Mom, Cancer, and Dirt Bikes...
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Mom's cancer struggle continues to wear on her. I'm riding a challenging cross-country trail on a dirt bike to inspire and support her
This is a story of my mom. And cancer. And dirt bikes. And a son who loves his mom. My mom’s story began a long time ago. Probably about 1996. She was 55 at the time. About the same time as my dad died, she discovered she had breast cancer. I was far away in the US Air Force and supported my mom over the phone as she fought, and won, her breast cancer battle. Her treatment had been very successful (radiation) and after all the work was done, she bounced back with renewed vigor. I’d never seen such an active and happy senior citizen. Never. She could do ANYTHING. She was exercising, losing weight, and so active!
10 years later, exactly at that wonderful 10 year anniversary when cancer patients are supposed to be declared “completely cancer free” she was told that her cancer had returned. I remember the days well…she was planning to attend the Susan Komen walk and was so proud she’d made it 10 years, and then was devastated to hear the news. Her cancer had moved to her back, and eventually broke a bone in her vertebrae. This time, (after fusing the bone) her doctors used hormone manipulation to stop the growth. Over the last 8 years now, she has fought a very good battle, but in truth, the cancer is slowly winning. This year, in preparation for a new drug study, she had a brain scan. The cancer has moved close to her brain and doctors have to monitor the movement closely now. Some things are just hard to write…
But, what does this have to do with dirt bikes? Several years ago, I saw reports and stories about a 5000+ mile adventure motorcycle trip across the US. The route was 80% dirt roads or offroad, and allowed the rider to see the real “America” rather than what we see day to day in our typical lives. The trail stretches from Tennessee to Oregon, through areas that few travelers ever set foot. Some areas require the rider to carry extra water and fuel, as a mistake in navigation of even 10 miles can put the rider in severe danger in the desert. Out of gas and/or water, in 100+ degree heat. I wanted to do it, and over the course of the last few years, I’ve worked on my offroad skills in Cambodia, the US, and in South Korea so that now I feel confident to do so.
Ok, so what do these two things have to do with each other? Simply put, I asked my mom as I was preparing for the TAT (That’s the Trans-America Trail) what she wanted me to do. Go on the trip or stay with her. She enthusiastically encouraged me to go on the trip. I promised her I would include her in the trip, and here it is.
I don’t have a goal – monetarily. What we want is to raise awareness and cancer research.
So, sponsor me (my mom) per mile, for the trip, however you see fit. I’ll give you trip updates (and mom updates!) as often as the trail permits, and will follow up afterward with a more detailed ride report, complete with some (hopefully) awesome photos. As an aspiring photographer, I hope I meet this goal as well.
Thanks for taking the time to read and consider this project, Steve