Ron Gallo - Why I Ride
Support My Ride to Conquer Cancer®
Welcome to my Personal Page! The British Columbia 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 late August. The Ride is a challenge in a number of ways; but with my bike, my helmet and your generosity, a real impact will be made!
Contribute to this powerful movement with a donation. Funds raised through the British Columbia 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.
My Personal Web Log
If you ask me why I ride, I will give you a few reasons. These reasons have built up over my three years of participation in the British Columbia Ride to Conquer Cancer. In my first year I rode for myself, for my follow up year I rode for my biological father and this year I am riding for Miranda Kuenzl.
When I first learned of the ride I was just finishing up my second year of living a more active lifestyle and had just come off of a week long hike of the West Coast Trail. Two years prior I had been living a sedentary lifestyle believing that all was well in my world and that I was, in essence, the same person I had been years prior.
That image was shattered when I went for a simple walk to the grocery store just two kilometers from my house and realized that I now had to walk back! It didn't take long before I started taking my dog for daily walks. I added resistance to those walks by making them longer and incorporating nearby hills into the daily step totals.
As I started to lose the weight, I quickly began to realize how lucky I was that I didn't develop any serious health issues. I maintained my daily activity taking it to the gym in the winter where I used the treadmill. The following Spring I signed up for a 5K road run and, although I finished better than I expected to, I found much more joy in hiking in and around my corner of the Province that summer.
A good friend of mine said "let's hike the West Coast Trail" and I agreed. We started making plans for it one year out and started gathering equipment, advice and of course the physical endurance that would be required for just such an adventure. I ran through the winter and, as soon as we could, we hiked every weekend.
That same friend told me about the Ride to Conquer Cancer and said he was going to an introductory meeting to learn more about it. We both went and ended up signing up for the '15 edition of the ride. I did so because of how lucky I was feeling that I was healthy enough to be able to take on such a challenge. I joined indoor cycling classes and when it was time to hit the road, I wasn't happy with my performance and felt that I needed a proper road bike like everybody else. Wow did that make a difference! I quickly discovered that I was fast on the bike and felt like a little boy again without a care in the world and just the wind in my face.
Even though that first year was the "hurricane ride," I knew I was going to do this ride again and I signed up for the 2016 ride with designs on taking on the Challenge Route. For this ride, I let everybody know that I was riding for my biological father that I never met. I was adopted at a young age and never had an opportunity to meet any one from my biological family until years after my father died from lung cancer.
My father was a heavy smoker which certainly didn't help and neither did his choice of occupation. He decided he was going to be airline pilot and the runway to the career required he takeoff first as a crop duster. He died in his early 50's and here I was turning 52 knowing that I had given myself a second chance to do something good for myself and for others.
My biological family support my ride and often tell me that different things I do, the way I look and the way I talk often remind them of my father. Riding for my father was a surreal experience last year as I found myself standing over my father's grave on the day before the start of the two day ride from Vancouver to Seattle. Although I had never met the man, I found tears were still streaming down my face towards the ground where he had been laid to rest.
This year I am riding for a beautiful person that has endured so much in her young life and still finds a way to smile and laugh and make those around her feel special. I first learned of Miranda Kuenzl a few years ago shortly after her husband had been diagnosed with a form of terminal cancer. This came after Miranda had already been diagnosed with skin cancer.
This couple had a daughter that was looking at graduation in a few years and were in a tough spot now that he couldn't work. I was part of a small group of individuals that looked within to offer assistance and also gained awareness for the young family. The goal was to provide what ever we could to help with the daily stresses that this family was facing.
I wish that Doug could have been able to see his daughter graduate this year; unfortunately, the cancer wouldn't wait just six more months and instead took Doug from his loving wife and daughter just days after Christmas. I got to see first hand this man's kind heart when he couldn't wait to give me a thank you gift after I helped them get in to a newer vehicle.
Just a day out of the hospital, Doug showed up at my work with his gift in one hand and a cane in the other. His smile was radiant as he walked in my office with his wife by his side. Her smile also lit up the room and drew others to them. Before Christmas, Doug spent time at Hospice. He fought to be strong enough to make it home for Christmas. Home with his family to spend that special time of year with the ones that he loved the most.
Cancer should never have done to this family what it did. It may have taken Doug away, but it didn't take away his spirit. It certainly didn't take away the essence that is Miranda. It didn't take away her smile; if anything it made it brighter and more resilient. I have the opportunity today to check on Miranda regularly and can tell you that she still wears her smile like a magnificent ballroom gown.
That smile will be there for me while I propel myself along that Challenge Route again this year. Those lonely miles when I'm riding by myself and need a little motivation, her picture with that smile will be in plain sight reminding me of what is important. Through the pain, it isn't for ourselves that we power through. It is for others!
by Ron Gallo on Tue, Feb 28, 2017 @ 11:14 PM
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