Why I am riding
As many of you know the Victoria Fire Dept. entered a team in this years RTCC to ride in support of our previous Fire Chief Doug Angrove. Doug was diagnosed with brain cancer and sadly passed away recently, before this years ride could take place.
One thing that is not surprising is often in conversation when the word cancer arises it inevitably seems everyone responds with some personal story to how cancer has had an impact on their life. It seems to touch everyone somehow.
The impact it has had on my life is my mom passed away in August 1994, 48 years old, far too young of age. It took me a long time to accept her passing and only after many emotional lows (sadness, grief, anger, bitterness, etc.). I am not really sure I ever overcame the grieving/mourning process.
Then I married in 2002 and had 2 children. At first, I struggled again with feelings that life was not fair and how my children were missing out not being able to spend time with my mom (their grandma). But then, from a very young age I would take them to visit her grave and try to introduce them to the memory of her and who and how great she was. Quickly, it turned into being the best therapy for me! They loved visiting. They would run around and laugh and play, we would pick blackberries and make a process of cutting or picking flowers at our farm to take or picking them out at a flower shop. It turned into a place of joy instead of sadness! It was only then I believe I truly gained the strength to deal with her death.
Then, last May 2016, my wife Michelle came home with the news that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Coincidentally, at an age almost exactly the same as my mom's first diagnosis. She said many of the things my mom said. Things like 'I'll be fine' or 'We will be OK, it will all work out'. And I didn't react with the strength I thought I had gained from my mom's ordeal. I fought with all the same fears. Michelle had surgery and treatments and received a clean bill of health. She goes back in a few days for her 6 month tests and we are nervous but hopeful she will come home with the same results.
One thing from my experience is the treatment and programs are much better and advanced. Though sometimes the end result is still not always a good one.
Because of that I joined the RTCC this year. I ride in memory of Doug and my mom, in support of all those people and families dealing with it now, and in hope that the future brings advances, improvements and a cure for this disease.
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