For the rest of my life, when someone mentions Cycle for Survival or Memorial Sloan-Kettering one word will come to mind: INSPIRATIONAL!
As the oldest and largest private cancer center, people travel from all over the United States, and world, to gather research, treatment, hope, and a plan from the experts. And that, as it was made clear from the many people who spoke at yesterdays ride, is exactly who those at Memorial Sloan-Kettering are. They are experts in helping concoct plans for people with rare cancers; cancers that are not only impossible to pronounce, but a million times harder to medically attack.
|So many bikes.... so much fun!|
The hope that the first speaker, Dave Linn, husband of the late Jennifer Goodman-Linn (founder of Cycle for Survival) shed was breathtaking. Dave shared Jennifer's said spirit in his speech, when reminding the crowd to "breathe" and "and take in each day both the good and the bad, but to choose how we react". Linn also suggested to "be present" in life and love, because it is short and can be sweet for certain (that last part my was my rendition). Dave Linn is obviously still very involved with Cycle for Survival, even after losing his wife almost two years ago. Listening to this man speak about his late wife, how her face would light up when she got on the spin bike, about her smile, her passion, her laugh, really put it all into perspective: We need to slow down and enjoy. We need to do things for today, and not put them off until tomorrow. Small, trivial things like laundry, cleaning, shopping can wait, and that time can be used to TREASURE those around you . Whether it be your family, your spouse, old or new friends, or a child- treasure them. Be present in your time with them, so much so that you can remember a vivid facial gesture as they mount a bike, contort their face into a smile or frown, or simply laugh at a funny joke.
The second speaker was sister of Lisa Gallup, a former MA resident, who lost her battle with rare cancer in December of 2012. Lisa's team, FabULISA, was VERY well represented at the ride; adorned in kelly green T-shirts. She painted a picture of her sister's passion, positive outlook, and determination. She sparked such a curiosity about this girl, who was younger than me when she passed, that I visited Jennifer Goodman-Linn's blog to inquire. After she passed, Dave Linn wrote a wonderful post about Lisa, and how lucky he felt to have met her and equally sad to see her, another great person, taken by this disease.
|Battle Bike signed by those who RIDE!|
The last speaker, my friend Sarah, shared why she rode yesterday, and did so with such ease, passion and inspiration many people were put to tears. Sarah shared a similar thought to one found on Jennifer Goodman-Linn's blog: Cancer CAN"T define you. Instead, you need cherish your family and loved ones today. Run, sing, dance, travel, sing, spend time with friends or children today if you told yourself you would; because "today" is a blessing. Sarah shared that she was riding for her, "because she had to, and because she wants to." Being a brain cancer survivor is a feat, and that positivity resonated in her voice; the same voice I hear everyday while interacting with our students. But that does not mean the fight is over. She shared that reoccurrence is likely and that her prognosis is far from great ( I HATE writing that), but why sit around and cry? Instead, she chooses to ride, in the hopes that a cure will be found, and to fund nontraditional treatments for rare cancers that lack exposure, funding and support. Sarah shared that she was not only riding for herself, a brain cancer survivor, but she is riding for those who couldn't. Those who may have lost their fight, and more specifically a friend who was taken too soon. This friend, like so many others we come across in life, was unable to grow old.
In closing, this was a moving event to say the least. Friends and families sharing the common belief that ONE DAY a cure will come.
I gathered a thoughts to live by, and I would love to share them with you:
1) Be present in everything that you do. Embrace the activity and the people around you.
2) Live your life. take chances, risks, days off, and don't sweat the small stuff
3) Cherish your family, friends and support group. They are what matters.
|Team SASS... Can anyone find my forehead?|
Needless to say, I was moved to tears on my then one occasion. Cycle for Survival has raised over $11 million thus far in 2013!! I hope, pray and wish they continue to raise funds of this capacity to provide hope, support and a plan of attack for all those affected. This event ROCKED, as do those from Cycle for Survival!
Links that helped me write this post that you may be interested in:
Jennifer Goodman-Linn's Blog YOUfearless
Cycle for Survival's Webpage