Biking to support others facing cancer
Another bike ride across Iowa is in the books! It was quite the fun, inspiring adventure to join Team Livestrong at RAGBRAI to raise funds for their cancer support programs. I have been so blessed with support through my three cancers that it’s always a joy and honor when biking to support others facing cancer. And this ride did just that.
Biking to support others facing cancer
WHAT. A. WEEK! After a two-year hiatus from the event (due to Covid-19), Team Livestrong came back strong – raising over $100,000 for Livestrong’s programs to help people impacted by cancer! I’m so proud and honored to be part of this team and call them all my family.
It was a fun week filled with laughs, camaraderie, support, sharing stories and more. And I can’t forget some challenging hills (Iowa is NOT all flat!). But, even those hills didn’t dampen my spirits because I was surrounded by my teammates who supported, motivated and pushed me along (sometimes literally pushed me up a hill, ha!).
This is one of the many reasons that I ride with Livestrong – we’ve all been touched by cancer and understand the value of family and helping others. It’s why I bike across Iowa to help raise funds for Livestrong’s cancer support programs. [You can also read my past post, 5 lessons learned from biking Iowa at RAGBRAI]
An emotional tribute jersey day
As I mentioned a few months ago, my teammates selected ME as the recipient of a very special tribute jersey. And I decided to include my dad because his cancer journey and death have so greatly impacted my life as a cancer survivor and daughter. I also added my younger sister, who is also a cancer survivor, on the sleeve. The designer created a gorgeous, meaningful jersey.
Riding out of camp with my teammates – my friends who mean the world to me – was the BEST.DAY.EVER. It’s hard to describe how special this week was with my tribute jersey honor. My friends made that day, heck, the whole week, one of the most special times of my life.
I laughed, cried (behind the sunglasses), smiled and felt my heart swell so much with gratitude, love, kindness and inspiration from the people surrounding me – people also affected by cancer in various ways, choosing to come together to fight this disease and make the world a better place for all. 💛 People along the route asked about the jersey and we had lots of fun while sharing Livestrong’s resources. As I biked behind some teammates, I saw my dad’s name on the jersey and knew how honored and proud he would be knowing the positive impact he continues to make.
I still don’t know what I did to deserve such an honor but I plan to work to make sure I live up to the honor each day. It’s a reminder that how we choose to react to situations, treat people and live each day can make a positive impact on the others.
Finding courage and confidence while biking
This ride also always reminds me of overcoming doubts and the voices that say ‘you can’t do this.’ It’s a reminder to have confidence in myself. I still catch myself comparing my cycling ability to others, worrying about slowing people down, etc. I guess it’s those silly insecurities that even I face at times.
Yes, having a titanium rod in place of my femur and a titanium knee means I’m more cautious and can push myself only so far. And I admit there were some moments that I almost stopped. But then I reminded myself that I cleared three cancers and climbed higher hills in life than those in Iowa.
So I chose to trust myself, channel the confidence, courage and pride of facing my fears and insecurities, and lean on my friends for motivation. And when I embrace those positive feelings, life feels so good! So believe in yourself, friends. Know that you are an amazing being and your courage runs deep!
Today I choose gratitude and love
It is not lost on me how fortunate I am to be able to bike so many miles after clearing three cancers, including a femur/knee replacement. I often pinch myself to remind me that I’m alive and healthy after three cancer diagnoses.
I am always wondering how I can better help others and show appreciation for this opportunity at life. So as I rode my bike, I carried the love and determination of millions of cancer survivors, family members, friends and those we lost to the disease, including my sweet dad, in my heart.
This week served as another reminder that we all have choices. So often we think we don’t but WE DO. We have the choice of how we react to situations, who we choose to be with, what we want to do with our lives, how we choose to enjoy simple things and much more. Let’s not waste those choices. I choose to LIVESTRONG. How about you?
The positive impact of working together
I’m grateful for this week….for the strength and confidence I found in my body and mind, the amazingly kind, wonderful people I get to call friends, and the difference we made in the fight against cancer. It was a fun week of biking to support others facing cancer. I’ve always believed we are better when working together and this team continues to prove that.
If you (or someone you know) are facing cancer, check out Livestrong’s support programs at livestrong.org. And don’t forget to follow this blog for resources, motivation and more.