Can I have a slice of cheese with that order?

Wisconsin!!! Or Wisco as I like to call it. Just outside of Madison we are staying the night in Fitchburg. Coming from Lake Geneva last night we were able to get in early today and have a good rest. Since I haven’t blogged in a while, these last few days have been extremely busy.

To start off, Chicago. Sweet home Chicago. It was wonderful seeing the city again, screaming ILL-INI down Michigan Avenue as pedestrians and motorists took interest. As we arrived at the bean with our amazing fans, we were promtly told by Millenium Park security to not ride on our bikes, however that didn’t stop us from a great entrance into Chicago. From there we went to the UIC medical center where we were able to talk to a few of the doctors and nurses that specialize in pediatric oncology. It was very interesting to talk to one of the nurses, in depth, about what she does and how she copes with childhood cancer. The best way she described it was that although we lose 1 in 5 children, who have cancer, we save 4. It gives you hope and a better statistical odds than not surviving.

With a day off in Chicago the following day, I took a trip home to clean up, wash my clothes (which is always helpful when it has been several days), and to sleep in a bed. Odd as it may seem, I was so used to sleeping on the ground, the bed was almost too soft….almost.

Arriving back at the UIC dorms on Saturday night after a relaxing day off, we prepared for our ride along to Highland Park the next day. Excited to have other people to ride with, family and friends, the day seemed to be well planned out…except for the weather. Nasty storms blew through the city, several of us have amazing pictures of the crazy clouds we saw, and as we hid in alcoves across from Millenium Park, where the ride started, the rain and hail finally seemed to lighten after half an hour or so. Although still sprinkling we all continued and met everyone who was to be joining us on the ride along. Thankful for great company and a good sense of humor about the rain and mud, we took our trip to Highland Park.

Recently, the most exciting part of the trip has been the oncology visits we had at various hospitals. Evanston Northwestern Hospital in Highland Park, however, treated us to a VIP behind the scenes tour. Photographed with Livestrong bracelets and treated to a great tour, I was able to see how people receive and cope with cancer. Seeing patients receive chemotherapy and radiation was a new experience, one that I don’t think I will ever forget. Seeing people push through the pain, with loved ones beside them, we were continuously thanked for what we are doing. These people who deal with the pain and suffering are the reason for our trip. They inspire us, with their positive attitudes and outlooks to continue on. I know that without the efforts and strife of these cancer patients to take part in clinical trials, we look forward to the future to cure cancer.

From an inspirational tour, and a wonderful discussion with a panel of doctors and survivors, we trekked on towards Lake Geneva, WI. Although arriving late, most of us jumped in Lake Geneva for an evening swim, bike shorts and all. From Lake Geneva, we have been back on a regular schedule of waking up at 6 and traveling on towards our next destination.

Through the new rolling hills of Wisco I realized that there are reasons to push ourselves. There are reasons to change and reasons to explore other opportunities. A reaction for one person may be different for another, but that is normal. Taking on a summer of riding a bike may seem crazy to some, but perfectly normal to others. Life doesn’t have all the answers for why people act the way they do, or why we act the way we do. It is okay, however, to wonder and to imagine what could be, but also to work towards these ideas if that is what is truly important to you.

 

"…I want to make the most out of each day. I want to explore and find passion for each day. I want to inpire others to perservere in the worst of times, because we mend. Our hearts and bodies and souls can mend. It just takes time."  – June 15, 2008

Comments are closed.