It was one year ago when I joined the ranks of so many women who have been afflicted with breast cancer.

I began a roller coaster of emotions when I went from thinking it would be just a minor lumpectomy, to the complicated physical and emotional journey of a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I was blessed with incredible support from my family, amazing friends, and a trio of doctors who led me through a very difficult journey.

Before my diagnosis, cancer touched my life when one of my best friends endured a 3-year battle with pancreatic cancer with amazing grace; two of my beautiful friends continue to deal with a multiple myeloma diagnosis; and my dad surrendered to acute myeloid leukemia with unwavering strength and faith.

When my diagnosis came I was training for a triathlon and extensive surgery and recovery were not part of my plan! So a year after that life changing day when my doctor’s voice said “are you driving,” and I pulled over and began my journey, I am eternally grateful to the incredible support network who fed my family, got me to doctors, and sat with me for hours while I recuperated from all the surgery.

Being able to do the Connecticut Challenge is a part of the ongoing healing process that I now embrace.

I am riding because I have experienced first hand the importance of a support network when you are faced with a cancer diagnosis.  I am riding to acknowledge the ongoing battles of my dear friends who have also joined the ranks of the survivors.  And I am riding for my dad and Reeze, who left me with wonderful memories and continue to inspire me everyday.

Like the ongoing recovery process Team “CAM Girls” embraces hard work, laughter and getting a little misty in the process!

Photo (l-r) Carol Ann, her sister Diane, and daughter Emma