Life

This very special cycling jersey

It’s an honor to share this very special cycling jersey with you. It’s a culmination of my journey of clearing three cancers, my family’s resilience when three of us faced cancer, a dedicated organization supporting those facing cancer AND celebrating life. Keep reading to learn more about this very special cycling jersey.

A few weeks ago, I shared that one of the ways I’m celebrating this year is joining Livestrong to bike in the Register’s Annual Great Ride Across Iowa. Our team will be raising awareness of and funds for Livestrong’s cancer support programs. As a three-time cancer survivor, I know the value and importance of these programs: fertility assistance, navigation services, school programs, physical activities, advocacy and more. My family and I have been recipients of these resources so it’s important for me to help others benefit.

Plus, I love biking – the freedom, physical strength, new experiences and like-minded people that come with getting on a bike (read my first blog about Ruby, my road bike). And I love my Livestrong teammates. Many of these inspiring people are now close friends. We talk regularly, travel together and are there for each other through the good and bad. Everyone has been touched by cancer in some way, whether their own bodies or someone who they love. So when we come together in Iowa, we have fun – and we fight cancer together.

This will be my fourth time biking in Iowa with Livestrong (the last time I was only four weeks out of treatment for breast cancer; read that journey here). We had a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic so we’re pretty excited for this special week. And this year, it’s going to be even more special for me as we’ll be showing off a very special cycling jersey.

A little background on this very special cycling jersey

Every year, the Livestrong team selects a tribute jersey in honor or memory of someone touched by cancer and we then ride in that jersey for a day as we bike in Iowa (at RAGBRAI). In early 2020, I nominated my dad. And learned some of my teammates nominated me (I’ve cried a lot of grateful tears!). So I decided to do a joint jersey as his cancer story impacted mine in so many ways. Then world stopped in 2020, stayed paused in 2021.

Livestrong will once again have a team biking across Iowa this July. And we’ll be wearing this very special cycling jersey on one of the days. Kind of fitting since it’s 25 years from my 1st cancer diagnosis of osteosarcoma and Livestrong’s 25th anniversary of providing support programs to people facing cancer (if you know me, you know I love these signs!).

This is one of the GREATEST honors to me. Everyone on this team has a long list of deserving people to nominate. To be a recipient of this team’s kindness, support, love and friendship is…. well, my heart is so full – I’ve cried a lot of tears of gratitude. My cancer story is one of many touching our lives.

Everything in this jersey means something to me

This very special cycling jersey honors my family’s resilience
  • Red/white colors are for our love of the Detroit Red Wings. It’s also a nod to my dad’s brand loyalty to Budweiser! (he’ll get ONE day of me drinking this in Iowa!)
  • 5 sunflowers represent my favorite flower as they are joy and sunshine wrapped together and the original 5 of my family (my parents, two sisters, me) AND also represent my four nieces and nephew (sunshine in my heart).
  • Michigan….well, I love my home state.
  • Horses are my spirit animal. I rode until my second bone cancer surgery and still am obsessed with this amazing animal.
  • The horseshoe signifies good luck.
  • My younger sister, is also a melanoma survivor and another reason why I fight this disease. She’s one of my best friends. Ever since we saw Top Gun, she calls me Maverick to her Goose, co-pilots for life, thus the helmet.
  • The yellow on the end of the sleeves represents Livestrong’s yellow wristband, which always reminds me of community and the love, support and friendship I’ve found through this organization. “Unity is Strength.” (Their 25th anniversary theme is “Banded Together.”)
  • The side panels: “Today I choose…” was my mantra through my third cancer treatment and beyond. You can’t go wrong choosing love. And I truly believe we are better together….as a team, community, society.

Biking to support people facing cancer

So you can understand why this is a very special cycling jersey. I’m still wrapping my head around this honor. I am so proud to be part of this team that works hard to help others facing cancer. It is a bright spot in the darkness of the disease.

I am riding across Iowa in July to raise funds for Livestrong’s cancer support programs. My family and thousands of others benefit from these programs. If you would like to make a donation to help others facing cancer, click here. Unity is strength.

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