If you were driving down route 132 from Beauharnois to Saint Timothee this August, chances are you might have seen me out biking, rain, or shine, in my orange and blue camo jersey. This is the first year I participated in the Great Cycle Challenge that raised over 9 million dollars in August in support of SickKids hospital to help fight kids’ cancer. I personally rode 314 Km and raised over $2,600 to support research into childhood cancers.
Why did I take on such an endeavor after having just finished breast cancer treatment months earlier? The answer is simple because I could. In 1984, after graduating university I went to work in research at Sick Kids hospital in Toronto. My job required me to work in partnership with the IT department and to get there I had to cross through the oncology department. Never will I forget those children with the swollen, round faces and bald heads wearing the brightest smiles. They have been engraved into my heart. Never did I imagine that years down the road my own nephew would be one of these children.
My nephew Nathan, from the age of 11 to 21 fought the bravest fight against the brain tumor that would eventually take his life. In his later years we did a pilgrimage to Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal. I pinned him with a miraculous medal, and he confided in me that he felt like a human guineapig with all the trials he had participated in. I thanked him on behalf of science and medicine, what else could I do? Well, I can try and make a difference for other children like him who should be living their lives, not fighting for their life.
I am in remission now because of all those who participated in trials that lead to treatment that are curing cancers and allowing us to live longer lives. I am not only a survivor, but a thriver and I feel a debt of gratitude to people, like young Nathan, who were brave enough to participate in experimental studies.
On most of my rides I was accompanied by my husband, who is fighting his own cancer. He is my real hero, he biked until his legs hurt so badly that he had to stop for a few days. That day I biked 40 km, I wanted to bike until it hurt, because I know that kids are suffering when they should be playing and enjoying their childhood, but they have no choice.
All I want is a world with no cancer.
For more information about our organization supporting the English speaking community please visit our website at mwcn.ca.