Welcome to My Personal Page
Support My Ride to Conquer Cancer®
Welcome to my Personal Page! The Ride to Conquer Cancer presented by Silver Wheaton benefiting BC Cancer Foundation, is a two-day cycling journey, through the beautiful Pacific region taking place in the summer. It will be a challenge in a number of ways, but with my bike, my helmet, and your generosity, a real impact will be made!
Why I Ride . . .
or perhaps, Lessons Cancer Taught Me
I met my Aunt Beth when I was 8. I asked my mom, the nurse, why Beth’s arm was so big. Mom informed me that Beth had had breast cancer surgery and the swelling was from lymph nodes. She was supposed to be okay. This was the beginning of my “cancer story”.
Beth was brusque but I liked her – then she got sick again – the cancer had metastasized and she died. Oh damn – new cancer lesson – beat is not necessarily beat.
When I was 21 my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died about 2 years later of thirst and starvation because the tumour had blocked his esophagus and he could not swallow. Mom had called a few days before – Tuesday I think – and said to come home. She called again the next night asking where I was and that I did not have time to wait for the weekend – this was a “come home NOW!” call. I got there the night before he died. Mom woke us in the morning and what family who could be there held him as he died. New cancer lesson – cancer is ugly and cruel and always keeps you guessing.
Somewhere along the way, mom informed me she had had 2 skin cancer lesions removed – as usual I was in the “why didn’t anyone tell me?” space. Pretty much the same happened when she had Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) later but since she was 94 when she died, I guess it could be called “died of old age” at that point. New lesson – cancer can be the kinder gentler form . . . ?
When I was about 49, my younger brother told me he had also been diagnosed with CLL. “Oh good.” I thought, “The kinder gentler leukemia.” Except it turned out he did not have CLL, he was re-diagnosed with LGL (Large Granular Lymphocytic Leukemia) which was neither kind nor gentle but which is very rare. After more than 200 days of chemo, I got a call from my niece, the nurse – Richard had had a stroke and it was not looking good. So I drove like a madman to Edmonton – about a 9 hour drive – and got there to most of our family, brothers, nieces, and nephews waiting and watching. He actually died about 2 days later from flesh eating disease which is, as it sounds, is truly horrible. That’s what happens when you have no immune system.
At pretty much exactly the same time (1 week before) my wife (Blanca Schorcht – also in the Ride) was diagnosed with breast cancer. So 24 hours after my brother died, after I had finished the immediate business of death, I drove the 9 hours home to my wife. Next morning, we drove the 8 hours to Vancouver to plan for her surgery and start her treatments.
Not mentioned in the above narrative is the additional story that while my younger brother was still alive, my second oldest brother was matched as compatible to be a bone marrow transplant donor and we all celebrated. I was my younger brother’s advocate so went through the various steps involved in prepping for the transplant. My brother died about a week before the transplant had been scheduled. It would not have made a difference anyway because when they were giving my older brother the final, more thorough tests for the transplant they red flagged his results. He was now ALSO diagnosed with CLL – oh boy, at least it is the kinder gentler leukemia – right? Well no, actually. He did not respond well to treatment and after 8 months of chemo and losing 90 pounds, we thought we were going to lose him too. Fortunately, a new drug, still in the experimental stage, was given (literally, it was valued at $10,000 a month and not on the BC Cancer Agency’s list) and his health and appetite have turned around. As of this writing he has achieved a healthy weight and appetite and is doing fine. Another lesson on cancer – yup – just FULL of surprises.
Not quite done. My oldest brother has been diagnosed with MSA or Multiple Systems Atrophy – in the Parkinsons category. A miserable brutal disease. Recently I was told he probably has CLL too. Again, it is not likely what will end his life but just to pile misfortune on misfortune . . .
Sometimes, when I am asked to donate to cancer causes, I feel like replying that I have already given too much to cancer. Now I can say I am Riding for the Cure because it makes me feel like I AM doing something about cancer.
Contribute to this powerful movement with a donation. Funds raised through the Ride to Conquer Cancer will support life-saving research and enhancements to care at the BC Cancer Agency, bringing hope to cancer patients in B.C. and beyond.
Thank you in advance for your help.
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