Todd Kemper - Linnea's Legion
Honouring Her Legacy
I'm back, baby.
Despite our team's EPIC acheivment of 2016 - raising almost $70,000 for triple-negative breast cancer research, I'm sad to report that Linnea lost her battle on September 19th. It was a day that I'll never forget, for as long as I live. Intellectually, I knew the funds that we raised wouldn't come in time to save her...but something deep inside me hoped, prayed, that it would happen. A new treatment approach that could somehow turn back the clock and reverse the spread of cancer through her organs and bones...one at a time until she was herself again. Letting that hope die, letting go of the guilt that I somehow felt for not being able to save her, has been one of the hardest things I've ever dealt with in all of my years on this earth.
One of the most incredible and inspirational things about Linnea (there were many of them) was her bravery. I don't think she had it in her to back down from a challenge, and cancer was no different. She almost never complained. She faced it head-on with a smile on her face and determination in her eyes. Don't get me wrong - she was human...she cried, she was scared...but when it was time for an appointment or a treatment or a test...game face. She faced her cancer head on, even when it was clear that the end was coming.
So, to honour her memory, her dedication and bravery, I am NOT going to let that hope inside me die. I'm going to keep riding and I'm going to keep raising funds and awareness for triple-negative breast cancer. If it saves any family from going through what we did it will be worth every moment of pain and every difficult memory.
In her name, I would do anything.
So, yeah. I'm back baby. Bring on the Ride and whatever whirlwind of feelings it brings me. If she can look cancer in the eye, I can confront my emotions head on. Bring it.
I know that we all asked much of our friends and families in 2016. And I know that many of you found it in your hearts to reach deeper into your wallets than we ever imagined. I did not take this on lightly - asking you all for your help and support (financial as well as emotional) in 2017. But I felt it was the right thing to do for her legacy. So join me in fighting triple-negative breast cancer in 2017. Donate. Better yet: RIDE with me! This year our team is open to anyone who cares about our cause. And, just FYI, we are a lot of fun to train (and rehydrate) with!
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