In 1996 I rollerbladed 5000 miles to prove that the human spirit can overcome the impossible. My mother had been diagnosed with leukemia when I was ten years old, I promised her then that I would fight along side her. In those days leukemia was a death sentence, as she entered the accelerated phase of the disease, I wanted to prove to her that the human spirit could overcome even the most impossible obstacles. To give my mother the courage to fight, as she slipped into her final battle, I put on a pair of rollerblades and skated 5000 miles to raise money for research. As I left on my epic journey she whispered in my ear “if you make it, I’ll make.” Over the next 165 days I skated over mountains and prairies, I got chased by dogs and bears, I slept in the rain and ate on gas station hotdogs. My blisters bled, my muscles ached and in the cold rain of autumn, even mononucleosis could not slow me down.
Twenty five years ago, on October 15, 1996, one hundred and sixty five days after departing Victoria, BC I arrived at St. John’s Newfoundland, proving without a doubt that the human spirit can truly over come even the most challenging obstacles.
When I got home my mother held me tight, her hair fallen out from chemotherapy, but true to her word. She had beaten the odds to see me arrive back safely, and continued to valiantly fight for another 14 years. She lived long enough to see scientists develop new therapeutics which allowed her to fulfill her dream of seeing her children grow up, and even holding her first grandchild in her arms before she passed away, 23 years after her diagnosis.
In the 25 years since my fundraising campaign I obtained a PhD in cancer research, studying with the doctors in the hospital that saved my mother’s life on so many occasions. While doing cancer research at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, I met Terry Hogue, a former Paramedic Captain with the San Francisco Fire Department. A few years later my father walked me down the aisle and we got married.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the completion of my rollerblade trek for hope, I want to ask you to help me save the lives of the ones who save our lives.
Too many of our friends and family have suffered from this horrible disease. We can change this. I am raising funds for the San Francisco Fire Fighter Cancer Prevention Foundation. Cancer is a leading cause of death among firefighters. Fire fighters heroically put their lives on the line, walk in to urban and wildfires, natural disasters and motor vehicle accidents, exposing themselves to cancer causing chemicals day after day.
The top concern of the San Francisco Fire Fighter Cancer Prevention Foundation is prevention. They conducing research on how to prevent unnecessary exposure on the fire ground and in the workplaces. The foundation supports active and retired firefighters who are battling cancer and educates those who have been diagnosed. They educate firefighters on cancer risks they face, provide free cancer screenings, and assist families of firefighters in the first steps post diagnosis.
I skated 5000 miles, I challenge you to help me raise a dollar for every mile I skated.
On October 15, 2021 I will dust off my skates and rollerblade through San Francisco to the San Francisco Fire Department Headquarters to present the San Francisco Fire Fighter Cancer Prevention Foundation with a symbolic check for the amount we raised. (The check is symbolic because all monies raised go from Gofundme directly to the foundation.)
Please help me help those who help us.
Please give generously and share on social media.
About the San Francisco Firefighters Prevention Foundation: