|The beautiful Katy Trail in Central Missouri|
My friend is battling brain cancer.
Less than a year ago she experienced severe headaches and, after a doctor’s visit and some scans, she learned she had a brain tumor. Post-surgery tests revealed the final blow: the tumor was malignant. She was 34, and until then had never experienced any symptoms or signs of anything abnormal in her health.
Intensive, aggressive chemo treatments rendered her unable to continue working, which, in turn, left her with little funding and income with which to support herself during her treatment.
Her body reacted swiftly – and sometimes dramatically – to the chemo. Her hair fell out. She gained weight. Her insides twisted, knotted, and sometimes exploded as the poison that she hoped would kill the cancerous cells pulsed through her body and left her weaker and more exhausted than she had ever felt before. And that was only after the first four rounds (she has a total of twelve scheduled). A long road lies before her as she fights to regain her health – and her life.
Tomorrow a group of people who know Anna – and some who don’t – will embark on a three-day bicycle journey to help raise money for her therapy and awareness about her diagnosis. Their ride will take them from Springfield, MO through the heart of the state, past Jefferson City, and into St. Louis. It will be hot. It will be tiring. They will pass through quiet, sparsely populated towns, climb rolling hills and craggy mountains, pedal along lake shorelines, escape narrow misses from impatient motorists, and finally enter our state’s largest and busiest city in order to help relay the message that Anna is fighting for her life every day. And, while at times they will ride in solitude, they will also come upon stretches of highway that will be full of the life and company that will encourage them to keep going until they achieve their goal. They will experience great fatigue, camaraderie, exhaustion, exhilaration, despair, support, and sore butt cheeks. And they will emerge stronger and more humble than before they left the comfort of their homes.
It will be both nothing and exactly like what Anna has endured these past six months.
I can’t ride with them – and chances are you can’t either (but if you can, please do!). However, what we can do is make a donation. Simply go to "Her Brain Tumor" on rally.org, a site where you can safely contribute to help the cause. While you’re at it, visit and "like" their Facebook page, 340 Degrees, to receive updates on both the bike ride and fundraising efforts.
Thank you for helping make a difference in someone’s life.