[If you wish to donate- please click on our team name above, "Blazin Saddles" (Not the DONATE button above) and then after you arrive at our team page, you can click on donate.... this donates to our team and not just my portion. Thank you so very much!]
I sat down the other day to begin writing about why I am committed to riding in the Obliteride in August and especially to fundraising for the event. I was overwhelmed with the number of people I counted that I personally know who have died from cancer or who are current cancer survivors. I challenge you to do the same and you will be shocked by the number.
Above in the montage of photos are the faces of cancer that I am riding for and I would like to tell you a bit about each of them.
(top left photo) Me and my three brothers- Very, very few of you know the brother who is to the right of me in the photo, nor have you ever met him. That is my brother Mark, who died at age 26. TWENTY-SIX..... that is so crazy! He died from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1986. I could write so much more about him, but for this post, the briefness of his life is my point.
(bottom left photo) That is my step-sister Laura. She died a year and a half ago from colon cancer. She left behind an absolutely amazing daughter Miaya who literally had just left for college when her Mom died. Leaving for college is a bit scary for any kid- having your only parent die at that time in your life is unfathomable. But Miaya will be OK... more than just “OK”, because her Mom raised an amazing, strong, resilient and passionate daughter during their brief time together.
(middle top photo) That is Darla’s father Maurice- he died at age 58 from cancer.... cancer that he had beat once years earlier but it returned with a vengeance. I never got to meet this man and so wish I could travel back in time for that ability. He never got to see his grand kids grow up or see the amazing parents his grandkids have become.
(bottom middle photo) That is my 3rd and 4th grade teacher “Mr. C” (Willard Clapper) and I. It would take pages to write about how this man inspired me and positively influenced me. His impact on my life was profound. To me, he was always larger than life- someone I always looked up to and adored. The way his life ended so quickly due to Lymphoma just broke my heart.
(right-most photo)These two hooligans are my amazing brother Gary and his incredible girlfriend Michelle. Gary is a prostate cancer survivor and Michelle is a two time breast cancer survivor. They live every day trying to improve their odds of survival because they are ones that have truly touched the brink and understand how precious life can be - and they love their lives and want to be here as long and as healthy as they possibly can. They inspire me every day!
Gary and Michelle are our Obliteride teammates (their fourth, our first) as well as Michelle’s parents (their first too).
You guys.... there are so many other faces and stories of cancer I could put on here! My grand-parents, Roy, Mary Anne, David, parents of my friends, Luka’s friend’s parents and siblings…so many that all lost their lives to cancer. Too many lives that ended too soon in an awful, sickly, treatment filled, failed struggle to survive.
Then there are the survivors, many of you that are reading this; Shelly, Georgianna, Martine, Karen, Betty, Julie, Sandy, those that live every day with a sigh that they made it, but with that little thought of, “will I remain cancer free?”
These are all the faces of why I ride! And I ride with the hope that I don’t have to add any more to this list.
Fred Hutch does amazing research and is totally committed to eradicating cancer. EVERY Obliteride-raised dollar goes to this lifesaving research at Fred Hutch. Although their research is amazing, it takes money- and that is where I am asking that you come in.
Please donate to our ride and join us in helping the Hutch FIGHT CANCER!
Thank you so much- it truly means a lot to our team Blazin’ Saddles.