Everyone who has been diagnosed with cancer… has “a date”… the day when you heard those words…..
Mine was Friday May 13,2011.
I was 35. Healthy. Happy. A wife. A mom. And just a day before I didn’t know I had a stage 3 tumor growing in my left breast.
But that’s cancer. It’s sneaky. It’s unpredictable. And it was in MY body.
My bi-lateral mastectomy was scheduled two wks later. I woke up early that morning in anticipation. It was the last day of school for our son. He was a first grader. As I walked him to the bus – we saw a pink balloon tied to our mailbox. Deep breath I thought. No tears. Keep it together. I did. Keep it together that is.. until the bus pulled away. What a simple balloon can do. Knowing it was tied there with love and support. It wasn’t until my husband Ben and I drove out of our neighborhood that we saw the hundreds of balloons… Pink balloons… tied to street signs, trees… all the way down the street. As we made our turn onto the main road into town… There it was…a sign that simply read: “ IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO CURE CANCER” This support is Granville. It is why people stay here. It is why they come back. It is community. And to me on that morning it was the reason I had a smile on my face and a strong sense that all would be ok. Because, I had a village behind me- with me.
Another sign - downtown Granville read “HEY CANCER – YOU PICKED THE WRONG CHIC” It did! That was the sign I was talking about when they wheeled me into the operating room. Though my voice was shaking as I spoke from uncontrollable nervousness- I still recall telling Chase the transfer nurse about my morning. About my family. My friends. My town. And how WE were going to fight this cancer. Together. I don’t know… it might have been the drugs, but I am sure he was ready to join “our team” and as he rolled me to OR room # 24- I might have convinced him that we were in a looker room gearing up for the biggest game of our lives. Our opponent though was almost undefeated., and didn’t play by the rules. Still looking in his eyes as he was the last one I recall seeing before my deep sleep- I could tell he believed we could win.
That is the thing for those of us( newly diagnosed, in treatment, in remission…) for those of us that have “a date”… we hold on to the HOPE we can win. It is given in so many ways. Cards, meals, playdates for the kids. Countless phone calls. Anonymous Flowers left by my doorstep. All delivering hope, and inspiring us in a way that makes curing cancer seem closer rather than the distant future.
Pelotonia was that hope for my husband. Ben may have had the toughest job on that day in May of 2011. Hearing your highschool sweetheart, your wife and the mother of your children has cancer is inconceivable. But Ben did as Ben always does—He fired up – and took action. The Irony was, he was already signed up for Pelotonia. He had riden in Pelotonia in 2010 as an individual rider. But now – well now – it was personal. What can you do when your wife is in chemo? Train for Pelotonia. Talk to your friends about Pelotonia. Raise awareness. In 2011- in a couple short months Ben organized our first Peloton: Brett Jump’s Bicycle Brigade The support was overwhelming and we grew fast. Totaling 28 riders for our first year, and raising over 46,000 dollars. I had shaved my head a week before Pelotonia that summer. And had chemo the Thursday before the ride. I promised myself that morning- I will ride in 2012. And I will ride every year until we find a cure.
It was a gorgeous morning in 2012 when I rode my first Pelotonia- 50 miles to New Albany. We renamed the Peloton Team Granville. That year, our Peloton had grown to 43 riders and we raised over 78,000. `100% of the funds directly used for cancer research@ The James. Hope. I have never known hope like I did that day. It was empowering to see so many so passionate for ONE GOAL. And it was moving to ride along side so many that carried me though one of the toughest years of my life.
So – tonight I stand up before you and Thank you for supporting Team Granville- WE ARE Peloton of 80 members strong. That’s right. 80. That’s HOPE. I can’t wait to ride again this August – hearing the cheers of people holding signs that read “you are my hero. You saved my life”
Thank you for riding. Thank you for being part of the journey. For joining the fight. Gearing up for the game and being passionate about our ONE GOAL.
This year-Team Granville has raised $116,092.07 as of this afternoon. That is this year alone. But we won't stop. We can't stop. This cancer has continued to invade our lives, or families and our friends. And we are fighting back. WE are strong and WE will find a cure. ONE GOAL. END CANCER.