BY Sonja Richey, Digger
The 3rd annual Colon All Angels “Ride A Bike, Save A Butt” Run couldn’t have fallen on a better day! Arizona graced us with temps in the high 70’s and the sun was bright and warm for our scoot southeast on some of our areas “least congested” roadways.
Registration was held at Chester’s HD in Mesa then it was off to The Hub for a beverage, and a lucky draw card. People I haven’t seen in months have come out of hibernation; me included, to support the Colon Cancer Alliance, Chapter of Arizona. As the Voice of Survivors, CCA works as an advocate for colorectal cancer patients and their families.
From this point we took a short ride thru city streets to the far east valley where we head south and ride 20 slow and easy miles through open desert and smooth road as we meandered thru fields and small farms just outside of Queen Creek where we reach our second stop “The Gym” (a beverage gym actually) It is here that I was able to talk to Sheila Castro Conway, the outreach director for CCA, about her pas- sion for this run.
Sheila was diagnosed 30 days after she married her best friend Gene & moved into their new home, not the best of honey- moons. After a routine colonoscopy, she was told she had Stage 3 Colorectal Cancer. She was in for the fight of her life as she underwent radiation therapy, chemotherapy, two surgeries, and 4 more months of chemotherapy (altogether taking almost a year). This is the 2nd leading cancer killer and is the most preventable, beatable and treatable of all cancers. The #1 symptom of Colon Cancer is NO symptom at all! People are being diagnosed in their 20’s & 30’s at an astounding rate! She tells anyone that will listen, “Go get checked!
Sue Ashe’s story is a little different, the reason she volunteers is no longer with us to tell her story, So in honor of her much loved and much missed sister, Linda Keithley, she would like to tell you about her. Linda was diagnosed in March of 2007 with Colon Cancer. She was 55 years old, just one month shy of her 56th birthday. What started as colon cancer soon made its way into her lungs, liver, and lymph nodes. She fought a long fight with chemo and surgeries and as of the winter of 2008 the doctors told her she was much improved. All of her tumors had shrunk, her cancer count was way down, it looked like she had this beat. But someone had other ideas for Linda and on Sunday May 24, 2009 she lost her long fight.
With these stories in mind, I am back in the wind as we head to Florence to visit The River Bottom Grill where Randy and Debbie Jo have plenty of cold beer, warm food and pretty girls serving just about anything under the sun. There were two full tables of raffle prizes, Cliff Wallace, resident tattoo artist for the afternoon was slinging ink off a barstool for those brave enough to get ink at an indoor / outdoor venue! (All due respect, he is a talented artist but had to laugh when he blew dust off my girls shoulder as he was inking her “Indian” logo) The band was incredible, Crystal Haze had a guest singer and I can tell you, if you weren’t looking you would think you were listening to Amy Lee! With LOTS of help from very passionate Board Members and volunteers (two of which are also survivors of Colon Cancer) have found a fun way to raise money for the Colon Cancer Alliance’s “Blue Note Fund” which 100% of the $2,000 we raised March 10th 2012 goes back to Colon Cancer patients in active treatment that are struggling financially.
In just one year, the Blue Note Fund received 1,000 applications, gave over $120,000 in financial assistance, and awarded grants to more than 400 patients and families, and because of runs like “Ride a Bike, Save A Butt” we can continue to support and assist those suffering. The Blue Note Fund gives one-time grants of $300 to colon cancer patients who are currently in treatment. This fund helps make sure that your lights stay on, your phone stays connected and you keep your home. That’s what the Blue Note Fund is about, helping to take care of your bills, so you can take care of yourself.
It was a beautiful day for a ride, the end stop was scenic and drama free and I’m going to suggest that next year, they offer camping onsite…. I didn ’t want to leave! In all honesty, this cancer has touched my life personally and I hold this ride near and dear to my heart. Unfortunately, the money raised this year is a little less than last year, and that was a little less than the year before. I urge you to email / Facebook the powers that be, let them know that we support them, and will be here again next year to help them raise the money they so desperately need. http://www.colonallangels.webs.com/ Email: Colonallangels@q.com
The CCA offers information and support from the first-hand experience of survivors and others whose lives have been touched by this disease. If you would like to donate or just find out more information, please log onto www.ccalliance.org or call the toll free help line at 1- 877-422-2030.
Ride Safe~~Ride Free