Andrew Blysak will be riding this September in honor of his wife, Ali.
Just over one year ago, Ali came home and gave her family the news that no one wants to hear. Doctors had found a lump and tests needed to be done. Blysak told himself to be strong and everything would be okay, but unfortunately stage two invasive breast cancer doesn’t allow anyone to stay calm. Treatment quickly began, first with a bilateral mastectomy, followed by four rounds of chemotherapy and 25 rounds of radiation. “I found myself completely helpless as I watched my wife suffer through the disease.” says Blysak.
Fortunately, Ali is doing well today and their family is getting life back on a healthy track. "The support my family received was incredible and a blessing that I will be forever grateful for."
As Blysak always wished he could do more, The Ride is his way to do that. He has already raised over $7,700 and is currently sitting as one of the top fundraiser for this year’s Ride. “Training for the Ride and fundraising became something that I finally had control over, and I found that a little bit of energy yielded great results. Being able to share our journey was very therapeutic for me, and asking our friends and family to be a part of conquering cancer came very naturally. I’ve sent out four or five emails to friends, family and business colleagues, and the support has been overwhelming. The stories of triumph and loss that people have, in turn, shared with me continue to be a great motivator.”
“I can’t wait to ride with so many people who have been touched by this awful disease and those who are stepping up to do what we can to conquer cancer. I encourage everyone to join us!"
Amber Warrington has seen the first hand advancements that take place at Johns Hopkins, as she works as a Administrative Supervisor in Medical Oncology. Unfortunately cancer became personal, when her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, but Warrington knew her mother was in the right hands and would receive the best care possible.
Three years earlier, Warrington’s mother had lost her sister to brain cancer, and was determined to do whatever she could to beat cancer and be around for her children and grandchildren. Her family and the care team at Johns Hopkins became her support system as she began treatment. Aggressive chemotherapy was tough on her body and there were points where the family was unsure if she would make it. “My mom never complained and always wanted to know the truth,” said Warrington. Unfortunately, news came that the cancer had spread to her brain and radiation began.
The family decided they needed their mother to live life to her fullest, taking her on a cruise and hosting a big birthday party for her. “My mom was so surprised by everything we did for her and was so grateful to be around her family and friends,” says Warrington. “We knew mom wasn’t going to be able to fight this awful disease much longer, so we enjoyed every day we had with her.”
Sadly on June 23, 2012, she lost her battle. In her memory, Warrington wanted to continue to stay active and do something to make her mom proud. She has registered for the Ride to Conquer Cancer and will cycle 150 miles in September with a friend of hers.
“I’ve already raised over $2,800 by reaching out to my family and friends and I am surprised how easy the fundraising has been." Warrington has made a flyer that she can hand out to her network to explain The Ride, why she has decided to participate this year and ask for a donation.
“The support you receive motivates you to know that you can do this. You don’t have to be an athlete and everyone is there to help you along the way. I’m really looking forward to riding with so many people and making new friends along the route."
Warrington is determined to do her part in conquering cancer, so that others don’t have to lose their loved ones. “I know my mom would be proud of me for doing this and that continues to give me motivation to push forward.”
Andrew Reed always took pride in himself for being very active and having a happy and successful lifestyle. Until one day, just under two years ago, he got the news that turned his life upside down. Reed was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. Once the cancer had spread to his liver and peritoneum, he was told he likely only had a year to live.
Reed had already witnessed his mother fight breast cancer and his father lose his life to prostate cancer. Unsure what his future would be, he began doing whatever was needed to become a survivor and beat cancer. “I always thought cancer would happen to someone else. I would never actually be diagnosed with the disease,” says Reed. Treatment and surgeries began and his priorities quickly changed. Suddenly the things that mattered in his life were his relationships with family, friends and appreciating life every day.
Fortunately for Reed, treatment is working and he is finding himself able to keep up a fairly active lifestyle. In just a few weeks, he will be finished his chemo treatments and hopes to hear the news that the cancer is gone. “I’m ready to get on with my life. I want to tell cancer I am done with you and get back to living without it!"
Reed knows that continued research and care is saving his life and that there is always someone worse then him. To continue his active lifestyle and support a cause that means so much to him, Reed has signed up to participate in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. “Originally I set my fundraising goal at $5,000, twice the minimum required. As I continued to reach out to my network to ask for donations, people continue to support a cause that many of us are touched by, and I raised my goal to $10,000. I am determined to be one of the top fundraisers this year and I’ll keep pushing past any goal and I will probably raise it to $15,000." To date, Reed has already raised over $6,000.
“The challenge isn’t the cycling or the fundraising, the challenge is on all the people who are fighting this terrible disease. We all need to do our part, to conquer cancer and end it once and for all!”
Adrian Hagerty will be riding this September in The Ride to Conquer Cancer, in memory of his mother who sadly lost her battle with ovarian cancer.
Hagerty was always so grateful of the care his mother received during her battle and wants to give back to the cause.
Orginaly concerned by the fundraising minimum, he is amazed how easy it has been and is a part of Team Suburban Hospital, who have a goal of raising over $83,000. “It has really taken very little effort to raise the $2,500 minimum. I simply sent an email to all my contacts in my address book using the instructions on the website, and the responses started pouring in. Within one day, I had already raised $2,000,” said Hagerty.
With a goal of $3,000, Hagerty may soon bump up his goal, as people continue to generously donate. “It’s a cause that touches so many of us and everyone is so supportive of my participation in The Ride and our common goal to conquer cancer!”
Dennis Reed will be riding in this years Ride to Conquer Cancer, as part of Team Sibley.
"While I've been lucky enough not to have cancer myself, many of my family members have been touched by cancer,” says Reed. "My wife and mother were treated for malignant melanoma, my uncle with pancreatic cancer, a grandfather with lung cancer and a brother in-law and friend with prostate cancer. This is a cause that is very personal to me.”
“I heard about The Ride and decided it would be a good way to contribute to a program that reaches multiple forms of cancer and it's a great way to raise funds for wonderful institutions that I've been lucky enough to work for.” Reed is the Director of Imagining Services at Sibley Memorial Hospital.
As part of Team Sibley, Reed will cycle with over 35 team members who have a goal of raising over $100,000. Reed has already raised over $1,300 by e-mailing friends and posting his Ride participation to Facebook.
Doretha “Dee” Burrell
Greetings Friends, Family, Colleagues, Physicians, Nurses and Everyone that is a part of my life......
As many of you know, I am a breast cancer survivor and this year I am celebrating my "7th" year as a survivor. My desire is to help others that have or will be battling this life changing ordeal.
I have committed to joining the many other bikers for the two-day cycling journey. I am already asking myself "GIRL, ARE YOU CRAZY TO TAKE ON SUCH A CHALLENGE?", but if my challenge will help to save lives, I am willing to give it my very best. I am fortunate to be a survivor.
One never knows the strength and power within you until something devastating happens to you and surely it gives you a new insight on life.
The Ride to Conquer Cancer® benefiting Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Sibley Memorial and Suburban Hospitals, is a two-day cycling journey, through the scenic landscapes of Maryland, Virginia and DC. It will be a challenge in a number of ways, but with my bike, my helmet, and your generosity, a real impact will be made!”
Cynthia Brandt Campagna
On November 16, 2009, at the age of 72 my mother Edith died of gastric/esophageal #cancer less than eight weeks after her diagnosis; her disease was too far along for any treatment to be effective. My daughter Catherine then was only eight years old, and I’ve very much missed being able to share with Mom (“Oma” to Catherine) stories about my family.
My sister and I have wondered whether the medication Mom was taking to treat her osteoporosis, which has the side effect of acid reflux, contributed to her condition; and we would like to see research done on that issue.
The Ride to Conquer Cancer is an opportunity not only to honor my mother’s memory, but also to “step up” my #cycling. In 2011, I was inspired by Ride Your Bike to Work Day to try cycling to work; I’ve found that I enjoy my cycling commute and I am trying to ride in several times a week, weather and schedule permitting.
The 150-mile distance of the Ride is going to be a huge stretch for me, but I’m hoping that the 20-mile round-trip commute and some longer rides on weekends will get my middle-aged overweight body up to the challenge.
Working as a bedside RN, I experience first hand how devastating a diagnosis of cancer is for patients and their families.
Personally, I experienced the impact of cancer when my husband's uncle was diagnosed with leukemia 3 years ago. His life transformed from always being at work and traveling to business meetings to staying home and struggling my nausea, anorexia, and weakness while undergoing #chemotherapy. At least once a month he was admitted to the hospital for an infection because his body was too weak to defend itself. His disease affected the whole family.
His wife became his primary caregiver and advocate, his sister flew in from Canada multiple times a year to cook his favorite meals and engage him in conversations about the past.
The nieces and nephews, including my husband and I, entertained him by solving puzzles and took his son on outings.
I, as a nurse, supported the wife in understanding the medical aspect of the disease. It took a family effort and today my husband's uncle's leukemia has been in remission for 6 month and controlled with oral chemotherapy.
With the Ride to Conquer Cancer, I want to do my part in helping to find a cure.
This picture was taken at this beginning of the C&O canal bike ride from Cumberland to Georgetown. It took me and my friends 3 days to complete this 184 mile trip.
I have done the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer for the past 5 years and wanted to try something different to help conquer cancer.
I have been a RN for over 28 years. I have seen many suffer. I have watched children lose their mothers. It makes me sad; I want to help if I can.
I also was diagnosed with LCIS last year and I was pretty scared. 2 mammograms have come back normal so far. I'm not out of the blue. I feel exercise is so important. So why not ride, exercise and help save lives?
Thank you so much for any support.
I got into cycling last summer. It started as exercise, but I immediately fell in love. I now ride everywhere!
As soon as I heard about the Ride to Conquer Cancer, I knew it was for me; combining my two passions, riding and being a caretaker.
Working as a patient care tech in Oncology, I see the impact this horrible disease has firsthand.
So many are fighting for another day, we can help more win that fight. I really want to be part of the cure.
Cancer has touched too many families and taken too many lives already. We need to take action against this disease, and I am committed to making a difference.
I've agreed to raise at least $2,500, and need your help to reach this goal. Please take the time to support me, and consider making a donation of $100.
To donate, visit http://bit.ly/1dzTao4 .
Even if you can't commit to donating $100 for my Ride to Conquer Cancer, any amount, large or small, will help my journey to support the fight against cancer.
Please, if you're thinking of making a donation, make it now.
The money is used by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Sibley Memorial Hospital and Suburban Hospital as soon as we raise it, not after the event happens.
Thank you for your generosity!