Martin's Ride To Cure CancerI remember the day from this picture during Martin's Ride. It was a cold Utah morning, note the sleeves. We, Brian Russo rode with me this day and took this picture, rode for several hours as the sun came up.
We needed the sun. Riding a bicycle on a flat mesa with no wind protection and on a cold summer morning kind of, well what is the technical term, SUCKS (lol). After miles and days of exactly this kind of amazing vista I was almost immune. Not Brian. "Stop," he shouted just as I changed gears. "What," I remember shouting back.
"This is amazing and Duke needs a picture of you in that jersey," Brian reminded me. People back home at the Duke Cancer Institute were following our progress relayed via beeper from Utah to a satellite and then to the web. Duke wanted a picture for their internal publication and sent a tiny jersey that I couldn't wear until we reached Utah having dropped 30 pounds by then (would lose 55 pounds over the sixty days because hauling weight up mountains also SUCKS).
We took the picture and Brian got me to stop and enjoy the moment. Brian, a college student at Colby is wise beyond his years. When you have 3,000 miles to ride you can lose moments like this. On a day such as this you look out at the horizon and think, "How am I going to DO this". Then you turn your bicycle's crank answering your own question.
Another strange thing can happen. You see so many amazing things, so much beauty an immunity sets in. This is why you take a trip like this with someone like Brian who adjusts his view to this moment over and over. Doesn't matter that the vista in this picture is the 300th one we saw its beauty was fresh on this morning, fresh and special.
Brian reminded me WHY we took on this goal of riding a bicycle across America. I tend to think in HOW to accomplish goals. Why matters more because it traps moments like this. Why connects everything else. There were several WHYs to Martin's Ride To Cure Cancer including:
- Ride across America, a lifelong dream, so accomplish the goal.
- Raise awareness, in our small way, about the need to CURE CANCER NOW.
- Connect with other cancer patients and friends and family of cancer patients.
- Find out how much was in my tank, was I courageous am I prepared for what lies ahead.
- See amazing things.
- Do amazing things.
- Find the next BIG IDEA for me (I'd quit my job to do this EXPENSIVE thing, all donations went to the Duke Cancer Institute for cancer research).
- Love one another enough to live to tell the stories (3 guys living in an RV when we weren't riding for 60 days, you do the math LOL).
The Missing Big IdeaI was sure we would get to Utah and some revelation about what I should do with the rest of my life would happen (lol). I've started four companies and thought, on a road just like this, the lightening bolt would strike. Life isn't the movies, so not so much as it turned out.
What I knew by this point in the ride was the window Duke and UNC created when I asked to be treated as if Martin's Ride was more important than longevity was coming to a close. I have leukemia and it expresses itself clearly in enlarged lymph nodes. I knew we would complete Martin's Ride To Cure Cancer just in time for me to head in for more chemo, so more fun times lay ahead.
On this day the air was crisp and cold. I tested to see if I could see my breath, but it wasn't quite that cold. A wind blew side to side. Headwinds slow you down. Side winds make you COLD and reduce any drafting advantage we could create for each other.
The Big DepressionWhen you accomplish a lifelong goal you are happy right? Yeah, not so much as it turns out especially if you head back into chemo. I tried to keep Martin's Ride alive even riding to chemo several times (riding TO isn't so bad, riding home, to use the technical term, SUCKED). After about the third round I couldn't get out of bed. Imagine the most tired you've ever been and multiply that by 10 and you will start to get the idea.
I live by the quest, by the mission, so feeling like someone was hitting me with hammers everyday and not having a mission was deadly (or as close as one can get and still be here writing this :).
Founding The Story of Cancer TrustSomewhere during this fog of chemo and feeling down due to lack of mission an idea light bulb came on. Find a way to use my Internet marketing experience to help cure cancer, help cancer patients and kick cancers ass a little and The Story of Cancer Trust was born. The Story of Cancer Trust has three ideas:
- Cure Cancer Starter - crowdfunding platform to raise research cash and create community.
- Cure Cancer Store - a virtual affiliate store.
- Cancer Samurai - trust mark to identify "cancer friendly" products.
I'm in a hurry now because, as we all should appreciate but rarely do, life is not an infinite journey. Thinking back on this cold morning in Utah a few years ago (we rode in the summer of 2010) reminds me of a story.....
Thanks for your ongoing support, care and encouragement. Together we cure cancer in OUR lifetime. If you have great stories or resources pleas share them. I'm grateful and depend on a tribe of great, smart generous friends who I NEVER can thank enough so THANKS.
More Pictures from Martin's Ride To Cure Cancer are on Flickr.
Read Cancer Sucks Mostly written last night for a friend recently diagnosed with breast cancer.