By Kathi Casey.
There is so much talk about people living with cancer these days. There isn’t a person that I know who doesn’t have a loved one either undergoing cancer treatment or who has lost their battle…
Today I’d like to share a story with you about a friend who got fed up and frustrated and simply HAD to do something to help. He’s known as an “out of the box” thinker and he certainly used this gift to find a unique way to help those affected by cancer!
About three years ago, Ned lost his best friend from childhood to cancer unexpectedly. She lived only a few months after her diagnosis. Shortly after that, a dear family friend was diagnosed and again, within a few months there was another funeral to attend. Next, an aunt and three friends he’d worked with succumbed to cancer.
It suddenly seemed to Ned as if people were “dropping like flies” from this disease – no warning, no treatments that helped, only some that made people feel worse, and the most annoying part was there was nothing that he could do to help! He was angry and frustrated and these were feelings that the ever cheerful Ned was unaccustomed to.
It wasn’t long before he came back to his cheerful self, and inspiration hit him. He began surfing the internet until he found a way that he could personally help more of our friends and family enjoy many more birthdays. Ned found out that the American Cancer Society was starting an annual fundraising event called Bicycles Battling Cancer not far from his hometown. He said “I’m not a doctor or a researcher, but I can ride a bike – I can do that!” and he signed up for the event.
Training for the 75 mile ride was a struggle, but he did the best he could to fit longer and longer rides into his busy schedule so that he’d be able to do all 75 miles. He also came up with another brilliant plan and picked up a plain lime green biking shirt. On the front of that shirt, he put the name of his best friend under the words In loving memory of and began talking about his ride and asking other co-workers, family and friends whose name they’d like to add to his shirt, and before you knew it, he had added 12 names to the front of the shirt with his permanent marker, and he started another list on the back under the words In support of.
This list also grew longer and longer as the event drew closer and Ned raised a whopping $3500.00 for cancer research – all from individual, private donations! He was the only rider that year who was not wearing the typical bike shirt. Ned wore the shirt covered with all of our loved ones names and carried them all with him on his ride. My brother Jack’s name is on the front of Ned’s shirt and the back carries my brother Pat’s name. I’m happy to report that that was three years ago and Pat is now cancer free thanks to Ned and others like him.
I’m proud of Ned and all of the other riders who have used their athletic ability to raise funds for research and treatment. The slogan for Bicycles Battling Cancer is “Helping create a world with less cancer and more birthdays, where cancer never steals another year from anyone’s life!” This is a fabulous goal. The second year that Ned rode his bike, the ride was 100 miles and this week he’ll be riding another 100 miles and his shirt has more names – they’re even on the sleeves now.
Over the last three years this group of dedicated bike riders has raised somewhere in the ballpark of half a million dollars for the American Cancer Society, providing support and information on remaining cancer free; to those living with cancer for transportation to treatments, clinical trials, treatments centers, and more. There is also a big chunk that goes for research to find a cure so that no one needs to suffer with cancer anymore.
Ned and all the other inspirational riders who use their athletic abilities through this event as well as “Relay for Life” and “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” are all fine examples of our innate human concern for one other. They provide hope and encouragement to the many thousands of people living with cancer. And most of all, they inspire the rest of us to follow in their footsteps. Thank you Ned!
If you’d like to ride your bicycle in this event or start a ride in your home town, here is a link to the website for more information.
Best of Health,