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That’s A Wrap!

10 Dec

I say thank you a lot on this blog and in the emails that I write to my donors.  I hope that you know how grateful I am for your contribution to my PMC ride and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  This mission to end cancer is one that I am steadfastly and earnestly behind, and I am buoyed by all of my friends, colleagues, acquaintances, followers, and family who have made donations of any size to help.

My fundraising and cycling season for 2013 has come to a close. The finishing touch on my comeback year was the LARGEST donation ever made by an athletic event to a charity EVER!

xxxix-9

Pretty good for a weekend bike ride. And what does that money do? It will provide the researchers and doctors the funds to keep going, to track down each and every possible lead, in their effort to find cures for cancer. As Dr. Edward Benz, DFCI CEO, said in August at the PMC Opening Ceremonies, “We are turning the tide in the war against cancer. Remember, it is not a war, it is 400 or 500 wars. There is at least that many different forms of cancer. And we are winning more and more of these wars. Each year, we can tell a patient ‘we can expect you to survive because we have new therapy’. We are knocking them down, and each time we knock one down, we expect to knock the next one down even faster.”

I’d like to thank my teammates on Forza-G for their outstanding fundraising efforts. This year, the 39 of us again achieved the status of “Heavy Hitter” team by raising $261,950. In the 8 years since our captain Matt Dillis began the team, our motley crew has raised $1,468,119.06. WOW!

And my final recap and thank you is to everyone who donated and supported my ride this year. This year, more people (109 of you) donated a higher average amount than any of the other years I have been fundraising. So you stepped up. Whether it was your first donation (thank you to the 27 first-timers) or you have donated all 7 years (and there are 16 of you), I know that you too are COMMITTED to this mission, which Dr. Benz so eloquently defined and that we are going to knock down more cancers this year.

As you can see on the top right column of my blog, I have already started counting down the days until registration begins for the 2014 ride. I am satisfied that we have helped move the world closer to a day when cancer is history. But as we all know, there is never an ‘off-season’  for cancer… someone in our family or extended friends network will be diagnosed in the coming months. More families will mourn losses. And we will become more resolute in our mission. And the PMC, my team, and I will all ride on, and continue to fundraise, until the we give cancer a permanent off-season.

I am planning big things for my 2014 fundraising and ride (stay tuned in January).  So is the PMC!

Wow! I can’t believe what I just saw!

7 Nov

Last week was a pretty cool week for Boston area folks.

There was this….

Then there was this…

And then this…

But my favorite moment of all was this….

Congrats to my teammates on another amazing year, fundraising a grand total of $261,000 for the PMC and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute! Since 2007, we have been committed to the PMC and have raised $1.46 million to help end cancer in our lifetime.

Team Forza-G presents its check to the #2013PMC

Another Year Has Passed

27 Sep

Early last month, I was able to finish my comeback from cancer by riding the entire 192-mile Pan Mass Challenge. It was a long journey back, one that I believe started, not in Sturbridge on a Saturday morning in August, but when I completed my chemotherapy treatment.

September 27, 2011 - Final chemo treatment. Living Proof again!

September 27, 2011 – Final chemo treatment. Living Proof again!

Today is the second anniversary of that day when I last walked out of the Kimmel Cancer Center here in Baltimore with thoughts of getting my life ‘back to normal’.

As my I wrote last year on this day, much of that first year was a blur, and there were many difficult times. My recovery was long and slow. And I would say now, looking back, that the entire year of 2012 was a long and painful year of recovery.  When the calendar changed to 2013, I had no idea what lay ahead. Was I ready to return to my normal life? How much had cancer and chemo changed my energy level, my memory, my attitude, my spirit?

So, now that this milestone day has come, where am I?

This year’s PMC was proof that I am physically recovered from chemo. I had my best two days ever on a bicycle. The unclear days of 2012 are gone. I am able to maintain my focus and concentration throughout the day. My oncologist tells me that I am boring. I have come to realize that my life, and that of my family, has been topsy-turvy since we moved to Baltimore in early 2010. The final element of  this tumult, finding my next job/career, I am now have a plan for and am very actively pursuing.

And I have continued to realize how important the PMC is to me.  It has been my goal and beacon for the last two years. It has allowed me to focus my passion for giving back after surviving cancer again. It has given me a clarity of purpose. And it gave me a most precious, emotional memory.

2013_piestop_as_sjOur daughter Shannon, who will be turning 4 next month, was able to come to our team’s special Pie Stop at Mile 100 of Day 1 of this year’s PMC. Upon my arrival at the rest stop, Shannon stayed right with me. She was very excited, so happy to see me. And she would say that she was proud of me. We had talked a couple of days before about ‘my big ride’ and I tried to explain to her why I was going for this big ride. I felt like that day, in that moment, this little girl was able to understand how important this day was for me and that she really got that we were all riding to help others.

But that wasn’t the moment. It happened just the other day. When, while eating breakfast, as we were talking about her going for a bike ride on her new balance bike, she came over, sat on my lap, and said, in the same voice that she had at the rest stop that was filled with pride,  ‘Dad, can I go on your big ride someday?’

Certainly!

And now, in my role as passionate advocate – I will remind you that your last chance to make a donation to the 2013 Pan Mass Challenge and the continuing fight against cancer in my name is this week. The deadline is this week on October 1st! Please donate today! If you have already donated, THANK YOU! I am a little bit more than $1,000 away from my goal this year, so please give $25, $50, $100 to help save lives!

Hey Cancer - You Cannot Do Much!

I am asking you to help me celebrate my 2-year anniversary since the end of my chemo treatments by making a donation to the PMC!

As a TWO-TIME survivor of cancer myself, I can fully attest to the fact that your donation is going to save lives. The fight against the disease of cancer will end on day because  of the people who dip into their pockets and make a sacrifice. Your donation, however big or small, will give someone who a chance of cancer. It is not something to be taken casually, like “oh, Andy did his ride again this year so there goes $25, $50, $75, or $100.” Your donation IS GOING TO SAVE LIVES. If it had not been for years and years of research, I would not be writing this post. I’ve now beaten cancer twice because of all the donations of the past. More money is needed to continue the research so that there can be more survivors. I know, as I am sure you do, too many people who are battling this disease. That is why I am riding and doing all this – to help get enough people together to realize, that together, we can help the talented doctors, nurses, and scientists at the Dana-Farber find a cure.

PMC 2013 – More than just a ride

19 Aug

It has been 2 weeks since the ride, and I have stayed away from trying to write about it. It has been quite difficult for me to try to capture the experience as well as to come to terms with fact that I finally achieved the goal that I have been dreaming about since the day of my first chemo treatment. The PMC weekend, the ride, the camaraderie, the emotions, the meaning is unique for each and everyone who rides, volunteers, or stands along the side of the road and cheers. And for me, this PMC was the most exceptional of the eight that I have been a part of since 2006 (6 on a bike, 1 on the sideline with chemo, and another changing kegs in Sturbridge and Bourne for Harpoon).

Without a doubt, all the training I did this year, starting on the trainer in January and then doing over 1,000 miles on the road since April, paid off. I rode with groups of my teammates nearly the entire weekend. Saturday, I think, I surprised them all with my energy and my pace. I kept it up on Sunday, leading the entire Forza-G train of 25 or so riders over the Bourne Bridge to start the day, and then riding the rollers with 2 other teammates, both who are excellent and experience riders, and alternating with them who pulled the train. To be honest, and my teammates Brian and Tom can attest to this, I have pretty much never pulled in the past PMCs. But there I was, taking my turn when it came up. It was 125 miles into my 8th PMC weekend, and I had finally figured out how to do this cycling thing. I kept rocking and rolling all day long, enjoying the Forza-G train on our second segment of the day, cruising up Ocean View Drive, blasting up Route 6 and through the dunes at the end. At the end of the day, and the days that followed, my legs weren’t tired. My, er, seat and the balls of my feet – that was another story. That being said….

Here are my highlights of the weekend….

HIGHLIGHT 1: Mile 100, Day 1

Thanks to the indomitable  and amazing Kathi Nelson, our cycling team, Forza-G, is the only team to have its very own Pie Stop. Yes, pie. Blueberry, cherry, apple. And more! This stop, right along the route in Wareham, has become a great meeting spot to see friends and family. The day 1 finish is only a few miles away in Bourne and this is certainly the best stop of the day. This year, Michele’s whole family was on hand, it was a fantastic way for them to get to see my teammates and to see the ride itself. I was also thrilled to share some time with Shannon, who at age 3 is just starting to understand that I ‘do a big ride’ and that there are ‘a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of bicycles’. Certainly a PMC Kids Ride will be in her future soon.

(click photo to see full pic and captions)

HIGHLIGHT 2: Living Proof Photo

Without a doubt, the best moments of my weekend were seeing my family at the team Pie Stop and the Living Proof photo. This year’s Living Proof pic was the largest ever. I was thrilled to share a few moments with three very special people who have ridden with me, inspired me, and have given me so much even though we only spend a few minutes together each year. Blessed to know you: Carie Capossela, Suzanne Merritt, and Diane Gibbins – and I look forward to our next time together.

(click photo to see full pic and captions)

HIGHLIGHT 3: Provincetown Finish

On Sunday afternoon, riding in Provincetown for the first time since August 2010 was pretty much as overwhelming an experience as I have had in the roller coaster that my life has been since March 2011. When I crossed the town line while riding on Route 6, I was riding alone. I was riding well, riding at about 17 or 18 mph into the wind, but had been dropped by a group of teammates just after the final water stop. It was one of my few times riding alone the entire weekend. When I have dreamed about getting back to riding the PMC, dreams that I remember having in the days following finding the lump in my groin, I have often thought about this very stretch of road. I was glad to have this time, about 30 minutes, by myself, to just ride and reflect.

There was a lot to reflect on.  Everything that Michele and I have been through since I last finished the PMC. The dark days of chemo. Being so grateful for all the sacrifices our family made for us. The months and months of recovery. Struggling to get our life back on track. Building great friendships in Baltimore. All of the people who I have met who are battling cancer and those who have been taken from us to soon. The families that I know that have been devastated by cancer. All these thoughts and memories just flooded over me, some good, some bad. It was an experience that I am so thankful that I was able to have and one that is pretty much impossible to put into words.

As I made the turn to head into the Dunes, I was pleased to see a group of my teammates, waiting for me and some more of our team who were behind me along the road. One of the best Forza-G traditions  is that we do try to make sure we ride into the finish together and share the moment of crossing the line together, 192 miles away from the start. And then we make sure the PMC Rookies (1st-time riders) get a photo….

And what is the result of all this cycling? Well, right now, the PMC has already raised over $30 MILLION in 2013. The goal is $38 million, so there is still a way to go. But this goal is just another step in our campaign towards the end of cancer. A campaign that we will achieve, by working together, by believing, and by riding.  If you have not done so already, please consider joining our campaign by making a donation.

[I will have more thoughts and recollections from PMC 2013 Weekend, plus some ‘riding stats’ at some point soon]

 

Weekend Ride Schedule and PMC Opening Ceremony Info

2 Aug

I hope that you will check this out – it gives you a way to see part of the PMC if you aren’t riding, volunteering, or standing on the side of the road and cheering for riders. You will learn more about the impact that your donations have on the world of cancer research.

You can stream the 2013 PMC Opening Ceremonies live- Closer By The Mile! The stream starts at 6:50 pm – 8:30 pm at http://www.pmc.org! Hosted by PMC Founder, Billy Starr, with special guests; comedian Lenny Clarke, Olympic Gold Medalist & Dancing With The Stars finalist Aly Raisman, President of Dana-Farber Dr. Ed Benz, and more ..

Here is a quick snapshot of my PMC weekend schedule:

Friday: Get to Sturbridge

I will get a ride to Sturbridge with one of my teammates. We will get there in time to greet some of our Forza-G teammates who are riding what we call “Day 0” of the PMC, a ride over the Adirondacks from the New York/Massachusetts state line to Sturbridge. Then we will get checked in, I’ll see some friends from Harpoon and Duvine, bump into other riders that I know, get my registration packet, and have a team dinner. By 5:30-ish, I’ll be in the auditorium for the PMC Opening Ceremony, which I have never missed since I started riding the PMC. Then we’ll venture to our accomodations for a quick night’s sleep

Saturday: Sturbridge to Bourne

We will get to the starting point for the ride at the Sturbridge Host Hotel around 4:45 in the morning, drop off our backpacks on the trucks that take them to Bourne, grab some breakfast, and collect our bikes. At 5:30, it is time for the National Anthem and to rollout. There are 5 official rest stops on the 110-mile route from Sturbridge to Bourne. Our team will skip 2 of them, one for lunch, as our team captain’s sister just happens to live on the PMC route at about Mile 65 and she and other family members greet us with an amazing lunch spread, a shady yard, and some awesome amenities. After lunch (around 11 AM), we ride on towards Bourne, but really we are all looking forward to the Official Team Forza-G Pie Stop, hosted by Kathi Nelson. Conveniently located at Mile 100, the Pie Stop gives us a chance to see many family members, re-group as a team so we can ride into Bourne together, and LOTS OF PIE. Nothing is better than fresh pie when you have been riding 100 miles (I hope to be there around 1:30 PM).

Then it is on to Bourne and the Day 1 finish at Mass Maritime Academy (I’ll probably get there around 3 PM). Time for a fresh Harpoon beer, a shower, and a big meal. We get our official team photo taken, then at 6 PM, I will be joined by the other survivors who ride and volunteer this weekend for the annual Living Proof photo. Last year, I was able to meet one of my PMC heroes (read here) and re-connect with my first PMC survivor friend (read here). I am so looking forward to seeing Carie and Diane this year, as well as the over 300 survivors who will gather for this special moment, one that gives me inspiration and energy each day.

After the Living Proof photo, someone (or more than one) of the Decker family arrive at MMA to pick me up and take me over to Yarmouth, where we have rented a house for the week. After dinner and some story-telling, I’ll hit the pillow early.

Sunday: Bourne to Provincetown

Sunday morning starts early. The advantage of sleeping in a nice bed (rather than in a dorm or tent at MMA) is that someone, usually my father-in-law must trek me back to the campus to start on Sunday AM. That means a 4:15 AM wakeup call, a quick breakfast and a 40 minute drive back to Bourne.  Once there, I’ll find my teammates, have a little more food, pump up the bike tires and head over the Bourne Bridge. The first part of Sunday morning’s ride is along the Cape Cod Canal, along an easy and smooth trail path. Usually, it is just after sunrise, and it is very quiet along the canal. It is one of my favorite parts of the entire weekend. Much of the ride on the Cape is on Route 6A, or near the end on Route 6. The goal is to get through the 85+ miles and arrive in Provincetown by 12 noon. The final few miles are in the state park, riding through the Sand Dunes.  Then a nice long shower, lunch, a beer, and, for many of my teammates, a return to Boston on the PMC Party Ferry across Massachusetts Bay. I will head back to Yarmouth with a teammate and his family. I expect a nap to be involved.  Then more story-telling, dinner and very well deserved (and complete) night’s sleep.

And why do I do this? Because in the end, this weekend will result in over $38 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to continue in its mission to find cures for cancer. Having just learned about more families dealing with the crushing blow of losing a loved one to cancer, I am further inspired towards this goal. The ride is the easy part – it is this ultimate goal that is not going to be easy, not going to be simple, and is going to take some extra-ordinary efforts by some brilliant people to make happen. I am just honored to be able to help these doctors and researchers.

I hope that you will follow me this weekend on the ride (check out this post for details!) and check back on Monday or Tuesday for some stories and photos.

Video

Video: Riding For A Cure to Cancer

1 Aug

the 2013 Pan Mass Challenge is THIS WEEKEND! I’ve put together this video to tell a bit of my life with cancer. Please share this video or my blog on your favorite social media channel to spread the word. I believe that a day will come in the future where cancer will treatable and curable for all, not just the lucky and fortunate like myself. My goal for this year is to raise $10,000 to put that day just a little bit closer to becoming reality!

Your donation is needed – http://www.pmc.org/as0171.

100% of every dollar you donate will go to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund.

 

Two quick ways to follow my ride

1 Aug

It is almost time for the 2013 PMC that I have been looking forward with great anxiety since April 2011 when I started chemotherapy. I didn’t know if and when I would ever get to ride the PMC again. Yes, last year, I did ride part of this PMC, about 70 miles. But what I have wanted to do more than pretty much anything else in the world since I was diagnosed was to ride into Provincetown, to finish the PMC. And all of that begins tomorrow at about 5:30 AM when we head out from Sturbridge.

If you are interested in following my progress throughout the weekend:

  1. you can follow me on Twitter (@andy_seguin)
  2. use this cool new tool the PMC built to track riders – just visit: http://www.pmc.org/find/AS0171.

[If you don’t use Twitter, you can still read my posts by visiting http://www.twitter.com/andy_seguin]

Why I am Committed to the PMC

22 Jul

Next week, we are ‘shipping up to Boston’ for my annual 192 mile bike ride from Sturbridge to Provincetown. I am now more committed to this cause and the Pan-Mass Challenge than ever.  As these summer days zip by, I want to take a moment to share the reasons why I have continued to ride the PMC even after battling cancer a second time.

  • Because of the encouragement and support that you have given me.
  • Because of the notes and phone calls I receive from friends who just want to talk about their family’s battle against cancer.
  • Because of the knowledge that a world where cancer is treatable, manageable, and curable is obtainable, if not in my lifetime, then in my daughter’s.
  • Because one of you receives an email from former Senator and now Secretary of State John Kerry every year about the PMC and to get a donation and you write him back to tell him that you are on board, but that you will supporting me instead of him.
  • Because of the hundreds of signs, put up along the PMC route by people I don’t know and will never meet, thanking the riders for riding a bike, saying that their mom or dad or son or daughter now have a chance to beat the cancer that they are fighting.
  • Because of the families in my life that are battling this disease right now.
  • Because of our loved ones who have been taken from us too soon.
  • Because I know what it is like to face cancer. And I want the fear that I faced and the suffering I dealt with to be gone from this world.

And most importantly because of these four words: A cure for cancer.

Chances are, you've been sitting on a cure for cancer

I ride the Pan-Mass Challenge to make the world cancer-free. Please support the 5,000 riders, the 3,000 volunteers, and the millions who will have to hear the words “You have cancer” if we don’t do something about it first – make a donation today.

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