The 2009 Livestrong Challenge
What an incredible weekend! There were just over 6,500 riders, runners, walkers. 800 volunteers participated in the Challenge weekend. Through the generosity of 44,051 donors the event raised $3.2 million toward the fight against cancer.
The Livestrong Challenge is a 5k walk or run, or a bike ride of varying Distances Ranging from 20 to 100 milesThe purpose of the event is to raise funds and awareness for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) unites people through programs and experiences to empower cancer survivors to live life on their own terms and to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer. The LAF focuses on cancer prevention, access to screening and care, research and quality of life for cancer survivors.
This year was my 3rd Livestrong Challenge during my 100 mile ride I had a lot of time to think about why I was riding. Some of the reasons were clear to me before the ride and some came to me while riding and one almost brought me to tears.
In my life I lost my Aunt to breast cancer when I was 19 My grandfather from Prostate cancer when I was 36, My father from health issues related to his treatment. Another Aunt is fighting against breast Cancer currently. A Friend of mine has been on a 2 year battle with Lung Cancer, another died from brain cancer.
I ride because they cannot and I can.
It is no different than if a person was to hurt them in front of me. I could not stand idly by and watch it happen. I would need to do something.
It may seem silly riding a bike how can that help? Well as you read above it helped to raise 3.2 million dollars and it united over 51 thousand Riders, Runners, Walkers, Volunteers and donors in a fight against Cancer. There are four Challenges throughout the US every year and while the Challenges may not be the cure they can help to lead to one.
I want the Challenge – This year was steamy making the hundred miles through the hilly route a true challenge. It occurred to me that this is what the Challenge should be.While I am not saying that what I faced in a few hours is comparable to what a cancer patient goes through I am saying that the challenge represents on a much smaller scale amicrocosm of some of their emotions and experiences.There is pain and suffering, there is doubt and fear (tight turns on roads with gravel).There is support from others and there is the will to go on within ourselves. There are those who do not complete the challenge and those who come out stronger from it.
Stories from the road.- On my ride I came across a Father who was riding in memory of his son. On his jersey he had a picture of a boy with a smile full of life and joy. As I got closer I was able to read the dates His son was born just one year before my daughter and had succumbed to cancer in his 5th year.The gravity of what this man must of went through hit me like a truck. My thoughts went to my own child and a life without her. I could not bear the thought and here was this man with the strength to ride in his son’s memory. As I passed him a little teary eyed we exchanged nods and I rode on. I wanted to say something to him but didn’t know what. All I could think of was how sorry I was for his loss and how much respect I had for this person who was able to honor his son in this way.
Elden who started the blog Fat Cyclist Team Fat Cyclist who lost his wife just three weeks prior to the Livestrong challenge. His team raised over 275 thousand dollars they all wore Team Fat Cyclist jerseys that had the phrase “Fight Like Susan” (Elden’s Wife). Elden has been able to transcend this awful disease and his personal loss to do something positive and help others.
By participating in the Livestrong Challenge we are able to put up a fight against this repugnent disease that hurts and kills those we care for.