The CT Challenge is more than just a bike ride. The CT Challenge is an idea, a radial concept that seems so simple but only recently has come to light. The idea of working with and addressing the post-treatment concerns of cancer survivors was not on the radar of health care providers, insurance companies, or the general public for years; however, as a cancer survivor, these thoughts and concerns have been in the back of my mind for over 8 years. The CT Challenge is an opportunity for anyone who has been affected by cancer in some way to step up, grind out the miles on their bikes over some beautiful and challenging hills, and raise money and awareness for a much needed cause.
I was diagnosed with stage II testicular cancer in 1998 when I was 22. At that time, I was finishing graduate school, and a cancer diagnosis was an unforeseen obstacle that I had to overcome to continue on with my life. The surgeries and chemotherapy treatments I received saved my life, but more than 8 years later I still live with side effects from those interventions. After numerous consults with various doctors, I felt that these side effects would be a permanent reminder of my battle with cancer, and that I could not do anything about them.
This is why the CT Challenge is vital to the 100,000+ cancer survivors in the state of CT, and as a model for the over 10 million cancer survivors in the country. The CT Challenge has created the funds to start Connecticut’s only survivorship clinic at Yale New Haven Hospital in October 2006. This clinic addresses the specific concerns of us after we have finished our active treatments, including returning to exercising, eating right to regain strength and to prevent a reoccurrence, and dealing with the psychosocial aspects of being a cancer survivor. Lance Armstrong has said that “life after cancer is all about living,” and he’s right. It’s not enough to just barely make it through the tough treatments to rid our bodies of cancer. We as cancer survivors should carry on our lives with confidence. The CT Challenge and the CT Challenge Survivorship Clinic empowers cancer survivors to continue forward to overcome any obstacle that comes our way.