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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cycling, Community and Cancer

Sometimes being a cyclist is all you need to imagine a community beyond your own direct experience. With the advent of the internet this has become easier and more dynamic. I have met many people through cycling and there are others I have never met, but as a cyclist I feel a shared sense of community. That is one of the greatest things about this sport.

Aside from this blog as an outlet I participate in some other online communities and one of these communities is full of cyclists.

In November, 2008, one of the community members disclosed that his infant son had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and we received regular updates detailing the little boy's progress and setbacks. It seemed like just as things were looking better an infection would set in and push the boy to the brink. It was also very uplifting to hear when the little boy had fought back with all his strength to eat or play with a toy.

As a community of cyclists, strangers from around the web used their available resources to raise money and awareness to help this family and others like them who are locked in the battle with cancer. Cyclists from all over donated spare parts and time to build a complete bicycle for a raffle with all donations going to the family. Two more bikes were in the works. It was wonderful to see the community rally around this family. It just always reminded me what stands behind those little nods on the road when you pass another person on a bike.

I admit at times the updates were too many and there were times I didn't want to follow this seemingly endless story. Things were looking much better a few weeks ago and after nearly losing the fight the news all seemed positive. I would just scan the post titles waiting for the announcement that the little boy was going home.

I was shocked today when his father posted a message to inform the community of the death of his son, and I actually fought back tears for people I have never met or even corresponded with directly. I could simply empathize with their fight and their deep loss.

Cancer is a terrible disease that does not discriminate by age, race or gender. I hope everyone can make a little effort to support the fight against cancer. It is especially hard to see a little boy lose the fight.

My deepest condolences.

April 23, 2008--May 12, 2010