My Personal Story for the 2018 Ride
Family and Friends,
This year will be my fourth-year riding and each year it is becoming more important to me as this disease has not slowed down. I will always have my Dad, my Grandpa (Pops), Kathleen and Brian in my thoughts during every ride. But this year I am also riding for Jimmy Woods. My stories from past years are below and I make sure to read and share these stories to remind myself and others of how blessed and fortunate we are to still have my Dad and other survivors with us. Not all of us are as lucky but we will never forget those we have lost to this disease and those that are still fighting.
Jimmy Woods is one of my father-in-law’s best friends and we were shocked to learn of his diagnosis this past winter of Stage 4 Bile Duct Cancer. It is a very rare form of cancer and Jimmy has been doing well in treatment. He is in great spirits and will continue to fight. Jimmy is a strong-minded guy with a great sense of humor whom I would always look forward to joking around with at gatherings. Being the guy that he is, he would always show up to events to support my wife and I, such as our wedding, birthdays, engagement party and the list goes on!
Please keep Jimmy in your prayers and support my participation in the Ride to Conquer Cancer – let’s rid this disease from our world in our lifetime!
My Personal Story for 2017 Ride:
This past year we lost a good man, Brian Wallace. He was a good friend of my Dad. I grew up seeing him at the hockey rink as his son Curtis and my brother, Justin, played hockey together for many years. He was always happy and loved to joke around, especially regarding his beloved Boston Bruins! When we learned of his passing it was a shock. You have so much hope that the treatment will be successful and you do not think of any other outcome.
Currently, my brother-in-law’s Mom, Kathleen, is undergoing treatment for a rare form of this disease that she has been battling for most of her life. Kathleen is a beautiful person and is an absolute blast to be around! Her positivity and love for life is unbelievable and I am not surprised she continues to win her battle.
My Personal Story for 2015 Ride:
This past summer I heard the three words I never expected to hear from my Dad.
It started with a sore throat that never seemed to go away. It would linger, get worse, linger and get worse. The diagnosis went from Strep Throat to a Root Canal and everything in-between. It took a few months but my Dad always knew in his gut, that it was much more serious. A visit to an ENT specialist would change everything. After a painful biopsy, my Dad would wait, wait, and wait for the test results. I could tell my Dad was worried. He would tell me later that the internet was not his friend as he found many different possibilities of his diagnosis, none of which were good. He also told me the weeks felt like months and he had many sleepless nights.
I will never forget the day he told me. I went into his office (the boss) and asked if the results had come back. They had. My Dad than told me the three words I never expected to hear - I have cancer. I didn't want to believe it. You grow up thinking your parents are untouchable and what happens to other kids will not happen to you. But nothing was changing the facts and we had to face this challenge as a family. Luckily the type of cancer my Dad was diagnosed with was well researched and had high success rates with radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
I didn’t expect everything to happen so quick after the diagnosis, the team of doctors my Dad had were great. They had a few appointments/tests to make sure it hadn’t spread and to determine which treatment was necessary and for how long. It became very real for everyone in our family when we learned my Dad would need radiation therapy 5 days per week for 7 weeks and 3 treatments of chemotherapy. My brother, Dad and I just looked at each other in silence after the doctor left to give us some privacy. We made sure my Dad knew he would not be alone in his battle. When the Doctor came back, he began telling my Dad what to expect during treatment. I did not envy the position my Dad was in, but knew how tough he was and that he could handle it, even though it would not be easy by any means.
The part none of us expected was the difficulty my Dad would eventually have swallowing. Because the radiation would be directed to his throat, the saliva glands and tongue would also be effected. This meant that eventually my Dad would not be able to taste or even swallow without extreme pain. This could result in severe loss of appetite which would not be good for recovery. The doctors demanded a feeding tube to insure my Dad maintained his weight and received the proper nutrients for recovery. This was when I first realized how much of an impact events such as the Ride to Conquer Cancer make in families such as mine – the very expensive food to be used with the feeding tube, not covered by insurance, was covered by the Canadian Cancer Society. They would also be willing to pick my Dad up at home, bring him to the hospital for treatment, and back home. We did not need that service as my brother and I could do that instead. But I can only imagine how beneficial that could be. A nurse would also come and see my Dad very frequently to make sure everything was going well. We were all very impressed with how my Dad was treated by the hospital and the Canadian Cancer Society.
After the 7 weeks of treatment, my Dad still had a long road to recovery. But with all our love and support and his naturally powerful drive, my Dad was able to recover in a few months after treatment. Before we knew it, he was buzzing around the office excited for the upcoming heating season!
Now came the time for the follow-up appointment. We had no idea if the treatment was successful or not. We prayed and prayed as a family. I couldn’t imagine my Dad having to go through more pain. As we were waiting for the doctor in the same room we were in months ago, it was silent. The whole time I was holding back tears not knowing what was coming next. Finally, the doctor came into the room and shared the news – the treatment was successful, the cancer was gone! I could finally let out those tears in celebration with my Dad and his victory over Cancer.
I am riding this year and every year after for my Dad. I want to do my part so we can conquer cancer in our lifetime.
My Participant ID: 621952-9
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