Note: This is a guest blog post. If you have a personal story to share about why you are doing Obliteride, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team LEGS (Lauren, Emily, Geri, and Samantha) is four friends who have plenty in common. We are all graduate students at Seattle University, and love crafting, yoga, pub trivia and nail-painting. One thing we wish we didn’t have in common is the fact that we’ve all been affected by cancer. So, along with our friends and family, we’ve made a commitment to team up with the Hutch and obliterate cancer.
We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re not cyclists, so we need to train. We can’t donate all the money ourselves, so we need to fundraise creatively. We can’t bring back the people we’ve lost, but we can take this small step to stand up to cancer.
Here are our stories:
Cancer has affected me since before I realized it. When my mom was nine months pregnant with me, we lost my Ota to prostate cancer. Then, in 1999 my grandpa (other side of the family) was also diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thankfully, he survived the disease and had a great contribution to shaping the person I am today.
I ride so that stories of my Ota can someday become lived experiences for other children, and so that medical advances can continue to save lives such as that of my grandpa.
I ride in honor of the amazing family and friends I have lost to cancer, the people who pushed me, encouraged me, and inspired me to be the person I am today.
I ride to end cancer - in honor of my mother, Jennifer Jane Hansen Guillen, who lost her battle in June 2006 at 51 years old, and my best friend, Elizabeth America Vega Mikesell, who lost her battle in August 2011 at 23 years old. Gone but never forgotten.
First and foremost I ride for my mom – a woman who has played the cards life dealt her with a grace and fortitude that continues to inspire me every day. Growing up, it never dawned on me just how lucky I am to still have my mom in my life. The concept of cancer didn’t sink in the way I’m sure it would today. But I sure know it now and that realization inspires me to ride the 25 miles not only for her, the best mom in the world, but for all those who have not been as lucky as I have and have lost loved ones to cancer.
I’m no stranger to loss. In my 27 years, I’ve lost my grandmother, my mother and father, and last month, I lost my aunt. She was the only family I had left, but after a two-year battle with breast and lung cancer, she simply couldn’t fight any longer.
I’m blessed to have countless friends, an amazing boyfriend, and an extra cuddly puppy. But I worry about the day that I might start my own family. What if someday I receive the news that I have cancer, just like my aunt, my father, and my grandmother did? What if I have to leave behind a son or daughter too soon?
I’m riding for those who I’ve lost to cancer, but I’m also riding for my future. I’m riding for family, and for possibilities. Most of all, I’m riding because I believe there is a better weapon for this fight, and I believe that Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research is going to find it.
Written by: Lauren Waldstein