I was one of the 2,000-plus participants in The Ride to Conquer Cancer last weekend. Over the 225 kilometres we covered there were countless cheerleaders at the roadside and at the end of driveways. Music blaring, clapping, posters of encouragement, bullhorns and noisemakers. All of it channelled into each rider and provided the energy needed to push on. Never underestimate the value of cheering someone on. It can come at just the perfect moment and get you past a tough bit. The oil on your chain, the fuel for your legs.
One person, though, flung an arrow directly into my heart. It was on day two. We launched out in a bit of a drizzle and very shortly into the day’s route a lone woman was standing on the sidewalk. She held a small piece of cardboard with a hand-lettered message. It thanked the riders and identified herself as a 12-year survivor. She quietly, stoically faced the riders as we glided by. She was likely completely unaware of how profoundly she affected each and every one of us. I will never forget that image. It is precisely the reason to take part in this amazing event. There wasn’t one person I spoke to about her presence that wasn’t moved beyond words.
To that woman, and I hope you are reading this, thank you for your message. You presented each of us with the most precious of gifts… a reason.