Friday, 19 October 2012

From MY perspective ..

This time next week it will the the eve of what is set to be one of the biggest life changing moments of my life. As I sit here trying to find the words that seem clear in my head, there is one thing that stands out. Even I cannot believe what the last 11 months has bought about.

I have changed as a person. Instead of saying "I wish I could do that" ... I did it!

This last 11 months has not been easy though. I wouldn't change it for the world, but the changes it has had on my life are remarkable.

I would like to think that this has made me a better person. But it has made me a different person!!!!

Here I was, leading the stagnant life. Day by day, week by week and year by year - not much changed. I was predictable, I was dependable, I was reliable and I was always there for anyone who needed me. I was so busy being anything to everyone there was one thing I never had time for. ME!!!!

This last 11 months, dedicated to making a difference to those affected by Cancer has taught me more about ME than the previous 37 years. So when I say the words Journey - that is exactly what I have been on.

Photo supplied by kirsty baxter
Last weekend, when out on a training ride with the Liv/giant girls, this photo was snapped. I was wearing a GoPro camera supplied by Kirsty Baxter - the very amazing chick who chases us down Beach Road in her car to take photos. She pops up on the side of the road when you least expect it ... snapping really cool action shots of us enjoying ourselves!!

But this photo is something that I want to share as it is a view from my perspective and very symbolic.

Looking down is my bike Mav. Given to me by Jo at Giant bikes because she was touched by my story. I met Jo at a function thrown for Jessica Douglas that I was lucky enough to score an invite to. Jess had just won the MTB 24 hour World Championship and also had a lot to do with me receiving Mav. (I still shake my head in disbelief) At the dinner, all the people in the room all asked me "Do you ride?" ... "What do you ride" ... etc. Understandably, none of them could believe that I was riding 200kms to raise money on a commuter! After the function, I was bold enough to ask Jo if she could help me get on a new bike to make my journey a bit easier. I was hoping for a discount on a basic roadie - Not the whole lot of "really friggen awesome" bike that Mav is!!!

Still looking down, on the top tube of Mav is 26 names. 26 people who have all personally battled Cancer. These names are those Angels and Fighters that keep me going. Without these names, I would have given up! They have kept me focussed, they have kept me on track and they have inspired me to keep going no matter how tough it is. (again, thanks Jo for organising the "really friggen awesome" sticker .. and for still laughing at my previous attempt with the dymo machine)

Behind these names are my family and friends. Family and friends who has supported me on this journey. Family and friends who have donated because of the affect Cancer has had on them. Take the name Michelle Wood for instance. Michelle has made a profound difference to my life, but I have never met her. She is the sister of my dear friend Lee! Michelle has battled for years with Cancer. And so has Lee. But the battle has been very different for Lee. The battle was dealing with the fact her little sister was dying and there was not a damn thing she could do about it. I am happy to report Michelle is doing really well!!!

Vince Failla - my brother in law. He has 2 massive scars across his stomach that remind him daily of what he has been through to beat Cancer. For the rest of the family, we wear the scars on our heart, knowing that we had to think about what life without Vince could have been like. The names Tommoso Billeci and Sadie-May Billeci. Their pain, suffering and fight is over, but their daughter Tash - a friend of mine is left to suffer the pain and loss of both her parents to such a cruel disease. 23 other names, 23 other stories!!!

Looking forward is the road ahead. We don't know what is coming up, nor do we know what is around the corner. All we know is that we are moving in the right direction, with both hands firmly on the wheel. That is what I will get to enjoy next weekend. With my team and new friends beside me, a support crew waiting at either end, angels on my back and the fight in my heart I will l look down and see 2 names on Mav ... Corinna Brown and Nicola Donaldson. Both of these remarkable women have beaten Cancer and will be there .. Riding To Conquer Cancer.

Thanks again to all the team at Liv/giant for everything!
 The girls who I have spent time training with over the last few months are friends I will now have for life!
Liv/giant certainly gave me A WHOLE NEW WAY OF LIVING

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

16 days

16 days is all that is left for me to wait.

16 days until I embark on the journey of my lifetime.

16 days of high emotion as I review exactly what I have achieved in the last 11 months.

I will raise $3,500, helped recruit 5 other riders and build a team who have together raised $26,000 for Peter Mac.

12 months ago if you asked me what I wanted to achieve in the next year, I could not have even dreamt this. Am I proud – ABSOLUTLY!!! I could not be any prouder of myself for all of the hurdles that I have jumped to get here.

Along this road, I have met some of the most amazing people. People who I would never have ever met unless I put myself out there and just told my story. My story – My Reason to Ride. I have said it before and I’ll say it again – my sole reason is to raise money for Peter Mac. That is what got me out of bed during Winter and put in the hard training that was required. That is what pushed me out of my comfort zone and asked people for donations – something that makes me very uncomfortable. My reason also gave me the fuel to never give up.

Now I reach a point of reflection, my eyes well with tears. Tears for those I have touched. Tears for my Angels, and tears for the tough times my Fighters had. And tears for all the people that have sat at bedsides, living in hope that a difference could be made.

I digress for a moment:
Two weeks ago when my husband underwent a relatively simple procedure, I saw a side of myself that I never knew I had. I am always so busy putting on the tough girl super woman impersonation because that is who I am! But even Super Woman has her Kryponite. So many things happened on that day, but when I watch my husband walk away with the nurse to head into surgery, my heart just broke. How could I make sure he was going to be OK? What if something happened and I was not there? I had to put all my trust in the doctors to make sure my husband would be OK. While he was in surgery, I headed home to collect the kids so we could all be together when hubby got out of recovery. But one thing after another just seemed to go wrong and I slowly lost the tough girl and turned into something I had hidden from for so long – HUMAN!

It was this situation that made me realize how precious my family is to me. It made me realize just how precious life is and how much we take it for granted. It is this experience that I realized how many people actually sit in hospitals hoping for a difference. How many people have to sit waiting patiently and put all of their trust and hopes into the hands of our medical people. For a control freak like me – I would rather be the patient. But how many people sat like me stressed to the eyeballs and was told “I’m Sorry” ….
If what I am about to do in 16 days saves one person from hearing that, then that is the difference I have made!