One of the most difficult times of the season is upon us, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. I thought it would be best to kick off our Ride to Conquer Cancer Drive with a quick personal story. I did the same last year, but as we all know, cancer creates so many memories – good, bad, traumatic, triumphant – so there’s no shortage of material to inspire the good ol’ Pump & Power blog.
I wish we didn’t have to do this, but as long as cancer is out there, we’re going to do everything we can to kick its ass once and for all.
I remember the smell of damp concrete on that late August afternoon five years back in Beaumont, a suburb south of Edmonton, Alberta. Alone, I was jogging up a steep incline back towards my parents house. And as if the heat of the afternoon wasn’t scorching enough; the humidity common to the region that’s responsible for some of the most epic storms you’ve ever seen made it incredibly tough to breathe.
At least I think the humidity was responsible. I wasn’t the only one who was alone, after all.
The truth is that while I was working against gravity, heat, and crippling physical fatigue, a few hundred kilometres to the south, my tiny little mom was working against her own body’s betrayal just a few short years earlier.
My mom is a cancer survivor. Three years after her initial diagnosis, a diagnosis that was much too grim for our family to comprehend, she was on her bike riding Alberta’s Ride to Conquer Cancer. She was barely fit to return to work after treatment, let alone ride a bike from what seemed like one end of the province to the other.
But she did it. She came in last, but she did it.
And while she was riding her bike I was pumping my legs and telling myself that if there was even the slightest possibility that I could build up enough energy to share well then hot damn I was going to do my part.
The funny thing is that she probably didn’t need the help.
We all know too many people who aren’t as lucky as my family and me. My mom was diagnosed with bladder cancer and underwent nearly two years of treatment for a condition we were told had a very low survival rate. The doctors at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton were able to get us on experimental drug trials that potentially helped save my mom’s life. These trials aren’t cheap – they depend on donations and research that simply wouldn’t exist without initiatives like the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
Believe us, committing to the BC Ride to Conquer Cancer is no walk in the park – quite the opposite! But joining the Pump and Power team to ride our bikes from Vancouver to Seattle gives us an excellent incentive to get on the bike and work towards a goal with nothing but benefits all around.
The cost is time. The cost is energy. The reward? A healthy pumping heart and a potential life-saving solution for someone like my mom.
I contribute to the Ride to Conquer Cancer because I can. I’ve been through it and lived to see the other side – not everyone is afforded the same.