cancer, or who are currently battling the disease, I bet their answer would be yes. In a way, this connects us all. We all know that feeling of panic when we hear the C word. It’s debilitating. It’s scary. And often times, we don’t know what to say. Or more importantly, what to do.
This past Sunday, I had the privilege and honor to take part in an event that’s doing something about it. From 8am until 12 noon, I rode alongside approximately 400 other people who have been affected in some way. People were riding for their spouses, their aunts, their uncles, their grandparents, or their best friends. They were riding for someone that they’ve lost, for someone currently going through treatment, or for someone who beat the damn thing. The energy in the room was unparalleled. It filled my heart up in a way that I didn’t know was possible. It filled me up with hope.
“Rare cancer patients make up about half of all people fighting cancer, but they often have limited or no treatment options because rare cancer research is drastically underfunded. Cycle for Survival raised $34 million in 2017 — more than $169 million in a decade. Every single dollar is directly allocated to rare cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center within six months of the events.”
This year, the event has raised $28 million already…and it’s not over yet. Throughout our club’s event day, we heard from Doctors of Pediatric cancer patients, who ride for them. We heard from survivors who won the battle against their disease because of the research that C4S was able to provide. We heard from patients who told us that the best thing we can give to someone who is fighting, is hope.
I wanted to thank all of my friends and family members who directly donated to my fundraising page. Our little team alone — The Too Early For You Crew — raised over $10,000 just the 18 of us, plus all of our incredible donors. You guys made the difference. Thank you.
One of the questions we were asked when we arrived on Sunday morning was, “Why Do You Ride?” And while I ride for those that I have lost directly, and for those who are currently battling, I wrote on my instagram page a more thought-out response:
I ride for those who can’t. I ride because I know that health is a luxury, not a guarantee. Because when that alarm goes off at 4:30am, I don’t look at it as a chore; I look at it as an opportunity that some people aren’t afforded; an opportunity that some people have had taken away. And as long as I have two strong legs and one able body, I won’t take for granted the hills that they will take me over. Every day is a gift…I ride for that.
Perspective is a hell of a thing. One of the gals that spoke — a Rare Cancer Survivor — said this, and it really hit home, “I always thought that Cancer couldn’t touch me. That it was just something that happened to other people. But boy, was I was wrong.” I think a lot of us share this sentiment, and so I urge everyone to do something; to join the battle. To give money, time, or even just hope to those who need it the most. And to never take for granted the healthy days that we’re given.
It was especially inspiring to ride alongside my friend, Julie, who works tirelessly each day as an Oncology Nurse. Love you to the moon, Ju! Thank you for everything that you do!