When I was 5 I was diagnosed with cancer and it fast became a new norm for us- or so I am told. Kids don’t know any better right? WRONG! All of my friends went on without me to grade 1, 2 and 3 while I was kicking cancer’s butt. There are so many things that I remember, but today as the Calgary Police escorted our entire team through the Foothills Hospital where I work and I looked up at the 5th floor, and then turning into the Alberta Children’s Hospital one thing hit me hard in the face- I was that kid that had to watch things go on without me- from the confining space of a hospital room- from the window above as people continued on with their day.
You know what though? I have learned in my 28 years of life that hero’s come in so many forms; parents, doctors, nurses, friends, amazing people who wear spandex and cycle across Canada, men like Terry Fox and the wee humans that have to endure things like cancer.
When I lived in the small bubble that was cancer I had some amazing hero’s in my corner. The night I was diagnosed dad was in Bermuda waiting for mom to come join him, my nan and papa were here from BC to care for Cody and I – talk about good bad timing. I have been told that mom and dad’s friends cared for all of us during that time. Man oh man you are all amazing hero’s and even now you all showed up today- thank you!
I don’t remember much of this time other then isolation rooms in the small back area of the ER ad the old Alberta Children’s Hospital and I swiftly kicked the nurse in the face because there was only veins in my foot. I remember that doctors and nurses became my hero’s though. Through all the “bad stuff” they had to do to make me better I idolized them!
Through the years, I met Kids Cancer Care and though them I met SO many more hero’s. Volunteers who give their TIME at community events, camp and at pizza night. Fellow campers, people like Don and Joanne and the Coach (Joanne was a volunteer one of my first cancer camps),
Today though when we woke up in Lake Louise and I walked out of the bunk truck and seeing the hustle and bustle of food being cooked, people packing up RV’s, our RV making coffee, people getting “kitted up”; putting our duds on, and dad taking care of me and taking my bike to the RV to head up to the lake to do out dedication I thought “holy frigging smokes, THESE people, every single one of them… THEY are hero’s”. Thank YOU all for taking time away from your families, your vacation time, and spending the month to help raise awareness so that kids don’t have to live my story one day.
When we arrived in Calgary after an AHHHMAZING ride, I had a text from a long time friend of mine Stu Laird. If you don’t know this man, he and I became buddies in 1997 when I was the Canadian Cancer Society’s poster child. At the time he was a was playing football with the CFL and saving lives as one of Calgary’s own firefighters. I know we were both really emotional and I think it is really special that 20 years later you are still here cheering me on! Thank you to University district for coming with the truck to ACH.
A little then and now- 20’years apart
Calgary Police you are also hero’s supporting us. Thank you AGAIN for an amazing escort through the city and letting us cruise around to Foothills Hospital and letting us wave to 57. We had a blast before we pulled out too, I mean they gave me a ticket, we swapped bikes, and took a big group photo. Thank you for giving us all the exposure too, it means a lot.
When we arrived at ACH…WOW that was quite the welcome. First of all, my family… mom, Code man thanks for supporting dad and I through the whole winter, spring and summer. I only know how much I miss you two through all of this. Aunt Jo, Milan and Grandma you three are so amazing. Then those who have been there since the beginning of our journey with this disease, wow… the lump.
There are stories on stories from today and I just don’t know how to put them all into words because I could go on and on about the amazing Kids Cancer Care Families that came, about my “Little Tay”, about my niece getting exposure to giving back at such a young age and Nicole for being a constant love of support. An, Jason, Ardella, Michelle THANK you “gym” family.
Okay I must stop because I am tired and my computer is dying.
With SO much love and admiration for all you have all done for me in my life time- truly amazing.