Cancer. One of the scariest words I know. One of my greatest fears and the reason I'm doing this ride. This is my story of why I've chosen to participate in the 2021 Ride to Conquer Cancer.
19 years ago I lost my dad to brain cancer. He was my best friend, my everything. I was daddy's little girl. He was only 36 years old when he passed. At the time I was only 12 and I didn't understand what cancer even meant. I thought my dad was so "old" anyways and I just had no idea what was even happening. One day he was buying me Archie comics and bubblegum, and the next I was visiting him in the hospital with a bandage around his head. Looking back now being in my 30's myself, I realize first of all that he was not old at ALL. But also how terrifying it must have been for him to go through what he did for those last 6 months of his life and how cancer really just isn't fair at all.
Fast forward 13 years later, my mom found a cancerous mole on her leg and got it removed. Little did we know at the time, melanoma (skin cancer) is so much more than just a cancerous mole. Over the next 6 years, the melanoma kept coming back and attacked different parts of her skin, her lymph nodes, and eventually turned into tumors throughout her body.
At the time, I didn't know how to deal with my moms sickness. She didn't "look" sick like my dad did. I always thought that she would make it through, whether it was another surgery or another expiremental treatment. I don't think I believed she was really sick until October of 2019 when her doctor told us that the cancer was beyond their control, there were no more treatments available, and to start planning for "end of life". All I could think was, end of life?!? How could you say that to us. She's still so young, and she still didn't even look sick. We proceeded to home care her and she fought every day to survive in her remaining months. She spent her last days with all her family visiting her, and she would tell stories of growing up and what she wanted to do when she got better because she never ever gave up hope. But the day we all dreaded came on December 15th, 2019 when she passed away peacefully at home with her entire family surrounding her.
I didn't know how to deal with cancer when my parents were alive, and I still don't. But I do know how to ride a bike. I do know that I'm strong enough to make it across that finish line with my guardian angel parents pushing me through. Over the years, cancer has taken away so many of my loved ones. The disease doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care if you're young or old, male or female, if you have a family or not.
I'm doing this ride in memory of those loved ones I lost, friends and family of mine currently fighting the disease, and for all the people that will one day fight the disease themselves, in hopes that there will be a cure for them. That's why I need your help in reaching my fundraising goal of $3,333 and beyond so that one day we can find a cure and maybe one day in our lifetime, we don't have to hear that scary word "cancer" anymore.