Cancer wasn’t something that touched my life very specifically growing up. For the most part, my extended family was free of the disease. None of my immediate family members had to face it. It was something that happened to people farther outside my sphere of relationships.
Then, in 2006 that changed. My friend, Mike McCaskill – who was a decade younger than I, was diagnosed with a brain cancer. My bubble of immunity was shattered.
Mike’s friends joined in the battle with him. My part was to determine to engage in a charity ride in his honor. My plan was to raise money for the fight and then present him with a special jersey I had made. It was my hope to be an encouragement and do something substantive at the same time.
I never had a chance to present the jersey. Mike died before I participated in the 2007 ride. My participation in that Palmetto Peloton Project ride was in Mike’s memory – not to honor his continuing fight.
It was at that time I determined to attempt a significant charity ride in memory of Mike each year. That led me to participate in the first ever Palmetto Peloton Project Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride in 2008. It was my way to keep Mike’s memory alive and keep me motivated to be aware of others who are fighting against this killer called cancer.
Since that time, I have come upon many other friends – and now extended family members – who have been pulled into this fight they did not choose. My fund raising alone probably has done very little to help them. However, participating in the Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride has changed forever the way I see cancer and those fighting it.
My short ride across the country is an insufficient way to show my love and concern for those friends and family members facing these battles – or living each day supporting a warrior or missing a loved one whose battle has ended. I ride for Mike… and so much more. www.rideformike.com