Each time I’ve done a ride that benefits cancer research and survivorship, I realize that I’ve entered into a community of families of all sorts. There are families cheering riders out onto the road, families holding their loved ones during opening ceremony speeches, families of cycling clubs with their arms on each other’s shoulders as tears drop down their cheeks, and families that hold a place in my heart – families and friends whose lives have been changed forever by cancer.
Almost 10 years ago, our friends were living the dream. They were professionals moving up the ladder, enjoying their two great kids, a boy and girl. They were able to give their family new adventures all the time. Life always seemed to provide them something to laugh about together. When the husband got a promotion, they moved and their life seemed to get even better. They were closer to family, in a beautiful area of Ontario. There was a job for his wife. The kids could go to a great school across the street. There was a fenced yard for the dogs. A pool for the kids. It was perfect. All of us friends were so happy for them.
Not soon after establishing their new life, their son displayed flu-like symptoms. The next thing we knew, he was admitted to the hospital for emergency brain surgery. From that point on, life changed forever. For their family and for everyone they knew. Rather than celebrating with them on the phone about all the new and fun things they were doing in their new setting, we were reading their blog written from the hospital. Their life became the hospital. Their family was split between their home and their son’s hospital room. Those of us not with them felt helpless and grabbed at anything we could do to ease their pain and stop this from being their reality.
Ten years later, their son has been back at school, and the family can speak of the amazing help they got during that time. But the appointments and interventions haven’t stopped. There are still therapies, checkups, and surgeries as a result of the effects of their son’s childhood cancer.
So, here I am, touched forever by my friends’ experience. I’m fortunate to be healthy and strong, with the gift of time to spend hours on my bike. The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride is the thing I can do to make a big impact on getting rid of childhood cancer. No child should suffer with this terrible disease and no parent should ever hear the words “your child has cancer” or to lose their child to cancer.
There are more than 10,000 children in Canada living with cancer and 1,700 new cases every year and it’s the leading cause of non-accidental death of children in Canada. Only 3% of all cancer research dollars are directed towards childhood cancers.
However, with the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride (www.SNKCR2017), 100 % of the $15 000 minimum I must raise goes directly to helping the kids.
I feel like my years of doing the Ontario Tour For Kids, and previously, other large charity rides, has prepared me for all the challenges that come with this 18 day cross-Canada ride. I know there are people out there who want to help with this fight against cancer. I know anyone reading this has it in them to make a donation. Clicking on the link below is easy.