What is your connection with the cancer community?
When you’re young, adults appease you with answers when you ask what is wrong with a relative with cancer. “Oh, they’re sick,” and you naively assume that it is just like when you have a cold, that they will get better soon. I wouldn’t remain naïve for long. When I was a senior in high school, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. At this point I was old enough to understand, old enough to understand Wikipedia- that statistics were telling me there was less than a 25% chance my dad would see me move into college and less than a 6% chance he would see me graduate. What was once my favorite subject, I did not like statistics very much anymore. It is immensely difficult to watch the person you have known to be the strongest in your life slowly weaken before your eyes. Suddenly the same man who forced me to learn how to change a tire and check my oil as a prerequisite to getting my license was too weak to drive a car himself. However, through the two and a half years that my father battled pancreatic cancer, he taught me what strength, resilience and love really mean. Dad, I’ll be thinking of you and how much you loved the outdoors as I ride through the fields of Nebraska. I’ll be trying to channel your mechanic wisdom every time I get a flat. I’ll be riding for you and your fight every single day as I write your name on my calf.
Why are you riding the 4K for Cancer?
I am riding for what the previous question asks about- the cancer community- and everyone that has the same helpless feeling while watching someone close battle this terrible disease. When a loved one is battling cancer, there is only so much you can do. Driving them to chemotherapy, running errands for them, giving them all your love and support. And even though these efforts mean everything to them, sometimes it just doesn’t seem like enough. You want to get out there and physically feel like you are battling against the disease in some way. You wish that if you could just take boxing gloves to cancer or out run it in a marathon, it would help somehow. This feeling has stuck with me ever since my dad died in March 2009. As great as participating in Relay for Life or donating to Movember are, I don’t think that the feeling of helplessness will subside until I do something of this magnitude and until I do it with a group of people who are just as passionate about the cause.