I had planned to sit down today and write a post about how my running is meh. How I’m not getting to run often enough – certainly not as much as last year at this time – and how it is making me crabby and less than optimistic about any of my upcoming races. Blah, blah, blah.
And then I checked my e-mail.
A longtime friend died yesterday, of cancer. He was fifty years old. He leaves behind a beautiful wife, an 8 year old daughter and a 6 year old son. A loving extended family and a massive group of friends who cared for him dearly. He was diagnosed in the fall of 2012 and fought bravely ever since.
I wrote about Jodi once before, when he was first diagnosed with cancer: Cancer Sucks
And again last summer when I dedicated my final “long” Pan Mass Challenge training ride to him: Pan Mass Challenge Training Ride # 5
I wore a ribbon for Jodi during the PMC, and was so honored to have him along for the ride. I had so hoped, and prayed, to ride again for him this year as a survivor, not a patient. I never would have permitted myself to consider that I would be riding in his memory in 2014.
Everything that you need to know about him is in my two posts. He was kind, loyal, generous and loving. Hardworking and funny. Loved by everyone who met him. One of “the good ones.” No, scratch that – one of “the great ones.”
It breaks my heart that all of the excellent treatment, good karma, love, prayers and positive energy that were offered to him just weren’t enough to save him. I feel so devastated. And defeated.
We have so many people fighting against cancer- doctors (I’m thinking of your wife, Drunken Cyclist, and the other amazing doctors who have the courage to do what they do), researchers, fundraisers, entire foundations and medical centers…you name it, the collective “we” are doing it to fight the fight. But cancer is such a formidable opponent. So daunting. So overwhelming. And disheartening. Especially on a day like today.
After processing the news, I did what I always do when I’m down. I went for a run. And the sadness is still there – will be there for a long time to come – but I no longer feel so defeated. I saw signs for a Susan G Komen race along my route, and saw signs for other, lesser-known cancer fundraisers. I saw a cyclist in a PMC bike shirt and a car with a Connecticut Challenge sticker.
And I thought to myself – I am someone who rooted for Rocky every freaking time, even though his opponents were always “unbeatable.” I cheered on the ragtag 1980 US Olympic Men’s Hockey team and saw them beat the Russians. I’ve been a Goddamn Red Sox Fan since 1969 (and don’t be fooled by their recent performance – their seasons from 1969-2003 were pretty grim). I don’t give up when the odds look bad or defeat seems likely.
So, once again: Screw You, Cancer. You may have taken this round, but the fight isn’t even close to being over. I won’t give up doing whatever I can to get rid of you, and I don’t think anyone else will either.
And with that, I’m off to write my Pan Mass Challenge solicitation letter.
Dear Jodi, rest in peace. There is a hole in the world today that can never be filled.