My first CT Challenge took place barely a year after I had completed my treatment for breast cancer. Officially declared a survivor, the first thing I did was to go out and buy a road bike and my early morning rides became the highpoint in my day. The CT Challenge was to be the first fundraising event I had ever taken part in, and my goal was to get fit enough to ride further than I had ever done before – but the day was meaningful to me for a completely different reason.
First; there was the feeling of just being there. While I know I was just one of many riders, it all felt big to me because I had pushed myself beyond my comfort level, over and over again — both in training and fundraising.
Second, there was the excitement and energy of the riders, the volunteers and the spectators. Cyclists surrounded me, many in colorful jerseys, and all smiling happily. This cheerfulness was sincere and constant — before, during and after the ride. But most importantly, like me, they were doing something they love: cycling, and something they are passionate about: supporting cancer survivors. There were moments during the ride when the hills were tougher than I expected, but I felt strong and determined to finish. I felt lucky to be on my bicycle on a beautiful summer morning, surrounded by so many people that were there for the same reasons.
This brings me back to the beginning and how the Greenwich Associates Team got together. After becoming healthy again, I was stunned by the lack of resources available to the growing number of survivors, and the purpose of the CT Challenge gave me the resolve to make a contribution. Several weeks before last year’s event, I spontaneously sent out an e-mail to my colleagues at work asking if they were interested in joining me. The response was equally spontaneous, and went beyond my wildest expectations: within several hours we had a team of riders – and an ambitious fundraising goal!
I will continue to ride – not only in the CT Challenge but also on those early mornings – to honor all those who show unexpected and often heroic degrees of courage and strength to fight their disease to survive.