National Kids Cancer Ride

It takes a village to raise a child, and even more to raise a child with an illness.

Day 6 – Sept 11, 2017 Estevan, Saskatchewan to Melita, Manitoba

This morning’s dedication was for Nicolina and was a story of hope. Nicolina was 2 when she was diagnosed with cancer, and today is a vibrant little girl who loves popsicles and jumping on her trampoline. Nicolina’s is one of the many success stories of children living with and beyond cancer and we ride for more stories like hers. Nicolina told us that when our legs get tired to think of her and the other kids with cancer and we’ll be OK too! (As I can’t download my pictures onto my computer at the moment, I’m attaching them separately on Facebook. One of the pictures is the dedication given for Nicolina and a picture of her on her trampoline J).

Our ride today continued on in Saskatchewan. The scenery hasn’t changed for a few days and it’s been incredibly peaceful here riding through the countryside. The community support has been outstanding!

The highlight of my day came early on, at our first rest, when my colleague Paul Brenneman stopped by to see me and the riders. I didn’t know he was coming and was soooo happy to see him!

As I was riding today, I was thinking more about the teamwork I talked about yesterday. The last two days have been tough from a riding perspective, as a lot of body parts are starting to hurt, but it’s also been FUN. And it’s been fun because we’re working together to get to each destination, chatting, taking in the views, and helping each other when we’re struggling. Seeing Paul today, and all the other friends and family who have been coming out for the other riders, as well as the messages we’ve been receiving, is all part of this as it provides inspiration and love and continues to fuel our ride. And let’s face it, it’s awesome to see them! The other thing teamwork does, though, which is more important, is it gets us closer to our ultimate destination … beyond kids cancer and hopefully one day a cure.

Thinking about this made me think about my Mom. She lived life fully, and also lived with cancer for over 23 years. The last two months of her life, when she was really ill, she wanted to be at home, and we wanted that for her too. This wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for community and teamwork, nurses, doctors, our Madeline, friends and family helping, and family & friends from a distance being there in spirit to support and love.   To this incredible community, I’m eternally grateful.

In listening to the stories from the families we’re meeting, and those I’ve met through the years, I know this to be true for these kids with cancer and their families as well. It takes all the spokes of the wheel to work together to help them…. Doctors, nurses, friends, family, community helping out, financial support, employers, and so many others. I heard a Mom tonight say it takes a village to raise a child, and even more to raise a child with an illness.

Then I got to thinking about our WHY and why I’m riding (you can’t imagine all the conversations and thoughts that go on in my head as I’m cycling for hours!). I always wanted to have children, and it didn’t happen for me. As I got older, I decided to volunteer with kids … a way to be involved and in some way make a difference for kids. Little did I know how much that decision would change my life.   I met Alicia Denoon at Camp Quality, a camp for kids with cancer or in remission. Alicia is a brain tumour survivor, an overcomer, and full of fearlessness, determination, and a positive attitude. She inspired me to get my first road bike, and I’ve loved seeing her many accomplishments through the years as she lives beyond kids cancer. When my Mom was really sick in the fall, I realized how blessed I was to have her in my life for over 50 years, and how too many parents don’t have that time with their children. And I really want that to change. I’ve known a lot of children who have lived with cancer and died, and many more who have lived beyond childhood cancer, and it gives me hope.   I know we can all make a difference, and are making a difference.

Before and during this ride, I’ve received messages from friends who know someone who has died from cancer, or is currently going through treatments for childhood cancer. And they shared with me that what we’re doing is giving these families hope, and that warms my heart more than you can imagine.   This is why we ride … hope for the kids, hope for the families, hope for new treatments, hope for a cure.  Especially when I see the success stories in Alicia, and Jase and Corsen (whom we met today) … so we can hear more success stories like these.

Today’s inspiration to help me through my ride came from Gillian who got her angels wings far too soon, and Nicolina and Sarah. I will always have hope for children with cancer and their families and for a day when there will be a cure for all cancers or better yet, where it won’t exist at all.

Time for bed … we clocked 161km today and I’m pooped. Sweet dreams all xo

 

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