Thursday, September 07, 2006

The LiveSTRONG Challenge is here!!

We believe in life.
Your life.
We believe in living every minute of it with every ounce of your being.
And that you must not let cancer take control of it.
We believe in energy: channeled and fierce.
We believe in focus: getting smart and living strong.
Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.
This is the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

LiveSTRONG Manifesto Video
(WARNING - This may make you tear up a little .. in a good way!)

This weekend Jim and I are heading up to Philadelphia for the LiveSTRONG Challenge.

With your help, we have raised $4,393.01!!!!!

I thought along time about this ride and who I would ride for. Obviously, I could ride for myself, to celebrate my 19 months of survivorship since being diagnosed but I celebrate that every time I get on my bike, every time I slip into my running shoes, every morning that I open my eyes.

So then who would I ride for and how? Do I ride "In Support?" Do I ride "In Honor?" Do I ride "In Memory?"

The answer to those questions is: YES, I ride for all those reason.

These are the pictures that will be pinned to my jersey - believe me, I could have filled it with 100 more names...

I have never met Jeanne, she was gone before I was born and I am sad to say that I didn't even know that I had lost an Aunt to Brain Cancer until I requested donations from extended family. When I found out, I immediately asked my cousin Debbie if i could ride in her mother's Memory.

I had the pleasure of knowing Rose for 6 years. I'm sad that it was such a short time but I am a different woman because of Rose. She was a loving, spunky generous woman who was a pleasure to be around and who I and my co-workers miss dearly. Rose died of Pancreatic Cancer less than 3 months after her initial diagnosis. It was shocking and a hard lesson in the viscous nature of cancer. Less than 3 months after Rose passed, I found out that I had Melanoma. I have always felt like Rose is my guardian angel, watching over me with her comfy monkey socks on!


My Uncle Jim is one of my "LiveSTRONG" Heroes. About a year before my own diagnosis, I found out that he was diagnosed with colon cancer. The Doctors prognosis was grim... less than a year. Early on, when I heard about his cancer, I sent him and my Aunt a set of Live STRONG bracelets and told him about Lance Armstrong. My Aunt then went on-line and bought 20 bracelets to hand out of fellow patients at Uncle Jim's chemo center. That is the kind of woman my Aunt is! Strong and full of Positive Energy.

My Uncle, Jim Bowdish has been fighting hard and strong for over 2 years now. That shows how much Doctors know about strength and will especially from a real tough Yankee.

He is currently on the last kind of chemo they can give him and each round of chemo has worked at keeping the cancer at bay which is what we want. His next step is to look for clinical trials. He and Aunt Pat work hard with his Doctors to keep on top of new chemo drugs because you never know when another will be approved in the next weeks or months.

His fight continues daily and he is the epitome of what it means to "Live STRONG". Whenever I felt sorry for myself over this past year, I would think of him and know that I was not the only one fighting.

FINALLY, I want to dedicated my ride to a special group of people that the cancer community calls: CAREGIVERS


They are our spouces, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, family, friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends. They are the ones who pick us up when we are down. Who comfort us and support us and who remind us every day that we are loved and that our lives have value and are worth fighting for. They are also the ones who honor and respect us and our decisions, even when those decisions come down to choosing "quality of life" over "length of life".

For myself personally, I can tell you that the strength and the courage and the endurance that you see coming from me is nothing but a reflection of that which Jim and my family and friends give to me, unselfishly, on a daily basis.

I LiveSTRONG because I am truly loved and valued and therefore love and value myself.

SO, off we go ... onto Philadelphia .. to ride our bikes and Celebrate, Honor, Support and Remember!

I'll come back with pictures!



TriFeist said...

Damn! You warned us about the video but that's intense. Congratulations on your survivorship, on making an impact in the lives of cancer patients through fundraising, and on honoring/supporting those around you.

You rock! Fuck cancer! My friend's 5 year survivorship is this December. The party will be huge at my house. Can't WAIT until we throw the same party for you.

Carver said...

Hi Holly,

The video was incredibly powerful. Although I've been to the livestrong web site many times, I've never seen the video and I'm so glad you included it in this post. Your post was also very powerful. I hope you have/had a great ride. You are a marvel.

As ever, Carver