In memory of my sweet sweet Mumma (Maureen Kaake; known as Mo) and with a fierce passion of find a cure for ALL cancer, I am taking on the Tour De Cure along with my Dad (riding Mum's bike), Aunty (a cancer survivor), Sister and our dear friend Patti (One of Mum's BFFs and riding partner).
I have begun fundraising in order to defend the precious lives of those who are/have/had to face this beast. Each dollar I raise will go directly to some incredible work being completed in order to advance our way to a cure or more effective treatments. Every single bit counts.
Mum was so so passionate about making a difference. She joined this challenege for FIVE years and was able to partake in 4 of them. Sadly Mum lost her life 2 months prior to her 5th Ride but that didn't stop her from fundraising until the very end and earning her coveted gold helmet. As her daughter, I will continue this legacy for her and work tirelessly to be able to add to the fight and support those who are battling.
My Mum died at the age of 55. She was a wife (of nearly 3 decades), a Nanny (to my 2 young boys), a Sister, an Aunty (who adored her nices & nephews to bits), beloved coworker, best friend to many and one of the most creative people I've ever met. She was so FIERCELY loved. On June 19 2021 I lost my best friend and greatest love. She wasn't just my Mum, she was everything to me.
Mum's journey starts with a diagnosis of Stage 2 Vulvur Cancer in April of 2014. Prior this diagnosis Mum had been having what a few doctors thought was a simple recurring abscess in her groin that was treated with antibiotics. Eventually a doctor decided to ultrasound the area which led to a biopsy, the diagnosis and a PET scan for staging. She was a stage 2 as she did have minor localized/regional metastasis to her left groin. At the time I was in my 3rd trimester of my pregnancy with my first son and her first grandson. The news was jarring. The prognosis was good though. Mum started 5 day a week targeted radiation treatments with a chemo session each friday. This lasted 5 weeks. After completing the treatment Mum was deemed in remission. She went to every appointment with both her oncologists and everything was going great until one day in the winter of 2017.
Mum and Dad were heading off to a Hedley concert but Mum noticed one of her legs was much larger and swollen than the other. She decided to be checked out at the hospital. The ER doctor wasn't sure what was causing it so she left without answers and was frustrated. The swelling continued. During a conversation I remembered her left groin lymph nodes being affected by her previous cancer and asked her to call her Oncologist. They booked her an appointment. It turned out to be lymphedema due to cancer in her groin/lymph nodes. It turned out the cancer was gone from the primary site but was never erradicated from her groin at the doctors had thought. Now she was facing the beast of cancer yet again but this time it was deemed non-curative. Mum immediately went into chemo treatment. She was able to have more radiation to the same area and was not a candidate for surgery due to the vascular nature of the lymph node involvement related to her femoral artery. The only treatment option on the table for her was chemo. She jumped in with both feet and started her battle once again. As a family we tried everything we could to find another answer or cure. We sent her pathology sample to the States hoping for a gene therapy or immunotherapy option but was declined for both. At one point Mum's oncologist was hopeful about two clinical trial studies. Mum went off chemo in preparing for being accepted into one of the two trials but after meetings with scientists and scrutinizing of her genetics and history, Mum was eventually rejected from both trials. Back to chemotherapy she went....
Mum was under some form of chemotherapy treatment from 2017 until she passed away mid-2021. Eventually her body became resistant to the benefits of the chemo and the chemo caused damage to her body functions. Mum's tumors continued to grow and eventually occluded her ureters from her kidneys to her bladder. Mum was treated with stents and then eventually had bilateral nephrostomy tubes. In the end she died of kidney failure related to the progression of the cancer. She was married for 25.5 yrs to the most amazing Man in the universe. Her two grandsons were 7yrs and 4yrs old and they loved her more than I could ever describe. From the young age of 49 Mum had been fighting for her life. She is now resting her soul. As a Paramedic there was nothing I could do to help her. I felt defeated and lost. Now I have my purpose. I will continue her fight each and every year. I will carry on her legacy of completing this cycling challenge while fundraising for what was the most important initiative in her eyes.
My goal for 2022 is to Ride the full 100km in a single day without being swept or advanced ahead by the helpers-100km of my own pure sweat and determination! It seems like a small task when compared to the Fight so many have endured.
Thank you so much for your support and reading about how Cancer has affected me personally. I know there are so many people out there who have or are suffering at the hands of this disease and I vow to work my hardest to be successful in my fundraising with all of you and your families in mind!
No Mo Cancer!!!
I Love You Mumma! XOXO