Since my original diagnosis and surgery in 2004, my family, friends, and I have participated in the Boston Brain Tumor Ride every spring to raise funds and awareness towards a cure for brain tumors.
In November, 2014 I was diagnosed with a recurrent inoperable brain tumor. I spent the past year undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment to prevent further growth. Thankfully, during my most recent MRI I received news that the tumor is currently stable.
This event is one of my favorite days of the year. In 2015, I wrote a refelection about why this ride is so important, and why I hope you will join me, my family, and friends for the 2017 Boston Brain Tumor Ride on Sunday, May 21:
“The Boston Brain Tumor Ride last Sunday could not have been a better day. It wasn't just the beautiful weather, scenic bike routes, festive environment, or the fact that I received two Red Sox tickets afterwards. No...what made Sunday a day I will never forget is all of my family, friends, and community who came together to support me, to support each other, and to support the larger brain tumor community.
In a speech I gave after the ride, I mentioned that coming to terms with my own mortality has made me more understanding of the importance of the present, and that it is in the present where I draw my hope and strength. Those words could not have been more true than on Sunday.
Quite literally actually, Sunday was the best I felt health and energy-wise since starting the chemo cycles two and a half weeks ago. After finishing my first chemo cycle, I felt pretty fatigued to the point where I was unsure whether or not I would attempt to even get on a bike. On Sunday morning though, I managed to complete the 10-mile ride, gaining energy as I biked along the route.
This wasn't some miraculous achievement I pulled off, rather, it epitomizes what I have believed and continue to believe since my original surgery in 2004: that what keeps me going, the reason I am still here today, is the support of my family, friends, and larger community.
I truly believe I was able to bike the 10 miles because of the energy of everyone around me both there in person and afar. This ride was a success not because of one individual, but because a community came together to be there for one another. Together we raised over $35,000 for brain tumor research! But our success goes beyond the number of dollars raised...it includes the community of hope that was forged. That community includes the over 45 riders in Boston, Chicago, and Bali...the more than 500 people that donated to our team...and the countless messages of support in the months leading up to the ride.
After my speech, I received a heartwarming hug from a mother whose son passed away at 23 years old, my age, from a brain tumor. In our brief moment of embrace I apologized for her lost, but she responded by thanking me for continuing to live on in the way she would have wanted for her son. And that's really what this is all about...
On Sunday and in the months leading up to the ride what united us was not just the impact of brain tumors, it was an appreciation of and love for life. It was recognizing that what life is all about is being there for one another.
To me, recognizing the importance of the present means appreciating all of the people by your side. And just like the success of the ride could not have been achieved alone, my journey with brain cancer will not be one I walk alone. I had the amazing privilege on Sunday to witness all of the support I have. With that privilege, I believe, comes a responsibility to in turn be there for all of those around me...my family, friends...my community. Because when it all comes down to it, what is truly important in life is being there for each other.
So thank you for being there for me, for giving me strength, and for giving me hope. It was a day I will never forget, so let's keep on riding...and keep on living!”
I plan to keep riding this May to honor those we have lost, support those who are currently in treatment, and so everyone impacted by brain tumors can keep on living. I hope you’ll join me!
Together We Can Find A Cure
The National Brain Tumor Society is fiercely committed to finding a cure for brain tumors. They are aggressively driving strategic research; advocating for public policies that meet the critical needs of the brain tumor community; and providing comprehensive patient, family and caregiver resources. Your support ensures this important work will continue.