A very personal blog - following some bad news

21 Jul 2013 5:22 PM

This is a very personal Facebook post by the Vision Crusaders Team Captain, who has consented to have it shared here. It was prompted by some bad news. Please take the time to read it and feel free to share. It's important.

This is a very personal Facebook post by the Vision Crusaders Team Captain, who has consented to have it shared here. It was prompted by some bad news. Please take the time to read it and feel free to share. It's important.

 

You can also read it here on Facebook - CLICK HERE and see all of the other comments by team fans

 


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Dear FB friends. I hope you will take the time in your busy lives to read this post, and share if you want. Its important and its very personal, and I hope will become very personal to you to. Please read this and reflect for a moment. I don't want anything but a moment of your time to read this post please.

Once again I have received some terrible news. No, I am fine, as are my family for now and all of my friends as best as I know. Well kind of. This news has reminded me of something. Something very very important. A few years ago a Sydney friend of ours lost her battle with Breast Cancer, she was better known by our friends. She was a beautiful women. Had a loving husband, children and strong and wonderful friends around her. Those friends held a function for this family to help her fund her treatment - to lessen the burden of her battle. It was an amazing function and I remember being awe struck by the support of all those around her. She survived for quite a few years and for a while there, I think we all thought she would be ok. The shock news of her death rippled through the community. She lost her battle to cancer.

At the time, I did not reveal that I too was a survivor. I had never been able to admit that to myself. I did not suffer the trauma of chemo. Just some shity surgery and the immense fear of the unknown at the time.

In 2011 I signed up to the first ever Ride to Conquer Cancer in Australia in Brisbane, thanks for the encouragement of my personal trainer Damian Glynn, and wonderful young man with a big heart, and we put a team together of other wonderful and amazing people from his gym like Sally Dunn, Nick Horne, John Mitchell and their friends to complete the first RTCC ride. For whatever reason, the RTCC folks decided to invite me to give a presentation at the opening ceremony. Wow. I was honoured and a little taken back. Speaking in front of crowds did not bother me, but somehow as the day arrived, I started to get just a little nervous. Not about giving the speech that I had prepared, but rather about whether I would hold it together.

As I delivered it, three quarters of the way through I began to choke up. Choked up with both the memory of this beautiful women who lost her battle and to my surprise, the emotion that I had felt 11 years earlier when I had my own mini battle.

You see, at the end of the day its important. Too many of us are diagnosed with Cancer, and some, like a friend of one of this years Vision Crusaders who has just been told that her cancer now is terminal. It's why I do these crazy rides. Its why all my team do these rides. It's why thousands of us do in each city.

I like to think you all care. I like to think that it matters. I believe that it does, and that the money we all raise for Cancer research ends it once and for all. So that my family, all of our friends, you and your friends and colleagues don't have to suffer. I don't think that is a selfish view is it? It is right isn't it to feel so strongly about this disease that gets 1 in 3 of us, and in Queensland, 1 in 2. Or are we all just numb with so many worthy causes?

For those that are interested. Here is a copy of the speech I gave in 2011. I had hoped it would be delivered with a positive energy and tone. Well it was I think for the most part, other than when it got tough part way through as I choked up, and then before I knew it, I had a thousand cyclists shedding tears - that was not my intention. I hadn't read it in a while. It still makes me choke up today.

So this is why I ride. Why I am so passionate. Why I work so hard at getting the attention of my friends to help. I hope you understand and hope you don't get sick of hearing from me about it. I hope I have your support?

---- 2011 first Australian RTCC ride speech. Inspired by my own memory and the memory of friends, family and colleagues that have suffered or lost their battle -----

Good morning fellow riders and supporters! What an epic 2 days lies ahead. I am so excited and privileged to be asked to share my story with you here this morning.

I was first diagnosed with a serious Melanoma in 2000, and had a second in 2003. It was a terrifying experience made worse by the fact that my wife and I were expecting our first child 4 weeks after I was first diagnosed. Our son Joel is now 11. The surgery that followed was not a pleasant experience, but I was lucky. Lucky that the latest research allowed a less invasive operation and sentinel node biopsy that followed. I have been in a melanoma research and monitoring program since that operation, which has given me reassurance but has also never allowed me to forget the shadow of cancer.

So what brings me to this ride? Late November last year, 14 months from turning 50 years of age I decided to lose weight, get fit, healthy and fix the wasted muscle in my right leg due to arthritis, before the big 5 0. I found a personal trainer, Damian Glynn from West Burleigh Vision Personal Training – who is also here today riding in our team! 3 months later Damian had changed my life, however, he felt I needed a new challenge – but I was not convinced. In passing, he mentioned this Conquer Cancer ride one afternoon, 200 km over the next 24 hours! I had never ridden more than 5 klms in my life nor raised funds for a cause before, but 24 hours after his suggestion, I signed up. I was hooked emotionally to this great cause. And why wouldn’t I be! With Damian’s help, we formed a team we called “Vision PT”, which now comprises 15 riders. We have raised over $47,000 so far. What a great team we have.

Since then, other friends and family have been diagnosed with cancer, some have passed away and others are facing the battle for life and not a day passes that someone’s family isn't touched by this disease in some way. This disease must be stopped in its tracks and research will make that happen.

We are all given one opportunity to live this life, and live is what I and every cancer survivor deserves to do to its fullest. I am here riding today, committing myself along with all of you to complete this ride, and hopefully the next one, and the next one… until we have conquered cancer.

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To donate to my Perth ride, please click here