Location: Surrey, BC
Distance cycled today: 45km (our first ride together as a group)
Our first full day in Vancouver! Last night and today, I met the team of riders and volunteers who will be crossing Canada together. Between us, eight provinces are represented with our group. We laughed, we shared stories & tears together, as strangers very quickly are becoming family.
Throughout the next 19 days, we’ll be meeting children with cancer, their families, and the doctors and nurses that are very much a part of these families. Within our own group, this has also been a very real reality. Some are parents who have had children with cancer … some have children who lived with and beyond cancer, some have children who died. Some of the riders and volunteers are brothers, Aunts, and friends who have also lived this reality. The bracelets in the attached photos all represent kids.
I wanted to share a beautiful post written by Patrick Sullivan in honour of his beloved son Finn and the children who had cancer and live and those who lived with cancer and died.
“Remember them when the hills get tough, think of them when you’re feeling exhausted and let them be the wings behind your back when your legs feel like giving out.
Ride on, ride strong to our final destination of beyond kids cancer ♡
Moments to memories.
Every year I carry Finn’s courage beads in a water bottle to remind me of things I don’t need to be reminded of.
Reminders of what he went through and how he went through it.
On the same water bottle, I also carried reminders of several pediatric cancers: rhabdomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma, Wilm’s tumour, medullablastoma, undifferentiated sarcoma; diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, leukemia, neuroblastoma, osteosarcoma, hepatocellular carcinoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumour.
These bracelets all represent kids.
Kids who laughed and lived.
Kids who loved and smiled.
Kids who blazed across the sky.
Kids who died.
Kids who are missed and left holes in hearts that can’t be filled.
Finn, Sean, Connor, Ryder, Jesse, Cassidy, Michael, Ronan, Adam, Alex, Gaby, Ryder and Taissa (my blue thumbnail).
Some of the bracelets represent kids who live. Mason, Carley and fiery Lina. Carson’s teddy bear also graces our Team Finn jersey.
These names are only the tip of a very large iceberg.
I carry these bracelets to remind myself why we do what we do. To remind me how important it is to Change these Stories.
To Change Stories you have to start somewhere. We start on bikes.”
Through the years, I remember reading about Patrick Sullivan and his family, and learning about Finn. And learning about cancer. What Patrick taught us is that Finn was the boy who lived with cancer, not the boy who died. That Finn never lost a battle ever. Medicines lost the battle. Today, Patrick joined us for part of our ride. I’ve never met Finn, and only just met Patrick today, but they have both inspired me through the years. Every time I see a full moon, I think of little Finn.
And so we ride … we ride for Finn, Simon, Briony, Taissa, Gillian, Michael, James, Casey, Alex, Adam, Shania, and so many more who have lived with cancer and died, and who are living with and beyond cancer. So we can Change these Stories.
As I sign off for today, I’ll leave you with a mantra that comes from Finn … “Run Jump Bounce Dance Sing Love Smile and Ride”. Live life large, just like Finn did 🙂
Lots of love, Michelle xoxo