Friday, June 24, 2011

The Ride To Conquer Cancer

Tomorrow is something totally new for me. Tomorrow I am part of the ride to conquer cancer. This is 200km ride spread over two days. It's in the beautiful foothills with the spectacular Rocky Mountains in the background. I hear the route is a little bit hilly. I think I can do it. I hope I can do it!! It's something totally new for me. Although I've always enjoyed biking, I've never really put my heart into it, the way I have with running. So this is totally new territory for me. But it's a challenge I'm ready to face, and a challenge I'm excited for.

This ride raises money for research. Important research. Because of this ride, Alberta is doing some cutting edge research that's making a real difference. The funds raised have funded many projects, including research into childhood cancers, brain cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and even blood disorders. The thing that really gets me though, is how far reaching this research can be. Cancer gets a lot of focus and rightfully so, since it does affect so many people. But there are tons of other diseases that end up with spinoff benefits because of the cancer research, so even if those diseases aren't the initial focus of the research, they benefit from the research. Take for example Avastin, a drug commonly used to treat cancer. Now, an injection of Avastin into the eyes of a preemie suffering from severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), fixes ROP even better than traditional laser therapy could with the added benefits of no surgery required and most kids not needing glasses later on. For our son alone, this treatment would have made a huge difference. So, in only 5 years since he was born, a cancer drug has crossed over into a disease that we have dealt with as a family directly.

Don't get me wrong though, cancer has definitely been a part of our family. When I was little, I watched my grandpa try and battle brain cancer, yet still succumbed to this awful disease. And more recently my husband lost his dad to cancer. In less than a year, he was diagnosed, attempted to fight it, and sadly lost his battle. My godfather also tried to beat brain cancer, yet once again cancer proved too much. For me, the hardest part is watching these people with iron will try to beat something that their bodies were just unable to. And then, the families they left behind are left with a huge hole in them trying to figure out how life goes on, with such a pivotal person missing. It's truly awful.

So, rather than sit on the sidelines, I'm choosing to do something to help. I am choosing to help raise money to fund research to find a cure. I don't want to see anyone else suffer this horrible disease. I want the spinoffs to help my mom and others suffering from diseases that don't get the same focus. I want a cure to be found so that if someone else I love is diagnosed, the battle can be fought, and won. Cancer doesn't have to win. So much progress has been made, and many people are beating it, but there is still so much work to do. This is my part. This is what I can do. And you can do your part, by supporting my ride. It won't be easy, but this ride is nothing compared to what people suffering from cancer face on a daily basis while in treatment.

I'll let you know how it goes, but in the meantime, please consider making a donation to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, supporting my ride:

And I promise to blog about the ride after all is said and done... thanks!!

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