Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Can you spell remission. Can you spell joy. Can you say cancer free. It sounds like music to my ears
Yesterday my niece Amanda left a voice mail on my cell phone - letting her uncle Jan know that her bone marrow biopsy - after 2 years and 7 months fro,m the day she went into the hospital with a bad nose bleed - which turned into leukemia - was CLEAN!!! We could not be happier. (I tried to call her back - but she was celebrating I guess).
I want to thank all of you for your emails, friendship, support, thoughts, prayers runs, bikerides ... or which ever way you have expressed your support. Amanda has just - with good grades - finished her second semester in a community college and for the first time she can celebrate a summer again ....
cancer was defeated again!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
My fellow sparkers. This afternoon was very special for a couple of families, and it was special for me.
Four years ago, I met a scared young lady. She was scared because she had just been diagnosed with leukemia, and what I was about to do to her, was not pleasant - a bone marrow biopsy. She was there with her mom, and we got to chat. She was a remarkable woman, and instantly we connected.
A week later I met her in the hallways. She looked upset. I asked her what was the matter. She needed another bone marrow biopsy. I asked her if she wanted me to do it? Much to my surprise she said - she would like to but she was afraid to ask. And I did another - which was uneventful.
Because she and I and her family got to know each other - we continued to stay in touch (I left the hospital for another), and this young - and strong lady has been one of my honoree's on the bike rides, runs, and the triathlons.
I could continue the details - but won't - but leave it to say - the next years she has been to hell and back. Her family are wonderful and one person in particular has been at her side the entire way. Her boyfriend, who she knew since 2 or 3rd grade. They have been there through her bone marrow transplant and her ins and outs of the hospital.
Today was the day where 'for better and for worse' and 'in sickness and in health' took on a new meaning. My honoree and her boyfriend - turned fiancée, became husband and wife, and I was privileged to be there when they tied the knot.
Needless to say they are doing well, and I feel so fortunate to see this happy occasion - because cancer - this time you lost!!!
Please take a minute to view this piece from our local Fox affiliate
(I am not sure where the heart transplant comes from - reporters - what can I say).
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
On Friday morning, 7am we took off from Cleveland to Minneapolis - and on to Sacramento - and loaded the bus to go to Tahoe ... it was not the prettiest weather. Lots of low clouds, sprinkles (and I had heard the s word in the forecast) - We got out bikes - and Friday night one of the mules (Mark) invited us over to the house he has rented (he is here with his family and a few friends). Grillin' and chillin - it was great.
Saturday morning: It is grey outside. Temp 39. The national weather service says 'Mostly sunny, with a high near 73. Northwest wind between 5 and 8 mph. ' hmmm. sunny remains to be seen. I had a great 8+ hrs sleep last night - don't remember when that last happened.
The shakedown ride was relatively uneventful - we rode about 8 miles, and some issues with derailleurs were identified. We found out how cold it is going to be tomorrow and some of us went to get some apparel we should have thought of when we packed. Fortunately we can get it in skiing stores where they are having good sales. - I met with three of my friends from 'cyclists combating cancer' and we spent a good hour together. Two mules (John and Scott joined us).
In the interim we got our race package - and (mule) Mark is riding with # 6 tomorrow (at this event the top 10 fundraisers for LLS will ride with 1-10). He has raised a little more then $23k.
The big new of the pasta party - this event raised more than$6.8M and the 26 members of the Northern Ohio team raised $171.000. (Just received the number).
4am came early. The sky was grey, but no rain :-) so we were hopeful. We assembled in hotel lobby and rode over to the start line. At 6:20 the first northern Ohio team rolled out. It was cool, but pleasant. Before we rolled out mule scott reminded me that I had just blown out of the gate last year, and it was not a good idea ... well he should practice what he preach - because who blew out of the gate at 20mph. That was kind of our average until the switch backs of emerald bay. We climbed Emerald bay - could have been prettier - but it was deliberate pedaling. The stage for the rest of the ride is set and we cruised.
At this point I should probably say - mule John did not ride with us. He was not feeling well, so he rode with a Philly team mate. Our team (pace line or 'train') was mule Scott and Mule Mark - with us we had two Yak's Rachel and Laura who was an incredible asset, and then at times we were joined by other team mates from Northern Ohio, but they had a hard time keeping up with us. A couple of times the 'train' dropped off a rider, but we I was one of them.
We did have a small mishap - on a bike trail someone not from our team - stopped abruptly - and there was a pile up of four cyclists - BUT no scratches.
We met at Spooner and rode in together - content ... headed over to the finish line where the pizza and beer waited, and cheering the rest of our team, who both for medical reasons did the perimeter of Tahoe (72 miles). When John came in - I met him as he made the last turn - and I ran next to him for the past 200 yards.
The ride of 2009 is now completed - once again cyclists showed we don't brake for cancer! There is one person whom I have decided to give something special to this year. Just before we left - I learned through a friend that a young and well respected police officer had lost his battle to leukemia. Police officers are special people and although his name is not on the jersey - this years jersey will go to either his department or his family (their choice).
As for 2010.... a couple of things are being considered. No decisions are made - the mules have started talking about some way of doing Seattle to Portland through a different chapter so we can raise money - or perhaps I will do a half iron man ... stay tuned for a decision later this year. (A half ironman is 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.1 mile run).
If you want to see the elevation map for Tahoe ... http://www.bikethewest.com/Art/AMBBR-Elev.
To my honoree's - thanks for the inspiration to continue to do this
To my donors thank you for allowing me to do this one more year
To Mules - John, Mark, and Scott - plus Yaks Laura and Rachel - you guys ROCK.
To everyone else - thank you for all your support and encouragement in email, website postings etc
Saturday, June 06, 2009
My dear friends - it is the first morning in Lake Tahoe - 39 degrees, grey sky, and wet streets.
The trip out here was uneventful, but long. Yesterday - the mules hung out - and Mark who is here with his family cooked and we had a blast. It was great to catch up.
The agenda today
Breakfast - shakedown ride - meet with friends from Cyclists combating cancer pasta party and early to bed.
Oh, did I tell you - as of yesterday morning the northern ohio team has raised $173.000 in our fight against blood cancers. Cancer you better get it soon - because you WILL lose.
Now make it a great day ... from your 'mule reporter ' in Tahoe.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Well it is a gorgeous day in this area, so why not go for a bike ride with some of my team members I am heading to Tahoe with. 69 miles - hilly miles I may add. It was a ride which started at the LLS chapter office, and heading east ... south and then west. If you think NE Ohio is not hilly - I have news for you. There were lots of hills, and they came at you fast and furious. Three of us decided to ride together and did a rotating group, so we were changing who was up front about every mile.
It was great - and at the end of the ride - we turned the bikes in to be kept in storage until they are picked up and leaving for Tahoe. We will be reunited with out bikes on Friday 6.5.09 for the 6.7.09 ride.
I have had something to eat - and as I was going through my mail an acquaintance send a mail to a list serv I subscribe to .. on e of his friends was diagnosed with Lymphoma. It seem to be a never ending story.... but you know cancer - you have picked a fight with the wrong team. (modified from Lance Armstrong).
My friend John recently wrote to me 'I was thinking about this. Ever notice when a person beats cancer, they do it fair and square with everything they have, strength grit and hope all rolled into one. But when cancer tries to win, it cheats. It attacks when you least expect it with no warning and it doesn't care who it attacks. It is the lowest form of something because its willing to pick on a child, even babies. Its gutless and I think its afraid of a fair fight. Let's keep fighting back. Cancer doesn't stand a chance against this team!!!!'
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