The past six years have been a roller coaster ride. The past few weeks mirrored the experience. Getting the call from Bristol-Myers Squibb telling me I had been selected for the Tour of Hope team was an incredible high. I spent my teens and twenties pursuing adventures like this type of cycling journey, mainly for the exhilaration and sense of accomplishment. Now I had the opportunity to do it again, but this time for a greater purpose and vital cause. If I can help further the goal of putting cancer in the rearview mirror of human experience, I would ride to the moon.
But just like that roller coaster and life, there have been some major lows on the ride. The day after I found out I was a finalist, my friend Scott lost his battle with Leukemia. He was a superstar in business, a wonderful father, a loving husband, a great friend to have, and a cancer crusader. I met Scott in Minneapolis in January 2003 when he was flying around raising funds his company. I sat in the lobby of a hotel and had a glass of water with him an hour before I began chemotherapy. It was incredibly assuring to see him energetic, full of life, in full stride with his career only months after he had completed chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. I thought to myself "If he can do that, I can get through 6 months of chemotherapy!" So with that in mind, I gulped my pills for 5 days and on the 6th skied a 35K cross country ski marathon.
Now is my time to carry that flag for others in this battle, or those that will come after us. This year, I am having my best year since being diagnosed six years ago. I am absolutely thrilled that I get to celebrate my health with a journey like this. An hour after that call I was out vigorously pumping the pedals and working the lungs. I have been waiting six years to have this chance again.
Along the way I want to tell people about Scotts courageous battle. I want to share the story about how my struggles a year ago passed and paved the way to the excellent health I have today. The truth about how new treatments gave the two of us the hope and chance of a better tomorrow. I am grateful, honored, blessed, and humbled to have been given this opportunity. I am excited to get to know my teammates and eager to learn more about groundbreaking work being done by the individuals and companies involved with the ride.
For now, I am ready to roll. With that in mind, and as we say in my group, Cyclists Combating Cancer, its time to RIDE TO LIVE!