Until you witness a Tour de PINK and enter the “bubble” as we like to call it, you just do not know the feeling. It is one weekend out of the year where we all enter this bubble of love, support, friendship, fundraising, and all things good.
However, just like Tour de PINK takes us along beautiful roads and rolling hills only to turn a corner and suddenly face a mountainous hill to climb; so does life.
Most of you are already aware that a few weeks prior to last year’s ride, I fell down the steps. On the other hand, maybe my guardian angel pushed me.
Either way, I ended up with a bruised arm, a hurt shoulder and a sore armpit from a poor attempt to catch myself on the way down the steps. The bruises had healed but my armpit still did not feel right and I could not stop thinking about it and continued to poke around the sore area. I decided to err on the side of caution and made an appointment to see my doctor when I returned from the 2018 East Coast Tour de PINK.
I saw her as soon as I returned and she did not like the way it felt either and sent me for an immediate ultrasound, which led to a biopsy.
I found out days after the 2018 Tour de Pink that my breast cancer is back. This time in distant lymph nodes and considered metastatic triple negative breast cancer (yep....that mountainous hill that appeared suddenly).
A lot has happened since last October. After much research, an agonizing decision, and the urging of my previous oncologist, I have left my previous health care team and entered a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins. I stay in contact with my previous oncologist, who believes this trial (which was not offered at her hospital) is the right place for me. I am very comfortable with my new health care team. They believe in me. I believe in me. I receive chemotherapy once a week, three weeks on and one off and take a study drug (or possibly a placebo) that is specifically targeting my type of cancer. At the time of writing this, latest scans show that cancer is stable and all organs; lung, liver, bones are still clear of cancer.
While the CT scan results are relatively good news....
THIS ABSOLUTELY SUCKS!
I have no words to describe how I feel. I AM MAD!!
I am mad, but I am ready to climb whatever hill life throws in my path.
At the 2018 Tour de PINK dinner Saturday Night, Lisa Frank (TdP founder) and Jill Frey talked about the 20 years of the Young Survival Coalition, how it all started, what they are most proud of and how the YSC touches people’s lives. At the end of their video, they talked about my first Tour de PINK. They mentioned how ten years ago I was in treatment for my recurrence and could barely ride my bike but was determined to get on the road. I was wobbly and hiked more hills than I biked but I made it to the finish of the 2008 Tour de PINK and to the finish of treatment for that recurrence. I did it with the help of MANY people; Family, Friends, and of course the YSC.
Ten years later, I find myself facing another colossal hill. Treating this type of cancer is a marathon, not a sprint, and there will be many hills to climb along the way.
Which leads me to this BIG announcement... I have signed up for the 2019 East Coast Tour de Pink.
I am focusing on living my life with as much normalcy as possible; and for me, part of living is riding.
You have supported my fundraising efforts in the past and for that, I thank you. I am asking, again, that you show your support for the Young Survival Coalition with a donation today. I may have aged out of the “young” category, but once a young survivor always a young survivor! The YSC, and the connections I have made because of them, have continued to support me in many ways. From Resource Guides dealing with Metastatic Cancer to emails from staff and fellow riders who drop a line to let me know they are "just checking in". Tour de Pink is much more than a bike ride, it is a chance to 'climb together' by riding or donating to honor survivors, raise awareness, and support important programs for young women affected by breast cancer. I hope I can count on you to help me reach my fundraising goal (and personal mission to support the YSC)!
Your donation will directly support Young Survival Coalition and ensure that no young woman faces breast cancer alone. YSC offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful. YSC is the only national nonprofit that solely focuses on serving young women under the age of 40 affected by breast cancer. YSC serves over 8,000 women each year with support and education to be their best health advocate throughout all stages of breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and long-term survivorship.
Cancer can be a very isolating disease, and especially so for a young woman who may still be finishing their education, starting a career, and building her romantic and family life. YSC’s supportive services include: in-person support groups around the country, online video support groups, one-on-one peer mentoring, creation and distribution of free educational materials for survivors, co-survivors and healthcare providers, a training program for survivors to amplify the need for expanded research and advocacy, and an annual conference called the YSC Summit. Read more about YSC here: youngsurvival.org
You can view YSC’s audited financials and annual reports online here: youngsurvival.org/who-we-are/financial-information
How will your donation help?
$25 could fund YSC materials at three healthcare providers’ offices.
$100 could provide a Newly Diagnosed Navigator to six women when they need it most.
$250 could allow us to train four survivors to serve as a peer supporters.
$500 could fund a survivor advocate in our RISE training program
$1,200 could pay for two young women to travel to the YSC Summit, an annual conference for young women affected by breast cancer and their co-survivors.
Any amount helps!
As I train for this amazing ride, I plan to update this page frequently along with my social media accounts so that all of my supporters can see my progress. If we are not already connected on Facebook, send me a friend request!
Thank you in advance for your support. I truly appreciate your generosity