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I grew up in a family where the word Cancer was part our vernacular. I knew from a young age what the word mastectomy meant. I saw the scars, and even played with the prosthetics. They weren't things of shame. They were the marks of warriors worn with pride.
I'm also fortunate enough to have grown up with shining examples of survivors. Fierce, courageous women (and men!) who faced down the beast and came out the other side.
My grandma was one of these strong women, facing breast Cancer in the 60's (while in her 40's), and being blessed enough to live another 40 years to share her story of survival. My auntie another, facing and surmounting an incredibly rare adrenal tumour, standing fit and strong six years later telling Cancer where to go.
These are two of many. Many beautiful women in my life who have accepted the challenge and come out victorious. To the others, you know who you are. I admire each of you for the strength and grace with which you fought your battles. I'll carry each of you with me on my ride. Your strength will power my legs and carry me through.
So this is why I'm choosing to ride. For the survivors. My survivors. For the hope that one day survival is the only outcome of this vicious disease. For research into women's cancers so that not one more family has to loose a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, auntie, niece or wife. And for the hope that my nieces will only know Cancer in the way that I knew Cancer as a little girl - as a story of victorious warriors.
For those of you able to donate, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
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