Let's conquer Cancer together .... in memory of my dad Hildo Hoek
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 the amazing men and women riding, their crew and your generosity, a real impact will be made!
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.
This is my story...
This is "Why I crew…"
My cancer journey began when I was three years old. A little girl confused and afraid watching her big brother fight the battle of his life. My brother Gavin was diagnosed with leukemia when he was five, I watched through innocent blue eyes as my brother fought through chemo therapy, lumbar puncture injections and countless months in hospital. I also watch the strength and anguish of my parents as they fought beside him. Thankfully I was protected from the reality of what was actually going on and my only memories are of a giggling boy with no hair, being terrified at the sight of little earbuds in his ears, little did I know at the time, they were just so he could hear his black and white television (that TV I still keep safe as one of my most treasured possessions) and the spooky tunnel that ran between Vancouver general hospital and the cafeteria. My brother fought for almost three years. He went into remission for a few months but the beast within him was stronger than the medicine of the mid 1970's. I'll never forget the day I was told he was gone, driving along the ocean near Stanley park, the embarrassed awkward feeling of seeing my parents in tears and asking out loud if that meant I didn't have a brother any more. I am ever so grateful that my parents ensured that it definitely did not mean that and Gavin has been beside me and a huge part of my life to this day...
Blessed was I to then live the next 40 years relatively unscathed, loved beyond imagination. My parents suffered the greatest loss a parent could possibly endure but even through their grief they gave me the gift of love, confidence, humility, bravery, kindness and empathy. I am who I am today because of my wonderful parents.
I travelled the world, completed my education, secured my career and was given the honour of becoming MOM to five beautiful boys. I lived life with eternal optimism and 300 miles an hour hair straight back. I became a member of the Ymca in 1992 in an attempt to harness some of this energy and 25 years later I still teach fitness and the Y is a huge part of my daily life and my sanity! It has kept me strong and healthy through all of life's ups and downs, divorce, work stress, teenagers and so much more!
I then received a call that dropped me to my knees...
August 31 2015 ... Mid morning on a usual busy Monday at work my cell phone rang. "Lisa I would normally never do this over the phone but ... I have your biopsy results and it is CANCER... " the rest of the conversation I cannot remember. I was numb from head to toe and paralyzed with disbelief.. This has to be a mistake! .. This cannot be me! .. I don't even feel sick !... From January when I found a loonie sized lump, through mammograms, ultrsounds, specialist appointments and numerous examinations to August of 2015 when the lump had grown to the size of an inch thick hamburger patty.. I was told it was nothing, you're fine, results are negative... I then pushed for a biopsy to set my mind at ease and the next thing I knew I was sitting in a tiny room with a medical oncologist listening to medical terminology I didn't understand. Once he had finished explaining I had aggressive grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma. I asked simply "so please in laymans terms how bad is it and what are we going to do?" He responded "it's really bad and we are going to do it all" ... From that moment all I could think was "Let's GO!"... The only option was to fight ... I have five boys who need their mom!
I have so many places to see, adventures to experience and too much life to live !! Three days later I began 16 weeks (8 rounds) of accelerated aggressive chemotherapy ( during which I tangoed with blood clots, collapsed veins and shingles) ringing the bell on Christmas Eve. I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and lymph node dissection mid January and then 39 rounds of blistering radiation from February until April. I was not alone in my fight for a single treatment or appointment. My amazing friends attended with me becoming known as my "Possy". The support I received from friends, family and the community was humbling. I believe in collective soul and the power of the mind and the impact it has on healing... I won my fight because of the amazing people in my life driving me to believe and know with conviction that I could beat this. And I did !
...in February my lovely friend Karin invited me to join her at her table for a fundraising evening for the Wheelin Warriors, what an evening it turned out to be... I knew that night I wanted to join this amazing team and fight to find a cure !!
My journey with Cancer unfortunately did not end there .... In June the strongest man I know, my hero, my Dad... fell ill. Having recently had open heart surgery the focus was on his heart and possible complications from his triple bypass. During the numerous tests a "dark spot" appeared on his left lung... By August the spot had filled over half of his lung and he was diagnosed with metastatic lung CANCER. Over the next few weeks it moved from his lung into his ribs causing pathological fractures as it spread. I spent every moment by his side, attending appointments in person and via FaceTime to help my parents understand and digest the overwhelming information coming at them. My heart broke as we sat with two oncologists explaining there was nothing that could be done .. This was October 8th ... One week later after a wonderful visit with family and intimate talks of love and gratitude my dad took his final breath ... I was not ready but he was...
Cancer is a merciless beast ... It does not discriminate and has impacted the lives of everyone I know. I will fight for a cure and share my story in hopes it will enable others to fight and win !!!
This is "Why I Crew..."
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