Once again I'm going on a cycling journey with the goal of raising funds for cancer research and care. This year, it's become even more personal for me than in past. I started participating in these fundraising rides in 2013 and didn't miss a year until 2020 hit. Yes, the pandemic caused the cancellation of the ride, but I was also unable to ride due to a long lasting bout of sciatica. In very rare cases sciatica can be caused by a tumour pushing on the sciatic nerve, and unfortunately, in 2021 I learned this was exactly my situation. Once I finally had a diagnosis of Non-Hodkins Lymphoma in summer of 2021, treatment began and I learned first-hand how capable and caring the wonderful team at BC Cancer are. There were many health care heroes involved in my journey including my amazing GP, my Physio/RMT/Acupuncture team, and of course my Oncology team and the wonderful nurses who guided me through chemotherapy. And there were many others as well, as my scenario turned out to be a bit complex. Many, many times during treatment I reflected on how horrible this experience is, but how grateful I am that I am here in BC, getting world class treatment from world class professionals. I am now cancer free and very grateful that I'm feeling well and looking forward to the physical and emotional challenge of this ride.
The picture above shows me with my mom at the end of the ride in 2018. She bravely battled through breast cancer and then three rounds of ovarian cancer and chemo, but then, in fall of 2019, her beautiful spirit decided it was time to leave behind her broken body. I have even more admiration for her now that I know what it's like to go through treatment. As hard as it was, I am so grateful that such expert treatment was available to me. I hope that through our continued efforts more and more people can have positive outcomes of treatment and care. And even when the outcomes are not what we hope for, as in the case of my dear mom, it is still so important and impactful to have expert treatment and care to help us through that journey.
Thank you for your support. Those who know me well, know I'm not often on social media, but I'll do my best to keep you posted on training and eventually the ride via instagram (@damaraklaassen)