...And Part Time Marathoner
One in four deaths in the United States is due to cancer. 1.5 million people in the US will be diagnosed with cancer this year alone. Those figures are staggering but cant compare to the numbers that represent those who have been touched by cancer. Whether we ourselves have been diagnosed and are a survivor, or have had a family member who fought the disease or have had someone close to us that has fought it, every one of us has been affected by its terrible wrath.
As hopeless as this disease may seem, it is not. Mortality rates have dropped nearly two percent in 2014. The fight is certainly not over, but progress is being made. However, more progress is needed and for that to happen, resources are necessary.
It is for that reason that I participated in my fourth consecutive 24 Hours of Booty, around the clock bicycle fundraiser in Charlotte, NC yesterday. I was not alone on my ride as nearly 1,200 like-minded individuals who were just crazy enough to try to ride as many miles as possible joined me in the quest to raise money for cancer research.
When the race started on Friday at 6:00 pm and fundraising came to a close, the riders had raised $1,413,348.52 with all of the proceeds going directly to fight cancer.
I was asked, “Why would you try to ride for so long, isn’t that painful?” Sure it was. Anyone who has ridden a bike for any length of time knows that a bicycle seat is not exactly the most comfortable thing in the world. After a few hours it is certainly painful and it would have been easy to quit. However, seeing the race bibs of all the participants with the names of those people who they were riding in memory of made it much easier to put things in perspective.
The most poignant memory I have from the race is seeing an entire team riding for a loved one who lost the battle with leukemia. He was less than a year old. His name was Cameron and his photo adorned the back of the team’s jersey. Accompanying the picture was the question:
“He had leukemia and fought the pain. What’s your excuse? Keep pedaling”. And that sums up why I kept pedaling with my teammates past the 127 mile mark and why I will return next year to pass the 130 mile mark and beyond.
Thank you Charlotte giving birth to this event and for hosting again this year and thank you for helping to raise nearly 1.5 million dollars in funding. I will definitely be back for my fifth straight event in 2015. Until then I will keep pedaling and keep running and keep remembering how, no matter how hard I think that next mile will be, I will know that it is nothing compared to the difficulty of battling cancer.
Thank you to everyone who assisted me and supported me in my fundraising efforts. If you have a moment, check out this recap video.
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