Support My Ride to Conquer Cancer
I have been exposed to friends and family affected by cancer from a very young age. As a 5 year old I recall driving to Kaitaia airport to pick up my 19 year old aunty who had flown back from having radiation for Hodgkins Disease. Paula went on to survive 2 bouts of Hodgkins - cancer on both sides of her neck, first as a 19 year old then again at 21 years old. She has since had 2 lots of breast cancer. First as a 41 year old and then again as a 55 year old. Not only is she a survivor but a hero, legend and inspiration.
Then when I was a 10 year old my uncle died of a brain tumour. He left behind my aunty and my 10 & 12 year old cousins. Experiencing this and seeing their family cope with their loss was an experience in itself.
Our colleague and now star reliever at work had breast cancer about 10 years ago. Jan is a survivor and a hero.
Fast track a few years and my cousin died of a melanoma on his back about 8 years ago. Ironically his back wouldn't have seen much sun throughout the years.....!
About 6 years ago, my father in law at the time, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. John went through hormone treatment and radiation. He is still suffering from the effects of this today. However, he too is a survivor. John's status has just changed. He was diagnosed this week (Oct 22) with bowel cancer. He is being operated on in the next few weeks. Here's hoping for a positive outcome.
Two years ago my own little world was rocked when my mother was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus. Fortunately for her it was discovered/diagnosed in the early stages and 'only' had to have a radical hysterectomy. She escaped having to go through chemo or radiation.
A good friend of mine, Pat, has just completed her round of chemotherapy for bowel cancer and, great news, she has been given the all clear! The bad news.... 6 months down the track they have found more 'black spots' on her bowel and is about to begin another round of chemotherapy. She has been given a sentence of 3-5 years which she is going to fight. Here's hoping she wins that fight!
What has really prompted me to participate in this cause is:
a) I love riding
b) it's a great cause
c) at work this year I have 3 friends directly affected by cancer.
One has recently had a benign tumour removed from her head and has completed her radiation, is back at work and is waiting to have her MRI in October for the good news! One was operated on May 23 for removal of an aggressive tumour in her sinus. She had a 95% possibility of losing her left eye. (Yvonne has had her surgery and did lose her eye.) I saw her the day after her operation and nobody should have to go through what she went through. She now begins her journey to recovery and becoming yet another survivor. Finally, another friend has a husband who has just had a metre of his bowel removed.
Another good friend of mine currently has her sister fighting breast cancer and her mother fighting lymphoma. So the list goes on and on.....
These good people shouldn't have to go through this. Let's do our part to try and fight this bloody awful disease!
The Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting Cancer Society Auckland, is a 200+km, 2-day cycling journey that I’m embarking on to do my part in helping to fight cancer. It will be a challenge in a number of ways, but with my bike, my helmet, and your generosity, a real impact will be made!
Please support my Ride to Conquer Cancer by making a donation today. Proceeds will support ground-breaking cancer research funded by the Cancer Society at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre (ACSRC), based in the University of Auckland and will directly impact the lives of thousands of people going through cancer treatment.
Thank you in advance for your help.
My Personal Web Log
One More Sleep
What a journey it's been! Today has been quite an emotional day with all of the well wishes coming through. A variety of people. Those who are just thrilled that I'm doing it. Those who have been affected by cancer and those who have actually had cancer. It really bought home the meaning of this weekend. It's about the survivors. Survivors of losing someone. Survivors of battling through it or just knowing someone who's had it. We're all survivors. We're all hoping like hell there's a cure real soon to conquer this beast.
Safe cycling everyone. Let's make an impact. Let's have fun. Let' all conquer this bastard disease.
5 Days To Go....
Whoop, whoop! Only 5 days to go. After such a long build up the epic ride is finally upon us. I'm looking forward to a great ride, meeting some new characters and having loads of fun along the way. I'm also hoping like hell my tent buddy doesn't snore!
Takapuna Sunday Markets
My friends John, Lorraine and I went to Takapuna Sunday Market today to raise some more funds for Auckland Cancer Research Centre - Ride to Conquer Cancer. I was on a wind trainer while John & Lorraine collected donations. One of the people donating was about a 70 year old woman. She wanted a ride on my bike. I thought she was joking until she started hitching her skirt up into her undies and had her leg over! She had loads of funny stories to tell us. She was loving being back on a bike and mentioned that hers had a flat tyre so she couldn't ride. We got her address and went and fixed it for her! She was really appreciative. It doesn't take much to make someone's day. She certainly made mine!
I discovered today that there's nothing better than a 'coffee ride'. I met some fellow cyclists on Saturday who live on the same ride as I do. I got myself invited to join their Sunday ride with friends. It was awesome cycling with no urgency just a common purpose - enjoying the sunshine with great company. This was all the more sweeter when I got home and read on Facebook that the 100km ride I was supposed to go on was cut short when the peloton crashed going 40kms per hour. A few broken collarbones and lots of blood was the verdict from my friend who was riding.
A reminder to keep your wits about you especially when riding in a large group.
And Yet Another One...
My (ex) father in law has just been diagnosed with bowel cancer. He's already been through Prostate cancer. I don't know what the prognosis is yet. He is being operated on next week so I guess it is a waiting game now. One hopes it goes well and he fights this bastard disease!
Not Long To Go Now!
Only a few more weeks until THE big event. I'm not sure what I'm looking forward to the most. The ride? The camaraderie between riders? The people on the streets cheering everyone on? The camping? The entertainment? or Crossing the finish line. I'm sure it'll all be fantastic. I'm looking forward to meeting people and hearing all of their stories too. Why are they doing it? What pushed their buttons into getting into action to fight this hideous disease?
Meanwhile the training continues. Thank goodness for great weather. Long may that last!
I have just got home after taking my friend Yvonne into Auckland Hospital as her cheek, on the side where she lost her eye to cancer, has become infected again. It is awful what she is going through after losing an eye, radiation for 5 days a week for 6 weeks and 2 lots of chemotherapy. Now, as if that's not enough, she is on her 3rd or 4th infection. NOT FAIR!
Soup & Sandwiches
I found this on Twitter last year and thought about it today while cycling with the group.
"When we take off, side by side, we have so much to say to each other. We haven't seen each other since the day before, a week before, a year before, but we're soon breathing together, talking together.
I have cycling friends I see only on the bike, I wouldn't recognise them in a suit and tie. I have cycling friends I see all the time. We are a gang, a little peloton, a breakaway with variable geometry. The small groups I've been involved with found a natural equilibrium through their deeper objective, which is to have a ball riding together.
Friends in life who are bike friends are double friends: soup and sandwiches."
- Paul Fournel, Besoin de Velo / Need For the Bike.
Summer Is On The Way
School holidays have arrived and I've been lucky enough to have 3 awesome sun filled days to cycle in the north!
I've had road side workers encourage me. I've had rubbish truck workers yell out, encouraging me to dig it in going up Langs Beach hill. They gave me a hell of a fright actually, as it came out of the blue as I was in the 'hurt box' going up a steep part of the hill! Still awesome to have the encouragement. It makes up for the loser comments we had on a group ride, in Auckland, a few weeks ago.
All in all, may the sunshine continue!
Life's Like A Box Of Chocolates!
You never know whatcha gunna get! My friend Yvonne is back in hospital. This time with an infection in her lost eye socket. It's not bad enough that she's lost her eye, been through all of the treatment, moulting like my cat! but now is on her 3rd infection. This one bad enough that you can visibly see the swelling above her eyebrow and below her cheek bones. Not only does she have to cope with this but also the hideously disgusting food that the hospital dishes up. I think we need to get Yvonne's boyfriend, Jamie Oliver, over to help them out. Seriously the food is vile and unappetising to look at let alone taste it!
All of this certainly makes the hills easier to cope with. I keep thinking of Yvonne and her battles. A wee hill climb is nothing!
We held a cake stall at school yesterday. What an epic fundraiser! The community really got behind this simple but effective fundraising idea. Not to mention the kids who loved it too! Wheels day tomorrow. Hopefully the weather gods are good to us....
I have joined Echelon Cyclery Saturday morning shop rides. What an awesome group of people, who cater for all levels of cycling abilities. If you are struggling to find time to fit in some kms, come and join in. They are very welcoming, friendly and down to earth.
I had a bike Body Geometry FIT at Echelon Cyclery yesterday. It made the world of difference with the changes Brett made. Well worth the effort and cost if your cycling isn't feeling the best and/or you aren't achieving your goals.
I'm constantly amazed at my two friends and colleagues, Yvonne & Wendy, who have both battled cancer this year. Their amazing outlook on life and positivity at, what must be a traumatic time in their lives, is a real lesson to us all. Wendy is already back at work and Yvonne starts back next term. This in itself is to be applauded.
I'm in awe of these two women. I'm convinced that with their attitudes and positive outlook on life they will win their battles with the big c.
It Hits People At Anytime...
It was my birthday dinner this evening and my friend Dana received a phone call. A family friend had died earlier on in the day after fighting a battle with cancer. Unfortunately it had got into her liver which means that there's no hope - battle over. Let's hope that with all of this money we find hope and a cure!
This is Why We're Raising Money!
This is a message I received from my friend in Oxford who is going through her 2nd lot of chemo:
Hi from the bag again lady, was hooked up yesterday, and de hooked tomorrow , as long as my little bag of juice has all gone. Same situation as last time, have a 2 hr infusion on a Thursday for the next two weeks, then the juice bottle for 2 days. After the first two weeks I go to a Tuesday for infusion and a Thursday for de hook. They couldn't fit me in for the first two on the Tuesday. This one is making me a bit more tired than the last one, and I have also had a few more nausea bouts, not throwing up just the feeling. Ah well I have millions of anti nausea tablets so will get through it, my energy levels are still good, same for temp. Long may that last. I am entitled to a subsidy for a wig, any suggestions!!!, as long as it does what it is supposed to do this time and gives my some extra time on earth, I can put up with it. Love xxx
Once again, I'm like a broken record here, nobody should have to put up with/experience this.
Hoping for a cure.....
Beautiful Spring Mornings
WOW! Spring has arrived. Awesome cycling in the mornings at the moment.... I'm sure it will change, but it will be good for the garden!
I've just checked the training guidelines in the Ride to Conquer manual and I'm pleased to see that I'm right on target. Fantastic!
Donations From Afar!
My total has slowed down somewhat over recent weeks. However, it is awesome to see donations coming in from all over the world. I've had people in America, Singapore, Australia and Dubai donate, which is very cool!
Once these next couple of very busy weeks at work pass I'll have to get back on the fundraising campaign trail.
TV Station Success
The kids preparing a documentary about my journey towards the Ride to Conquer, for our school TV station, has been completed. They showed me their work the other day. WOW! What an awesome job they've done. There's something very odd about watching yourself on screen. It's all for a good cause though! They get to show it to the whole school next week at a special assembly we are having to unleash our fundraising week which will be on the last week of term. It's going to be awesomely epic! FUN, FUN, FUN...
72 Days To Go
Only 72 days to go! I can't wait. I'm not sure what part excites me the most... The start? The ride? The people on the roadside along the way? Meeting the different characters? Arriving at the campsite? The afternoon/evening entertainment? The camping? The breakfast the next day? The ride back into town? Crossing the finish line? Now that crossing of the finish line is going to be something special. Especially for those who have been directly affected by cancer themselves. What a sense of acomplishment. Then there are those like myself. Had loved ones affected or even die as a result of the dreaded 'big c'. To know that we've played a part in helping someone survive through money raised for research.... AWESOME!
I decided to create a blog of my adventures and general ramblings. I'm assuming that this blog will be shut down after November so I've copied the posts over to a personal blog to keep a record of this epic journey!
And I will continue to double up on both blogs until the Ride to Conquer. Have to say I'm enjoying writing/typing up thoughts/ opinions and general ramblings!
Just need to figure out how to get to that $10k mark... Ideas anyone?
All Good Things Come To An End....
Well I guess all good things come to an end. The group I have been cycling with for the last 2 years has disbanded. With a couple of marriage splits and one of the girls recently moving house things haven't worked out. The girls I cycle with made their decision and messaged me with their "we're pulling out" last night. Very disappointing, but like I said all good things come to an end! As one door closes another one opens. So, what this means is that I can concentrate on building up that hill work. I need to put on my big girl panties and cycle by myself, in the dark, in the mornings. I guess if I stick to the main roads I'll be fine at 6am in the morning. If I get a flat I hope the street lights are on and it'll be a smooth change. If not I'll be calling my mates for a pick up!
I Love Hills....
I went for a cycle with a friend today who chose not to go my easy, 1 hill on the way home route. Instead we had to go via beach road. I of course got left behind quite quickly, to die quietly, with my lungs and legs screaming through inactivity, after 2 weeks off the bike with a hacking, chesty cough. However, at the end the sense of achievement and 'survival' was awesome! I can do the hills. I just need to work on picking up the speed and working through the burn. The countdown to conquering Taupo in under 5 hours begins!
Featured in The NZ Herald
Yvonne sent me a text this morning asking if I'd seen this in the Herald. An interesting read! AND a bit of a buzz to see my name in print!
Jim Hickey had news that was music to my ears this evening. It's going to be a great morning for cycling tomorrow. After not riding on the road for 2 weeks (I've had an awful hacking cough with debilitating lethargy) I'm itching to get out there. I have managed to force myself on the rollers and do about 15kms at a time. It's amazing the amount of perspiration, ok sweat, comes off me in such a short time! It's an incredible workout compared to the road. I'm up to about 33km average speed with 85 cadence. Can't manage to do the full 15kms without stopping for a break yet! I'll get there. I did 30kms this afternoon. It's not so bad with the music blaring!
Can't wait for the sunshine tomorrow!
Look Good, Feel Better
Some awesome news! Congratulations to the Look Good, Feel Better team. You have made my friend Yvonne's day. You can't put a price on feeling good about yourself!
Yvonne's Facebook entry today was:
"Wow had an amazing morning at Look Good Feel Better and came home with lots of goodies!!! They were so nice. Someone had rung and told them about me. They made me feel so well looked after and gave me the best of everything. So lovely made me feel good about my eye."
That is just total choiceness! Total awesomeness. I'm thrilled you had a great time Yvonne. Now.... how about you share some of those amazing goodies you took home.
A Shitty End to a Shitty Couple of Weeks...
I've had a couple of weeks of having to dig deep and get over a couple of things only to receive this Facebook message from my friend. It makes you realise your personal battles are minute / minuscule in the big scheme of things....
"Hey you, where to start, ride your heart out please I need it. Went to oncology appt yesterday, not really the place for this, but get too upset on phone. Not good news, it is back, have to have another scan, then onto containment chemo, only saving grace is nothing shows in blood, so with the hugest of miracles the lymph nodes that have wrapped themselves aortic artery could disappear like the last one around stoma, I asked the big question, and didn't like the answer, 2to3 years, I am going nowhere for at least 5, so there. Neither of us were happy chappies yesterday, understandably, but hey shit happens, have to get on and deal with it, will let you know when scan is, most probably next week, he wants me back on chemo in a couple of weeks, down here that could mean anything, country time. Love xxxx"
So the bowel cancer has returned after finishing chemo earlier in the year. I'll certainly be riding my heart and soul out come November.
What is it like to be given a life expectancy? The message says she isn't going anywhere for 5 years. You'd be wanting to beat it fullstop wouldn't you? I want her to beat it, fullstop!
One More Session To Go!
Yvonne has one more session of Radiation to go. I'm trying to coax her into stealing the sexy hospital gown. She did say that she gets to keep her 'Silence of the Lambs' face mask. I see a piece of garden or lounge art coming on. She wants a ceremonial smashing. Somehow that seems like a better option to me....!
Drinking and Cycling
Dry July was quite a blessing for cycling. To get up on a Sunday morning with a clear head and stomach that wasn't queasy has been bliss. Cycling today after the drought of dry July being broken at a friend's surprise 31st birthday was a bit of a struggle to say the least. I haven't felt that broken on a cycle for a long time! Perhaps I should only have one or two during the week and leave the weekends free of wine....... hmmm maybe....maybe not! Time will tell I guess!
Only 3 More To Go...
Yvonne has only 3 radiation treatments left. Wow, what a bloody hideous journey she's been on throughout the last 3 months. The awesome thing about it all has been her amazing positivity. A lesson to us all really. No matter how shitty your day is, for whatever reason, there is always someone out there battling a bigger battle!
That aside it has been an incredible insight to see how someone deals with this awful disease. I'm so impressed and in awe with Yvonne's positive attitude. It has to hold her in good stead for beating this bastard that WAS in her. I'm sure her positivity also impacted on Sammy as I haven't noticed any difference in her behaviour or attitude or learning in the classroom.
3 more my friend, 3 more....
Kia Kaha :-)
Got Any Dodgy Skin Imperfections?
I've just given the link to the Apollo Skin Cancer Clinic http://www.skincancerclinic.md/ to a friend today. I hope he makes an appointment ASAP. Like my friend & colleague, Dana, the dodgy one will probably be ok but another unsuspecting blemish may not be. Had she left hers any longer.... who knows!
Got a dodgy bit? Get it checked - ASAP!
Foggy Ride This Morning
What a ride this morning. It was like riding in pea soup! I actually felt a bit vulnerable for the first time with visibility being so low. I even had to stop and take off my glasses. After riding 107kms in the weekend the 30kms this morning was a struggle. Kept thinking of Yvonne and her current battle and it was 'pale in significance'! Chemo photos coming on Facebook later on tonight. That's another hideous journey she's been through. Not long to go now my friend. The party at the end of all of this is going to be a bloody good one!
I've just got back from a ride down to Devonport and back to Torbay. I couldn't believe the amount of people, the majority older men, who weren't wearing helmets. It's not rocket science guys, fall off, knock head, life changes! Next time you're out for a cycle chuck your helmet on. Thanks...!
More Spin Offs For Learning
Driving back from a conference (for teachers) today my friend and fellow colleague was brainstorming her ideas for next term. She was thinking that she could use me as an example of an elite athlete (at this point I burst into uncontrollable laughter and pointed out that she couldn't use the word 'elite'!!). The topic is healthy eating and how an athlete would prepare for training and for big rides such as the Ride to Conquer. The kids have already asked lots of questions about the ride so this would be an awesome extension of what they already know. Cool stuff!
Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre
I was lucky enough to be given a tour through the Research Department tonight. A group of the top fundraisers were invited to attend the tour and special presentation. Being school holidays I thought why not!
It was an eye opener in the sense that it wasn't state of the art, flashy stuff like you see on TV. The equipment was top of the range and hugely expensive, but the surroundings were a bit like something out of the 70s.
Our research department has one of the highest success rates in the world for reaching clinical trial stages for the drugs to cure cancer. The only countries that rival them is the UK and USA.
One of the presenters was a cancer survivor of 13 years. When she was first diagnosed, the cancer treatments from 5 years prior wouldn't have cured her type of cancer. This just goes to show how important cancer research really is. One day soon there will be a cure....
It was an honour to be able to take Yvonne to her radiation appointment yesterday. She agreed to allow me to go into the room with her and take photos of the process (well, she had no choice actually...!).
We left Yvonne's home in Coatesville at 12pm and arrived for her 1pm appointment at 12:40. We waited in the waiting room with a variety of people from all races, ages & states of mind. As we giggled like school girls I couldn't help feel for the people who were there alone or quite obviously feeling like shite.
Eventually at around 1:30 we got called through to the treatment rooms. This starts with Yvonne getting changed into a sexy hospital gown and puts her clothes into a supermarket shopping basket! We then waited in a separate waiting room for about another 10minutes. The nurses made a great fuss of us as they were telling us about the North Shore Times article that is on their staffroom wall! They were also curious and questioning about the ride to conquer - very cool!
As one patient came out of the treatment room we were then called through. This is where I finally felt a deep sense of helplessness as Yvonne got up on the bed and had to nestle her head into the groove on the bed. They then put a tube into her mouth for her to breathe through. Once into place the mask, which goes down to the top of her chest and looks like something from Silence of the Lambs, gets pulled over her head and screwed into place to keep her super still. The lazers are then used to pinpoint her spots to be radiated. The precision and care of the technicians is to commended. They really did everything they possibly could to keep my severely claustrophobic friend at ease, comfortable and relaxed.
Once they were satisfied everything was in place we all then left her alone, strapped to a bed in the middle of a room the size of an average classroom. I sat back out in the waiting room and could hear, once again, the incredible care and attention being given to Yvonne through a speaker system as the radiation was doing its thing. This took about 10mins. Once it was over they unscrewed her mask and she walked out into the waiting room with the biggest smile on her face. A total contrast to the others I'd seen coming out of the other treatment rooms while I was waiting for her. AMAZING attitude and outlook!
Then we were off to another part of the hospital so she could see her Oncologist. This is something they do once a week to check everything is going the way it should be. By this time it was about 2:30 and we were off to a Lab on the Shore for Yvonne to give a blood sample which will check her white blood cell levels for her chemotherapy session next week. So all in all by the time I dropped Yvonne at home it was 3:45pm. I got to go home for the night and not worry about having to do it all again tomorrow and the next day for another 16 days.
Yvonne you really are 'gifted'! Your positive outlook is holding you in good stead. Almost there and what a bloody good celebration we'll have at the end of it.
Kia Kaha my friend.
World Famous in the North Shore Times & Coatesville Chronicle
What a big week in the media! World famous on the Shore. Interestingly there have been no donations as a result..... However, Sammy (Yvonne's daughter who is in my class) has been published. Yusss So I can't wait until term 3 begins and she brings in her published letter about her mum and the Ride to Cure Cancer. The link for you to read is here: http://coatesville.org.nz/site/orgs/coatesville-chronicle/chronicles2013/
The first chronicle says January, it is supposed to say July! Sammy's letter is on the 2nd page.
I'm off to radiation with Yvonne on Tuesday so that should be interesting...
May the sun keep shining.
Ride To Conquer Headquarters
I took the TV Station group into the Ride to Conquer Headquarters after school today. I made the mistake of buying lollipops for the journey over the bridge....! They were high as kites, but they did do a brilliant job at asking them questions and filming. I thought it would be a bit of a non event for them but they all seemed to focus on the job at hand and made themselves at home filming and photographing everything they could! I can't wait to see what the end result (TV programme for school TV) will look like.
Some Great News
My friend in the previous post has had some great news. Her lump is a "blocked duct to be kept a close eye on." I guess the lesson in this is that we need to check out any abnormality. You never know what's around the corner or which door will open or close!
I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!
I really have had enough of hearing about the amount of people who are affected by cancer. THIS MADNESS HAS TO STOP!
This week I had lunch with my good friend. She hadn't gone to work for the day and at that point I thought something was up... Never thinking it would be because she'd been to the doctor after discovering a lump on her breast. She has had the blood tests and is now waiting until Tuesday for the mammogram and ultra sound. I hope like hell it's just a cyst or an abscess.
The next day a woman who we deal with at work had said that she had been told that morning she had bowel cancer. Hers had been picked up through the national screening program. This starts once you hit 50. She had no idea. I guess this screening programme is doing what it should be doing. Should we be testing younger? Shouldn't there have been a cure by now? Why is it taking so bloody long to find a cure?
And today my 17 year old had her makeup done by a friend of my sisters. She had a scarf on which looked quite funky. When she left my sister filled me in:
She is 28 years old. Has had breast cancer. Is now going through menopause because of the drugs she is on. She can not have any children. She is a stunning woman. I'm not just meaning to look at. She is beautiful, don't get me wrong, but she is a really calm, sincere and genuinely nice person. I REPEAT.... Shouldn't there have been a cure by now? Why is it taking so bloody long to find a cure?
World Famous in Pinehill...
What a day. I was filmed in my class teaching which included various poses! The TV station crew who are filming my Ride to Conquer journey were suggesting all sorts of things from "Can you sit with a group? Can you stand at the board? And can you sit at your computer and look at your webpage?"
That was first thing this morning, then at lunchtime Yvonne and I were interviewed by the North Shore Times. Maryke who interviewed us was so empathetic and clever with her questioning. It was quite an experience. This will feature next week sometime. Hopefully it's a slow news day and we hit the front page!
Finally this evening I gave a presentation at an Eduignite evening. This is for educators to get up in front of their peers and share learning of their own or their students or to share their passions. My presentation was on my passion at the moment which is actually an obsession. I am obsessed with this journey of mine. To raise as much money as I possibly can for those bloody clever scientists to find a cure. We have to find a cure for the sake of our children and our grandchildren.
Here's a challenge for you: Contact 10 or more people, via email or Facebook or Twitter or whatever social media you use, with the link to this page and encourage them to donate. It doesn't matter if it's $10 or $1000! Every little bit counts.
The kids in my class are working towards a readers and writers festival which is in 3 weeks time. They believe they are readers, however, they are struggling to believe they are writers. Apparently you have to have a hard cover book that you can buy in the bookshops to be a 'writer'! In comes Sammy.....
Sammy had a day off last week. Her mum is my friend Yvonne. She decided on her day off to write a letter to the Coatesville Chronicle. Little did she realise that they would actually publish her 'story' about her mum and her teacher's crusade for her mum! Sammy will be a published writer! I can't wait until it is published and she brings it into share. Perfect!
Pinehill Students Now Involved
We have a 'TV station' at school that showcases the things that kids around the school have been working on. For whatever reasons this has dwindled over the last few years. A couple of my colleagues are bringing it back to life with their first episode being about me and my journey so far for the 200km Ride to Conquer Cancer.
It's quite exciting to be part of some real meaningful and authentic learning for the 3 kids involved. They have a few goals to achieve related to the 'programme'. At the moment these goals are top secret! Another very neat thing is that I have taught the kids so I already have a connection with them. The bonus is that they are super cool kids who all have a great sense of humour - we are going to have some fun!
So far they have interviewed me, made up a story board, planned what footage of me they are going to take - yes gross me on camera - the things we do to raise money! They even spoke about me waking up at 5:37am and stumbling around in the dark. One hopes they aren't wanting to do this live..... I think my 2 kids can do that part for them.
I'll keep you posted on the developments. I can't wait to see the finished product.
EPIC Impact Day
Wow! What a great initiative from the organisers of Ride to Conquer Cancer. I raised $2450.00 in a couple of days. Fabulous. I need to put my thinking cap on to keep the momentum going. Any ideas?
Sir Peter Leitch
I sent a letter to Sir Peter last week requesting sponsorship, never expecting anything from it as he must get 1000s of requests each year. However, this morning I received a phone call from the man himself. No he can't sponsor me as he sponsors a lot already, but what a gentleman! We had a very nice 5 minute conversation and wished me well on this adventure. An interesting point he made, and I have thought about it myself, is that there are many different cancer fundraising organisations. Breast cancer, prostate cancer etc. If these organisations all came together under the one umbrella would this improve the capabilities of finding a cure for this hideous disease? Would the combined efforts join together as one to find the cure? Worth considering I think!
Not just humans...
I've just had a really sad text from my friend. For the past 14 years we have been walking, cycling or gyming in the mornings. The last 12 with Charlie her gorgeous black labrador. The text says:
I have some really sad news Charlie has a nasty tumour on his leg and is being put to rest on Saturday. Tomorrow will probably be his last walk but he can't walk far probably just the block. Can I change the plans in the morning and have you come here for a last walk with Charles?
So it seems we humans aren't the only ones who are struck by this hideous phenomenon - cancer. I hope that some great research and a cure comes out of this bike ride. Too many stories, too many lives lost, too many lives affected by this disease.
And The List Goes On.....
Over Queen's Birthday weekend I travelled to Cambridge to visit friends of mine. I had a great weekend - full of far too much food and wine! However, I did have 2 great rides on Sunday and Monday. What awesome cycling down there. I must say I did enjoy the flat roads. A fabulous change from Auckland hills.
On my way home I visited another good friend who has just had a radical hysterectomy as she had hereditary cervical cancer. She listed the family members who had suffered from it. When is the list of cancer sufferers going to STOP! We MUST find a cure.
CHECK YOUR BREASTS!
I am a teacher at Pinehill School (primary) in Auckland. Yesterday one of my former pupils, a gentle, sensitive Chinese boy, very kindly helped me to my car as I had my hands full. I asked him casually how his mum was as she is a lovely lady and I hadn't seen her for a while.
He said "she's ok now."
To which I replied "what do you mean now?"
"Oh she's had cancer."
It turns out that she has an aggressive form of cancer and had a 30% chance of survival if she didn't have chemotherapy. She is currently still going through chemo and has lost her hair - she looks great in her wig. I wouldn't have known if she didn't tell me. The great thing is that I believe she will be a survivor. She had a really good positive outlook and was fighting it. Interestingly she had regular checks (mammograms) and a month before her check up she found the lump. My aunty Paula who I mention above had had her check and 3 or 4 months later found the lump. That's 2 very good reasons why we need to check our breasts regularly!
Get Your Spots Checked!
I have finally bullied my friend into getting her dodgy looking spot that won't heal checked. However she can't get in for 6 weeks! And that's privately.... If you have a mole or yucky bit of skin that isn't normal PLEASE GET IT CHECKED!
Why Does This Happen To Good People?
I've just got back from visiting my friend and colleague Yvonne in HDU in hospital. She is recovering from an 11 hour operation to remove an rare, aggressive and malignant tumor from her sinus. In the process she lost her left eye. She is sleepy, vacant, looking rather bewildered, lost and bereft. Nobody should have to go through this. Why is it that a good person like Yvonne has to go through this and not the pieces of shit that are locked away in Paremoremo prison? Why is it that nobody has discovered a cure for this hideous disease yet? Someone told me the other day that their theory is that drug companies do have the cure but that they make more money out of the chemo drugs etc. Surely this is not true. Surely they can put any price tag on the drug of cure?
Yvonne has 3 gorgeous kids and a devoted husband who are also affected by this. The kids haven't seen their mummy for 4 days now. They also don't know their mum has lost her eye. They are waiting until Yvonne has more energy and can hold a conversation. Good people should not have to go through this. It's just not fair.
I'm so impressed and overwhelmed really, with all of the generosity already. It has become a bit of an obsession, checking my page and seeing the gauge increase day after day. The key is getting people to forward the link onto their friends and family.
Roll on week 2 of my campaign.
I registered for this on the 'spur of the moment' a few weeks ago. A pack came in the mail of how to go about starting this journey. I've been sitting on that for sometime.
Finally, today I have set up my personal page and sent an email to my family and friends.
I think the key will be my email going viral! fingers crossed.....
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