Today kicked off my week long fundraiser for Team In Training, an organization that brings together athletes to raise money for cancer research, and to be honest it didn’t start off so good. Not the fundraiser, but my morning. For whatever reason, probably after effects of the chemo treatment, I was “backed up”. Like (sorry about the TMI…or maybe I’m not sorry) I could go to the bathroom, but not fully, and so all morning I would sit on the couch to read and not a minute later have to get up and go to the bathroom again…but with little success. Then I’d go back out and read again, then scurry back to the bathroom…over and over again, trying clear myself of enough unpleasantries that I wouldn’t be affected during my actual riding. The last thing I wanted was to be forced to constantly stop pedaling and head off to the bathroom in the middle of my event. And that was my morning. Back and forth to the bathroom. Back and forth, back and forth. Why am I telling you this? Well, because despite how awesome the rest of my day was, this is still the reality of my existence, the ever present annoyances of cancer, treatment and post-surgery recovery. I can have a great day, pedal for hours, lift weights at the gym, remain in a great mood, but all day I’m still dealing with these frustrations and physical complications that I don’t let on to. It’s not fun.
Regardless, I got that problem out of the way and drove into town to set up for the event. I’ve committed to riding 3 hours a day on a trainer in a highly visible public area to both gain exposure for the Team In Training mission and to raise money for cancer research. I set up without any complications, the weather was PERFECT, and so I got to pedaling right away. Soon enough my good friend, bad ass professional mountain biker, and Team In Training coach (who got me into this whole thing) Sally Marchand Collins showed up with her dog Charley to ride along with me. It was fantastic having her keep me company and help talk away the time as we spun and spun and spun…going nowhere.
Then soon enough the donations started trickling in. Some from people who felt bad that we were pedaling all afternoon and they were just sitting in their office working. Others from friends. And others still, from cancer survivors and people touched by cancer. Those small gestures were the most touching and although I only had brief conversations, a mere “Thank you, I appreciate it” offered, I felt most rewarded by their small sacrifice. Although my main goal is to raise $2000 for Team In Training, the emotional reward I felt by enabling those affected by cancer to contribute to crucial research outweighed all other concerns. It was fantastic to just be out there and make those small connections, to allow those silently dealing with cancer to make a small gesture towards their own benefit.
It may confuse you a bit to know I’m raising money for Team In Training, who specifically deal with research towards Leukemia and Lymphoma, devastating blood cancers, which I don’t have, but I’m drawn to TNT for a couple reasons. One, I love the athletic approach they take to spread the word, making a loose connection between healthy, active living and the value such a lifestyle has towards preventing and battling cancer. I truly don’t think I would be able to conduct this fundraiser or ride the Century in September if it wasn’t for the healthy life I lived up to my diagnosis, so to carry this torch forward is important to me. Second, although the cancer research towards Leukemia and Lymphoma is not directly related to MY specific type of cancer (Psuedomyxoma Peritonei), the gains made in battling one specific cancer can carry over to others as well. The surgery I initially endured in April was developed specifically for my type of cancer, but it was so effective that it is now used on a number of other cancers, so the cross-over methods and information can be crucial in helping find cures across the board. So ultimately, it’s not that strange to raise money for TNT despite the research being conducted for Leukemia and Lymphoma…and really, are you going to argue with me about this?
Finally, after three hours of pedaling, some media attention and a few awkward interactions with the downtown crowd Sally and I slowed our legs to a halt and stepped off to stretch. We didn’t pull in a huge amount of money, but I didn’t expect to either. The area gets busier later in the week and the media attention will hopefully draw people to the cause, so I expect more fundraising success later in the week. In all though, the day was wonderful (despite the morning’s complications) and I followed up the ride by heading to the gym for my new strength program and then home for a big salad and some rejuvenating coffee.
And tomorrow I’ll be back at it!