In September 2017, as part of a team of cyclists across this great country, I will take part in my SEVENTH Sears National Kids Cancer Ride. The cause is very important to me and thousands of families across Canada as it provides the much needed funds for research programs directly relating to childhood cancer and other childhood cancer programs.
So, the question that comes up is “why”, why are you doing this for a 7th time? Well, for those who do not know our story let me tell you, and then I will answer the question “why”.
On April 24, 2008 our family received a call that would change our lives forever. What was normal in life changed to what my wife and I call “The New Normal”, living with cancer. Earlier that day our 4 year old daughter Megan went to our family doctor as we suspected that something was wrong (lethargic, bruising, no appetite). At 11:10pm our family doctor called saying that we needed to get Megan to the hospital. My wife and I made our way down to Kingston General Hospital and by 2:30am we were told that they suspected that Megan had Leukemia, and at 3:30am the words that no parent should hear were spoken, “Your Child has Cancer”.
By noon on April 25, 2008, our daughter received her first of many bone marrow extractions, spinal taps, blood transfusions and chemotherapy treatments. There were a lot of tears shed that day (and many days after) and for the first time in my life I felt helpless and unable to help my child fight an invisible menace. Cancer was holding my child hostage. Megan was diagnosed with AML Leukemia. Six months past and Megan’s treatment stopped and her cancer was in remission … or so we thought….. Megan returned to school in Sr. Kindergarten in January 2009 and did well with the support of the amazing staff and students at Mother Teresa Catholic School. 17 months past and everything was as normal as it could be (still going to appointments every month for counts) and the occasional stay in the hospital if her counts were down and an infection set in. On February 21, 2010, Megan had an appointment for her regular checkup. Later in the afternoon we received a call from the oncology team that they needed to see us. Time stopped at that moment as we knew something was wrong. Later that afternoon we were told that Megan’s cancer had returned.
As we put the kids to bed that evening, knowing what we knew, we didn’t share the events of that day with the kids and decided to give them one more good night sleep before we shared the news. As my wife and I entered Megan’s room I sat down on her bed and we began to talk. It was then when Megan made a statement that will stay with me forever. She asked me if I would do the Sears National Ride again to help kids who were fighting cancer. Little did she know her cancer was back and that as per her request, I did register for the 2010 SNKCR, but that I would be riding for her again in 2010 and in the near future she would be admitted into the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario to start the process for a bone marrow transplant.
We were admitted into Sick Kids in the first week of May to start the process of eliminating all her blood cells. On May 14, 2010, Megan received the greatest gift a person could give, a bone marrow transplant to help her in battle against cancer. This gift was provided by her big sister Leah (age 9 at donation). Megan was kept in isolation for the next 30 days.
Megan has been cancer free since her transplant, and on May 14, 2012 we celebrated 2 years post transplant, a milestone for a transplant recipient. Every year since the transplant we celebrate May 14 as “Megan and Leah’s Birthday”. It is the ‘rebirth of Megan with the incredible gift of life provided to her by Leah’. This May will be a very special birthday as it marks Megan’s 6th year of being CANCER FREE.
So, why do I ride and why am I riding again in 2017? The answer is simple, because I want to help and support children battling cancer across Canada and to build awareness across the communities we visit. I also ride because I can (both physically and mentally).
Help me by supporting these great kids and this great cause as 100% of your donation, yes 100% of your donation goes directly to programs and research to support children living with and beyond cancer.