Friday, June 15, 2012

One piece...

Tomorrow I will be riding in the Huntsman 140 bike ride starting in Delta, Utah, and finishing at the doors of the Huntsman Cancer Institute on the University of Utah Campus. This has been a quite a journey for me, and it all started with a friend telling me that I ought to do it. At the time, I don't think I really realized what it would take, or where it would take me.

During my training the last month, I've learned a lot of things about me, and I've had some insights into my life. I've found some pieces.

When I started preparing for this ride, it was really just about the challenge to myself. Could I really do 140 miles I wondered? Tonight, I'm still wondering. One Hundred and Forty miles is Fifty Four miles farther than I have ever gone in one ride. I'm intimidated. I'm even a little scared. Even just this last Monday, I was considering doing only the 75-mile portion of the ride.

But in the last three days since I actually registered, and since I started to fundraise, a few things have changed. I'm still riding to see if I can make it. I'm riding to push myself, and to prove it to myself. I've begun to think of it as my own little 2012 Olympics.

But I'm also riding for cancer now. I'm riding for the people that are sick, the people that have struggled, fought, and learned life lessons from the illness that they have. I'm riding for those that lost that battle, and those that won.

When I was about 11, my brother’s wife was diagnosed with Leukemia. I remember when everyone was talking about it. I remember when she came to visit shortly after the Chemo treatments, how she had short, short hair. And then I remember when the cancer came back, and she died. I remember standing there in the room when they closed the casket, and I clearly remember the finality of that moment. Sadly, it was only the first time that I would experience that finality.

I remember reading lots of articles about cancer when I was younger. For some reason, they always struck me.

And when I watched the movie Shadowlands, it sparked a deep fear inside of me. A fear that one day that story could become "Mylands". A story where I would find someone, only to lose them to cancer or some other such disease.

Even just a month or so ago, one of my cousins succumbed to cancer herself after a hard struggle. She was about 22 years old.

So there you have it. Yes, we can learn from cancer and the experiences that it brings into our lives, but I think it's also worth the struggle and effort to find a cure. The struggle towards a way to relieve the suffering that it brings to so many people. And certainly, it is worth the struggle to find better, more mild  treatment methods.

Today, I went down to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation offices and just walked around for a few minutes. Then I went over to the Hunstman Cancer Institute and walked the halls there for a while. I wanted to see what sort of organization I was riding for tomorrow, and I wanted to see what I was asking people to donate to. I was impressed, and pleased. If I had cancer and I was going in for traditional medical treatments, I don't think I'd want to go anywhere else.

In the various waiting rooms that I wandered through, there were jigsaw puzzles for people to work on. How Ironic, I thought to myself. I sat down for a minute long enough to find an edge piece. Yes, it was just one piece, and an easy one at that, but I put it in and left it done for the next person.

One less piece for them to find...

Thanks to those who have donated to the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and have supported me on this ride. If you still would like to donate, please visit this link:

This photograph was taken by, and is used with the permission of Kimberly Barlow.