Do you know anyone who has had cancer? If not, you're lucky, definitely in a minority. There are an awful lot of people out there with it, or who had it and survived. There are a lot more who have died from it.
Though I know many people who have had their brushes with cancer, and they all have their stories, a couple stick out in my mind like red push-pins on a wall map. These people and their stories affected my life in a permanent way.
The first that comes to mind is Nancy Pride. (For context: Nancy is Mike Pride's wife, Mike is Eric Pride's cousin, and Eric is one of my best friends, as well as a member of my local ecclesia. Actually, I've known Mike longer than Eric, as Mike and Elliot drove me to Camp Bement when I was thirteen, but I didn't really get to know Eric until a few years later.)
Nancy has had brain cancer, twice. Twice! She survived both times, by a prayer and the skin of her teeth, and she's still here, cancer-free. It changed her, especially the second time, but she's still Nancy. There have been lots of other health problems, many of them a result of the extremely toxic and painful cancer treatments, but she's still with us. Mike's a funny guy, often silly, but surviving cancer with Nancy revealed a strength in him that we hadn't seen before.
The second that comes to mind is Dave. This only comes second because I have to force myself to think about it. My mind just slides off or around thoughts of Dave if I don't concentrate. Dave died a year and a half ago, and that memory is like a grain of sand in an oyster: a pearl has developed around it, to make it stop hurting.
I don't need to repeat Dave's story.
Now there's another very special person at war with her own body: Sandi Smith, from my old ecclesia and stomping grounds in New Hampshire. Sandi's in her forties, I've known her for sixteen+ years. We hope and pray that she's going to "beat it," but as her husband Steve says, "she's not yet over the hump."
Sandi is special, and she and Steve are a special couple. They still say they've never had a fight, and I believe them. It's not that they just don't argue with anybody... Steve and I have had a few. They're just very harmonious, their gears all seemed to mesh from the start.
I'm not trying to depress you with the fight against cancer. No, I'm trying to make everyone understand that I'm doing what I can to help with the problem. Prayer first, that's the best I have to offer... but I'm also participating in two fund-raisers this year to help with treatment options and the search for cures.
Yes, I said "fund raisers." Money. Cancer is an invading force, and its entire army fights for free. Unfortunately the doctors, nurses, research scientists, hospitals, eqipment, and medicine that fight on our side of the war are not free, not by a long shot.
I'm riding in the PMC for a number of reasons. I love cycling, I want to spend time with my friends Steve, Jim, and Chris... but I'm also riding in honor of those on the front lines of the war against cancer. People like Nancy, Dave, and Sandi, and everybody who loves them.
Page last updated: 7/8/2004
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From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. - WC