National Kids Cancer Ride

Day 1 – Childhood Cancer Awareness Month 2018

September is a very important month for those of us involved in fighting childhood cancer. it marks a month of awareness (although this continues all year). It’s also the month that we have ridden the National Kids Cancer ride for the last 10 years. unfortunately, this year there is no ride, for a number of reasons, so we need to re-group. Fortunately, on 23rd September there will be the virtual National Kids Cancer ride, where we all individually ride, and pool all our kms to see if we can beat 7300 Km – the distance the Ride itself will cover from Coast to Coast. And hopefully raise some money.

To acknowledge this month, I’m going to try and blog some thoughts about living in and around and with cancer as a paediatric oncologist, and try to raise some awareness too…

today is 1st September – the beginning of the month. It’s also the start of the Labour Day long weekend – a last gasp chance to ahve summer fun before heading back to school,work, academia etc. And it’s also the time i would have been gearing up to head to Vancouver for the ride (but not this year). It’s a time of beginnings, and new experiences. It’s also akin to beginning a cancer journey. It’s also a time when we are helping our new oncology doctor to find his feet and learn a new hospital and system here in the Maritimes. So, this weekend, although I’m not on call, I’m on “buddy-call” with him. There to help. There to provide advice. There to support. But i don’t have to physically BE there. So i went riding. Because it’s what we do.

The ride today was careful. Not too far – not too far from the city. Not too fast, not too crazy – just in case. I stuck to mostly urban areas (which means it’s more dangerous with cars and traffic and stuff), but it’s closer in. I didn’t push it hard – no need and kept a little in the tank “just in case”. There were a bunch of obstacles, and traffic lights, and road idiots, but nothing i couldn’t handle. As I rode, I reflected that it was maybe a bit like starting another journey – a cancer journey. Which starts with symptoms. You realise something is wrong and there starts a process of finding out what’s going on, getting a diagnosis and learning what the problem is. The important thing is to go fast enough, but not too fast. If you do that you run the risk of overshooting, missing things, rushing things and not thinking out properly. More haste, less speed, is the old proverb. So that’s what i did. I knew that i wanted to do the ride, but took it careful. That’s the same when a new family comes to us: the goal is to find out what is going wrong – to get a diagnosis and staging. There’s urgency to do this, but don’t go too fast. Otherwise you make mistakes. Sometimes things go smoothly, but sometimes there are stops and starts, humps in the road, hills to go up and cars to go around. But even if there’s a diversion, you get there in the end. Much like me.

Also like buddy call – you are there to guide and help out if needed. take it steady and all is fine.

This month will be tough – because we remember all the kids and families we have helped. Most have been successful and completed their journeys – are well, and getting on with life. Some however, didn’t – they crashed on the ride and we lost them. I’ve seen several familiar faces today on the news feeds. One in particular stands out as having made a difference in many ways, despite dying from her cancer – Becca still makes a big difference with a random acts of kindness movement that continues to gain strength. Lets hope we can all be as strong.