I am Living Proof Meeting

With fellow survivor Carie after Living Proof photo in Bourne

Back in 2010, at the PMC Opening Ceremonies, just after Billy Starr asked each member of the audience who was “Living Proof” (aka a cancer survivor) to stand, he introduced Carie Capossela. What came next was life-changing for me. Carie’s speech was so moving, with plenty of humor and touching moments weaved together. She eloquently spoke about surviving breast cancer and being a mom, wife, sister, cancer patient, and cyclist.  I have watched the video of her speech many times since then. I have often dreamed about what I would say to her if I ever had the opportunity, hopefully on the road during the PMC.

Well, 10 days ago, my dream came true. It during the taking of the annual Living Proof photo in Bourne at the end of Day 1. In the mix of about 300 other cancer survivors all wearing brand new yellow t-shirts, I knelt down, squeezed into a very small space so that we could all fit in the photo. And who came and knelt next to me? That’s right – Carie Capossela. My moment had arrived.

And I had to wait for the photo to be taken. And then wait for the new traditional champagne toast. And then wait for Billy Starr and another speaker talk. And then finally, we were ‘released’. Yes, we had been kneeling that whole time, about 15 minutes, and after all of us had been riding bikes all day.

Once we stood up, I asked her if it was indeed her that had spoken at the Opening Ceremony a few years back. She smiled and said yes. I then told her that I was very excited to finally be able to tell her how much her speech has meant to me and that I consider it to be my “Committed” moment – where I knew that I was all-in for the PMC. Committed is the buzz word of this year’s PMC – it is on the jerseys, it is on the literature, it is the new “motto” of the ride. She even used the word “Committed” in her speech. I also told her that I this was my comeback year after last year’s recurrence. We became fast friends. Michele walked up while I was chatting with Carie and thought that we were old friends.

I would encourage you to watch Carie’s speech here. The Living Proof shout-out is at 13:45 and Carie is introduced and starts right after that (15:25). She speaks for about 10 minutes. It changed my life – I am COMMITTED!

Sturbridge Exclusive Kickoff 2010 from David Hellman on Vimeo.