InTown Westchester magazine recently published personal comments from breast cancer survivors. Jill Frey of Larchmont was one who shared her experiences for the article. I will meet Jill and 150 other cyclists who are riding to raise funds to benefit the breast cancer survivors network, Young Survival Coalition. Thursday is the start of the 220 mile Hersheyâ€™s Tour de Pink, a ride from Hershey Pennsylvania to New York City. Iâ€™ll be driving one of the sag wagons and helping with the logistics during the ride. Two former professional and Olympic cyclists will join the other 150 riders this year. Frankie Andreu will ride for the first time and Mari Holden will be on her third Tour de Pink.
Here are Jillâ€™s published comments on getting cancer before 40 and what a life changing event sheâ€™s has gone through.
â€œKeep moving and grooving,â€ I always tell myself, [and have] since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Even at 31 years old and recently married, I was determined that I wouldnâ€™t let cancer stop me from living my life.
Iâ€™m not alone. Shortly after diagnosis, I was lucky to meet 11 other womenâ€”all under age 40â€”who were fighting the same battle. We received excellent medical care, but we found a void: Young women with cancer had nowhere to turn for relevant support, information, and resources. In 1998, we launched the Young Survival Coalition (youngsurvival.org). Today, it is the only international, nonprofit network dedicated to the unique concerns of young women and breast cancer.
More than a decade later, true to my mantra, Iâ€™m still moving. For the past four years, Iâ€™ve ridden with 150 others in Hersheyâ€™s Tour de Pink, the YSCâ€™s biggest fundraiser. The four-day bicycle ride spans more than 200 miles, from Hershey, Pennsylvania, to New York City. The ride requires intense training and constant fundraising, but, by staying in motion, I became the top fundraiser in 2007 and have never failed to cross the finish line. Iâ€™m pushed forward by my burning desire to find the cure. I am a voice and force for all womenâ€”my grandmother, mother, sister, and fellow breast-cancer â€œthrivers.â€ I do it to remind them to, no matter what, keep moving and grooving.
Dennis Simmons of Chappaque will be riding his first Tour de Pink. He is a professional indoor cycling instructor and has been teaching and riding for over nine years. He has ridden in a number or local and national fundraising rides. He day job is Chief Operation Officer of Wayne Surgical and Elite Surgical Centers in Wayne, NJ.Dennis is riding for members of his family and a very close friend who are survivors of breast cancer.
Iâ€™ll blog about the ride from the road and keep you updated on Jill and Dennis and the moving and grooving of this year’s Hershey’s Tour de Pink. Click here if you would like to support Jill or Dennis.