One of my main motivating factors for getting out the door for workouts (especially these days when it is cold and grey) is hoping that in some way I will be inspiring other people like me - people who have courageously fought (or are fighting) cancer. I hope that by training and racing I can show people that the future can be bright even if it seems totally bleak. No matter how bad things are at the moment, it is possible to emerge from the nightmare stronger than before.
Every so often people reach out to Bec and I and let us know that our story has inspired them. We can’t tell you how much this means to us. We were able to share our story through Nike and Livestrong via an ad campaign and video. We are grateful for this platform since it has touched people all over the world and provided hope and inspiration.
Recently, we were contacted by Mike Gonzalez of Victoria, BC who emailed us to share the story of two of his friends, 23 year old twins. In the summer of 2011, the twins were both participating in The Ride to Conquer Cancer (a two day bike ride from Vancourver to Seattle) in memory of a friend, when their own lives were impacted by cancer. In 2013, the twins are back and this time they are fundraising and riding for a different cause.
When I was going through cancer treatments, Bec signed up for Team in Training to run her first marathon and in the process raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The support we received from our friends, family, and strangers was overwhelming. Hardly a day went by that we didn’t receive a check in the mail with an encouraging note. It was these notes that would get us through the night and make us want to fight another day.
Please take a minute to read the twins’ story below. If you have any encouraging words for them, please leave a note in the comment below and we will make sure the twins receive it. If you are able to make a donation, I’m sure they’d appreciate that, too.
Thanks for reading. --Laurel
Stacey and Karen Olynyk's story, from their Ride to Conquer Cancer team website:
"Stacey and Karen Olynyk were two members of our ride team in 2011. They were forced to withdraw from the ride to return home to Saskatchewan with the passing of their father. It was during this trip home that Stacey was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. At the age of 23, Stacey's life was changed forever. She endured 4 rounds of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatment and faced a battle of a lifetime. Today, Stacey is back living in Victoria, feisty as ever, she is a student at Camosun College, healthy and cancer free.
In September 2012 the unthinkable happened. Stacey’s twin sister Karen was also diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Karen has already completed initial rounds of chemotherapy. Her prognosis is very positive. Her battle has just begun.
We made a promise - we vowed one day, when Stacey had won her fight, when she was healthy again, when she was ready, we would ride with her in the Ride to Conquer Cancer which she never had a chance to complete. A few weeks ago, Stacey sent out a text message, which simply read: "Let's do this!"
We are looking for your support for one more ride on June 15, 2013 - to help keep a promise, to help celebrate Stacey's victory and to help dedicate this ride for her twin sister Karen - inspired by her unimaginable strength, courage, bravery and fight."