I’m back! Back home from another round of surgery, no, there was nothing malignant, but there were 7 rapidly growing tumors that my doctors needed to remove. It feels great to be home, but there were moments over the last 14 days where the pain and discomfort were unbearable. However, as a cancer Thriver, I have learned to count the victories, not the setbacks and my surgery last week was a victory. A victory and a blessing that I share with my doctors, nurses and friends, most importantly Gretchen. It was their strength, support, and love that carried me through and I am most grateful.
Thriving is a mindset in which one is careful to avoid regrets and embrace opportunity at every corner. Yes, I have cancer, and that sucks, but things could be worse: I could have allowed the illness to keep me away from my love of cycling. I could have let the disease change me. Instead, I have, and will continue to do my best, to define what it means to be a cancer Thriver.
For the past 11 years I have ridden in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a two-day, 192-mile cycling event that raises money in support of the Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The Pan-Mass Challenge has grown tremendously over time, and the event raised over $35 million last year, bringing their all time total to more than $238 million.
As a cancer Thriver, and now two time cancer surgery graduate, the 2009 Pan-Mass Challenge will be more meaningful than ever for me.
So on August 1st, I will start my 12th Pan Mass challenge with my fellow riders of ‘Paul’s Posse’. It is going to be harder because of my surgery, new chemotherapy regimen, and lack of training. But I am going to do it.
I’ve taken this challenge seriously for these past 11 years, and I can tell you that now, more than ever, I want to be a part of the effort to search for a solution, and I am hoping that you want to be a part of it too. Before my diagnosis, cancer was a concept, a bad thing that was happening to other people, a bad thing that I wanted to help stop. Now, as a patient for the past two years, I understand the importance of the PMC on a whole new level. Now, when I talk about hope on the roads of Massachusetts, it is no longer a conversation about the looks on the faces of the thousands upon thousands of supporters lining the route. It is now a conversation about my own future, my own treatment, and the hope that new research will one day leave me cancer free. For my part, I am asking myself to send out countless letters raising money, train hard and do the ride, and never stop hoping. For your part, I’m asking you to make a pledge to the cause.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more worthy and leaner organization. In 2008, 100 percent of all funds raised by PMC riders went directly to the Jimmy Fund. More importantly, as in 2008, when the members of ‘Paul’s Posse’ raised nearly $300,000, 100% of the money raised by ‘Paul’s Posse’ this year will go directly to support the work of my doctor, friend, and three time ‘Paul’s Posse’ member, Dr. George D. Demetri at Dana-Farber.
Your tax-deductible check can be made payable to PMC/Jimmy Fund and you can mail it to me. Alternatively, you can use your credit card to make a donation https://www.pmc.org/egifts/my egift ID is PS0036.
I know these are tough financial times, but cancer doesn’t know we’re in a recession, so please donate what you can.