Cycling for a Cause | Rider Survivor Story Spotlight: Tony Menchaca
Rider and Survivor Spotlight: Tony Menchaca
Cyclists participating in the CT Challenge can meet and ride with incredibly inspiring and strong community members. CT Challenge funds The Adventure Project; Mission’s non-profit program that helps cancer survivors reclaim their lives and pursue their dreams. From snowboarding to cycling, cancer survivors receive the tools and training they need to practice, travel, and compete thanks to generous donations and beloved sponsors.
Both a supporter and active survivor, Team Captain Tony Menchaca is a crucial member of this community and loves biking for a cause. He helps cancer survivors of all ages access new opportunities, from college scholarships for teenagers and summer camps for children and exercise and nutrition programs for everyone!
Tony, 66 years young, has lived in Westport with his wife, Sarah, and family since 1990. Tony joined the CT Challenge in 2009 because the idea of supporting the mission of biking for cancer while enjoying time with friends appealed to him. “I thought it was a fun event for a great cause,” Tony said, “little did I know that I would be diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in November 2013.”
“[The most challenging part of the diagnosis] for me was one month from initial diagnosis until surgery,” Tony reflected. He would go on to endure surgery and half a year of chemotherapy. However, this did not stop him from putting up a fight and maintaining a positive attitude. “With the right attitude, we can draw on an inner strength – that we probably all have – to deal with some of our worst nightmares.”
Tony chose to focus on his family, whom he wanted to be around for decades to come. He also continued cycling for a cause. His chemo ended in July 2014, and two weeks later, he rode 25 miles for the CT Challenge. To date, Tony has raised over $100k from his rides.
“You can’t really control whether you get cancer, but you can control how you deal with [cancer] and have a positive attitude during treatment and its aftermath.” Tony elaborated on how the CT Challenge gave him the ability to deal with his cancer while also supporting others dealing with similar illnesses. He believes cancer awareness is important to prepare for potential diagnoses of family members or loved ones in the future.
Tony has taught us that it is crucial to act now; even if cancer is not affecting your daily life, it is affecting the lives of millions of Americans and could impact you in the future. “You can empathize with someone who is dealing with cancer, but you don’t really ‘get what it’s like’ to deal with cancer until you ‘get it’,” Tony said. He was empathetic to those suffering from cancer even before his diagnosis and Tony continues to ride for the CT Challenge to support survivor programs as a strong-willed survivor, himself.
Recently, Tony and his wife Sarah completed a 200-mile ride from Bruges to Amsterdam. He continues to support the CT Challenge as a Team Captain and hopes to give survivors newfound strength and purpose through the Mission programs. Click here for more information on Mission programs funded by the CT Challenge Ride.