The East is Calling

So tomorrow’s the day I’ll pack up a few belongings, toss them into a rucksack, and head out of here on a train to New York City.  I remembered when I first interviewed to be on the team I was asked what I would be most apprehensive about and I told them it would without a doubt be the traffic in NYC, because it’s completely out of my element.  Now, riding through traffic is probably not even on my list of concerns.  Actually, I’m not sure what exactly is on my list of concerns.  I think that list got thrown out the window a month ago.  Small things like traffic or rain don’t seem like much to worry about anymore. On our 60 mile ride we were in constant rain but I ended up looking at it sort of as a gift.  It made things easier and almost helped me glide on the pavement.  At one point I was asking myself if I would ever be able to ride without it.  When things get tough I’m learning to push through the difficulty and convince myself that whatever obstacles are in my way aren’t even obstacles to begin with.  The things I used to be worried about are extremely pale in comparison to the physical and emotional tolls that cancer takes on those affected.  I think the last portrait I was a part of really helped put things into an even greater perspective.  Gary, who suffered from pancreatic cancer, told us that through everything the hardest part for him was gong to chemotherapy and seeing other people in the waiting room.  Even though cancer was taking an extreme toll on his own health, he was worried about the person sitting next to him.  I wish everyone had his mind set.

Now, when I wake up at 8:00 am for class I rise out of bed without a word and think to myself it could be 5am and I’m lucky to be able to go to class in the first place.  I find myself biting my tongue when walking through the cold, and when we’re riding on miles of jagged gravel I think to myself it could be hailing while we’re on this road.  Life’s beautiful when you look at it the right way, and I think Gary helped to teach me that lesson.  I constantly think about the people I know who have gone through or are currently going through cancer treatments and those people are real heroes facing obstacles I couldn’t imagine.  I can’t thank them enough for their strength which continues to aid my own when cycling. This adventure of a lifetime is soon to be started and I’m happy to say my list of concerns has been replaced with a list of things I’m excited about.

Side Note: I’m still completely blown away by the support of my community and extremely thankful to the numerous friends and family members around me who have donated or wished me luck on my journey, you guys are amazing!

Comments (2)
  • Jill Canaday says:

    We can’t thank you enough for doing this ride. Very few people know what you will be going through for the next three months. Stay safe Shannon. We need you and more people like you.
    Jill & Kevin

  • mary cleary says:

    so very proud of you shannon

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