Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Dear Richard Branson - SHOW US THE MONEY

As most of you will know, I have joined a team called Vision Crusaders.

This team is a group of 27 riders around Australia who have one dream this year. That is to complete the Grand Slam of Ride To Conquer Cancer.


And for many, they have added Auckland as well. Not me, I am only focussing on the Australian rides. Logistically, Auckland just seems too hard. I don't have a passport and $300 to get one is better in Peter Mac's pocket.

For us 27 riders to raise the money to qualify, we have had to focus on corporate donations. We need over $400K to cover the required sum of $2500 for each ride, plus flights and accommodation. If we don't raise the money - we don't ride. Simple.

For me, just trying to find the time, energy, focus and commitment to raise $2500 is tough. Add to this $2500 for Mello to qualify for Melbourne, helping where I can so the members of my home team "Fighting Back" can qualify for Melbourne ... then focus on the additional 4 rides I have signed up for ... on top of the other things life throws at me - kids, husband, full time work, housework, cooking, shopping, school council president duties, homework, pets, family, friends ..... me?? OK - any wonder I am exhausted all of the time. So to now increase my personal fundraising to $12,500 with the prospect that I need $2500 in 7 weeks is very daunting. Plus air fairs and accommodation ... oh boy. Honestly - if I am going to cough up money for 4 air flights, I'd much rather that be for a family holiday.

To be honest, I was relying on the corporate sponsorship and donations to come through just so I could complete this dream of mine. I knew that it was my only true way of achieving what I really wanted to do. I knew that without the corporate sponsorship and donations, I can only really look at completing the Melbourne Ride to Conquer Cancer this year.

Am I disappointed. No. Maybe. Yes.

No - because I have raised awareness and funds that are needed for Cancer Research. And I have my team - Fighting Back who I will be riding with here in Melbourne.

Maybe - we sign up to these things knowing at the end of it, we get to actually do what we set out to do. So not to do that is disappointing.

Yes - Yes, because this is called Ride to Conquer Cancer. I want to ride!!!

Anyway, I digress - as always :)

A team member of Vision Crusaders - Dani has started her own campaign. It is to invite Richard Branson to ride with her if she gets 1 million likes on a picture.

As a team member, I have been asked to support this campaign by getting others to participate in the #richardbransonproject .... basically getting people to hold a sign up as ask Richard to ride with Dani. 

BUT - I couldn't care less if Richard Branson rides with us. Honest - yep, that is me. In fact, I would prefer he didn't. This is a personal journey and the last thing I want is some media circus around to capture Richard Branson ... what about the hard work the rest of us do? 

What I care about is if he has $400k to donate to help with Cancer Research. I ask myself, if Richard Branson rocked up to Brisbane or any of the other capital cities with a bike to ride with Dani, would I be there to see it? Answer is, only if I had raised $2500 to be there. Yes, he would bring a media. Yes, he would create attention. Yes, he will make Vision Crusaders more visable. But would that result in money donated to cancer research? I can't answer that. And wouldn't he rather donate $400K to a UK based Cancer Research Centre?

So, no, I don't care if Richard rides with us. I only care about raising money. I only care about treatments being available to people who need it. Real people. Like the people I ride for. 

All of the faces you see above are faces that have been touched by Cancer. Directly or indirectly - their life has changed because of Cancer. And for too many of them, their life has ended because of Cancer. I ride for these people and all the people they represent. I ride to raise money in their honour. So do I care if Richard Branson rides with me? No. I only care if he brings a bag full of money. 

Dear Richard Branson,
Instead of flying all the way to Australia and riding with Dani ... how about flicking a spare $400K our way so we can all do what means more to us than anything ... riding for those close to us who have been touched by Cancer. I am sure Dani won't be disappointed by that.
Bec Failla

Friday, 21 June 2013

It's Not Just a Bike

Today, we celebrate Mav’s first birthday. Yes, the bike. Yes, my bike. Yes, we had cake.

Maverick T Failla – my 2012 Giant Avail Advanced 2.

GIANT ... a thing of great size, extraordinary power, significance and importance - the very reason why I ride. To Fight Back and to Conquer.

M = Mely, Michelle, Michaela and Mark
A = Aino and Annie
V = Vince
E = Eddie
R = Richard and Ruth
I = I am the one who will take these fighters and angels on my journey
C = Caroline
K = Ken
T = Tom & Tommaso 

We celebrate, because Mav is not just a bike. Mav is the symbol of what I stand for.
Tonight as I sit here, I am reflecting on Mav’s first year like I would have on the first birthday of Sam, Amy and Mia.

I have gone back to day 1, where we were both introduced and I was overwhelmed with emotion. Our first tentative moments together where I realized that you can have all the flash gear, but it doesn’t really help if you don’t know what you are doing.

Our first month was where we really got to know each other.

And then following on with that, it was special moments that we shared that will be forged in my memory forever. Moments I will never forget.

Mav aloft, Me Conquering, My wingmen by my side and my Family always in front! 

Mav is not just a bike. Mav is that symbol of Fighting Back. It is that symbol that I am trying in the only way I now know how to make a difference.

I could write forever about what Mav means to me. I could write forever about how she has changed my life. I could write forever about the brilliant friendships I now have because of her. But instead, you can just work back through my blogs, because it is all in there. And if it is not, then I can’t find the right words to describe how I feel.

So to sum it up, I will use this quote – shared by one of those brilliant friends I have met since having Mav J

THANKS KB for most of these brilliant memories xo

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

My inspiration to not quit!!

Over the last 3 years I have dedicated part of my life (it feels like most of it) to raising money and awareness for Cancer Research. The majority of people have been supportive. Along the way there has been what is known in the cyber world as haters or trolls. Yes, even those who are doing something so selfless are the target of those people.

The last few months have been particularly hard for me. And normally, I will just ignore it all and understand that some people will just like to bring people down as it makes them feel better. But bit by bit, comment after comment and action after action it eventually got to me. So I did what the little kid inside me has always done – I backed into a corner and let it get to me.

It got to me to the point that I was going to walk away from it all. I had fallen victim to the doubt that one person could make a difference. I had fallen victim to the truth that there never will be an actual cure for cancer. And I had fallen victim to a few people who were hell bent on trying to ruin my Ride to Conquer.

And then came a message from one of the biggest fighters that I have spent the better part of 3 years fighting for. Michelle. The M in Mince and the M in Maverick! Along with Vince, Michelle has been there for every kilometer I have cycled. Michelle is 29 and for the majority of her adult life she has been fighting Cancer. It has taken different forms, a sign that it is trying to invade any part of her body to win its fight. But Michelle just keeps fighting harder.

If we all take a moment to think of the years between 18 and 29, there are so many major moments in those years that Michelle has been deprived of. She couldn't live her life, because she was trying to save it.
Boyfriends and girlfriends, engagements, marriage, kids. Buying your first house, going on a holiday and sharing memories with those who were close.
Just after Michelle turned 29 in January, I felt that I wanted to do something special for her given there was so much in her 20’s that she had missed out on. But the one thing that Michelle wanted, I could never give her. That was a baby.

For someone who is fighting daily for her life, pumping poisons into her body to try and stop the cancer invading and having a body that’s mission is to destroy the one thing Michelle so dearly wanted, a new life was never really a consideration. Saving hers was.

But while we all went on dinner dates, Michelle was having breakfast dates in the Peter Mac Cafeteria. This is where she met Matthew, a fellow cancer patient. That was the common ground where love was to blossom.

Matthew was also fighting for his life – a battle that he would lose. Just 10 weeks ago, Matthew became an angel and left Michelle with the greatest legacy!

Today, I am so proud to write about Michelle being 26 weeks pregnant. Obviously a very high risk pregnancy, but she has a little miracle, a little life that will be bought into this world that will show that no matter what – Cancer can be beaten.

The picture of life

This story is bitter sweet. The little life that grows inside Michelle will never get to meet his daddy. And his mummy still has to face the fight by continuing to undergo treatment for the disease that just won’t give up. Even whilst pregnant, Michelle still has to have a modified treatment plan consisting of chemo and radiotherapy. A plan that is targeted to destroy her tumors, but preserve the little life that is determined to grow.  It reminds me of a desert flower: even the harshest conditions won’t stop life when it is determined to grow.
Some things are just meant to be

So, I am yet again reminded that in the times that I feel that life is getting me down and I just want to walk away, I just have to turn to my angels and fighters. Each and every one of them provide me with a level of inspiration, courage and hope.  I have to keep my eye on the prize … and when faced with death in nearly every direction I have turned in the last 3 years, it is so nice to finally focus on life!