I am a BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR! Diagnosed with breast cancer 2009. I was 40 years old at the time. It was my first mammogram. Of course, I have seen and been hurt by cancer from watching loved ones fight the battle, hasn’t everybody? This time it was me. How could it be? What did I do wrong? The answer is, I did nothing wrong-cancer happens.
It happens too often, and something needs to be done about it. I work hard now to try to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle. My outlet has been my recumbent bike. Riding my bike helps me refocus my thoughts to the positive. It also allows me to achieve great personal success, meet people in the cancer community, raise awareness of programs and resourses, and raise money to fight cancer. This year I’m doing a number of charity rides. An important ride is the August 2012 Philadelphia LiveSTRONG Challenge. This will be my third year cycling this event. I am signed up for the 70-mile route and will train hard for myself, my family and for my cancer community. If you’re looking for a good tax deductible charity, which helps a lot of people navigate through cancer, please support me as I ride with a group called Cyclists Combating Cancer. My secure personal donation page can be found at: http://laf.livestrong.org/goto/HeckCancer . Donations of any amount are appreciated go toward the many programs provided free of charge by the Lance Armstrong Foundation/LiveSTRONG
Why I Fundraise for LiveSTRONG, cancer charities, and need your help:
I never realized how emotionally draining and chaotic the process of being diagnosed and treated for cancer really is. There were biopsies, surgeries, so many statistics thrown at me, and treatment plans that were just plain confusing. 2009 was a really long year. Not just for me..for my family, my friends, and honestly for the thousands or millions of other people, who I had no idea were also battling this thing called CANCER.
LiveSTRONG can help you with questions, clinical trials, mental health and financial advice. It’s a free service. That is why I ride. Here is the site http://www.Livestrong.org/gethelp/
My journey continues and I am two years cancer free. Two years is a great milestone and I’m very proud to be a cancer survivor. I am also aware of the fact that noone should take cancer for granted. It tends to creep up people and sucker punch them. I can say that I hate cancer, however, going through treatment journey was life altering and helped me understand myself better. I also realized humanity, humility and love are alive and well.
This becomes clear when you see the outpouring of support from family and friends. Fascinatingly, many of my closest bonds and realization of unconditional caring and love was from the other patients in treatment. You spend a lot of time in treatment. Sights, smells, faces and memories of chemotherapy and radiation become a part of you. It is a love/hate relationship. You know you need the treatment to get better. You also see friends die. That is the hardest part. That feeling of helplessness when a lovely person tells you,” I will not be in treatment anymore.”
The first time I heard this, I said “Oh good, wow, you finished early, COOL.” I was naive. How would I know? The patient’s spouse clarified, “no honey, we were told there is nothing more they can do.” Again, how would I know? I thought we were all in treatment to get better. It never occurred to me that some of us were not going to make it. Well, many of my family and friends did not make it through treatment, but some did not. Was it painful? Absolutely. I would attend funerals and was overwhelmed at first. Then the crazy part is, after some time and reflection, there was some kind of peace with myself and the loss of people I loved. Not happiness, peace…..I let go of the anger and lessened my sadness. It does creep in at times and I cry, but…..I hold in my heart the joy and positive energy from the people that I was lucky enough to have met in the first place. I also realized how great these people were. By the way, on each and every ride I do, I carry or wear the special gifts, trinkets, symbols and momentos that represent the bond that I have with my fallen loved ones. They are still on the adventure/journey with me. They are part of me and I am lucky for that.
What makes the cancer community so lovely? The people, of course..Patient, family, friend, whoever….During treatment (and beyond), we all talked and learned about each other’s families and lives. We shared stories that most people are too guarded to ever share. We live and laugh each day and trully lived in the moment. The bond that people develop while fighting for their lives is very unusual and special to me. I have lifelong friendships with new people and I have attended so many beautiful and positive funerals for my family and friends who died of cancer. I never want anyone to have to go through what I did, and more importantly, I am sick of seeing friends and family die. I could either sit back and do nothing, or stand up and fight back. I choose to fight back for ME, MY CANCER WARRIORS and ANGELS! I do what I can to raise money to fight cancer and to provide resources (financial, clinical trials, mental health, etc.) to cancer patients and their families. Please join my family and I, as we challenge our bodies and minds to raise money to help future generations and families currently in some stage of their cancer journey. Again, the personal secure donation page is: http://laf.livestrong.org/goto/HeckCancer .
We appreciate tax-deductible donations of any amount. The money is going to help many people through the programs at LiveSTRONG. If you would like to learn more about programs at LiveSTRONG here is their homepage http://www.livestrong.org/ (a 5013c charity)
Thank you for listening and for your support.
Take care and be well,
Gina Utegg-BC Survivor2009
This is a small tribute list of cancer warriors and angels from a shirt I had made…….This is just from people I know……It’s a real lot of people……..
Gina Utegg, Mike Utegg, Rachael Utegg, Bo the Wonder Dog, Olga Utegg, Grampa Stroh*, Uncle Butch*, Dawn Stroh Reid, Karen Stroh, Tommy Stroh, Eugene Stroh, Carl Utegg, Barbara Izzard, Richard Utegg, Belva Utegg, Sylvia Smith*, GU-Smith, Shelby Morrow, Nancy Tammi, Rica Mendes, Scott Joy, Peter Collins, Penny Thomson, Susan Mackay, Phyllis O’Grady, Jody Schoger, Steve Schoger, Ashleigh Moore, Josh Webb*, Mike Terry, Alex Ndolo, Joshua Hirsch, Donna O’Brien, C. Judy Nadeau (mum)*, Ken Madore*, Dawn Prentice*, Hope Prentice, David Vitello, Laurette Vitello, Bill Deaett*, THE WAITING ROOM, Cindi Hart, Ken Hart, Doug Ulman, Susan Betts Trueworthy, Henrike Hirsch, Jerad Wood, Branan Cooper, Chris Hornbeek, Annemieke Janssens, Mary Bartholomew, Karen Kelly Krowne, Tim Deegan, Paul Joyce, Will Swetnam, Millie Northcott, Kristine Scotto, Chip Hornbeek, Chris Hornbeek, Ann Gleavy, Ken Youner, Betty Otter-Nickerson, Brandon Hayes-Lattin, Heidi Adams, Amy Ubelhart Wall, Angela Coletti-Wetherbee, Ali Shaw, Spokes of Hope, Geoffrey Moulton, Toni Moulton, Phil Hoke, Buddy Rizzo, Zach Strahan, Jan Frandsen, Brian Wolf, Marcia Dana, Greg Dana, Pan-Mass Challenge, Lance Armstrong, LAF, LiveSTRONG, Danny Trauth, Ang Madsen-Gilchrist, Dereesa Reid, Jacob T. Burns, Len Svitenko, Andy Anderson, Debi Greiman Trauth, Evan Wilkinson, Penny Feddick, Alexa Belotti Simoneit, Nancy Hooijen, Sue Skeggs, Mike Terry, Sam Pellegrino, Stacey Stewart, Pam Black, Patrick Chatfield, Kate Bartholomew, Crawford Inglis, Calvin H. Bartholomew, Gena Moe Solar, Joshua Larsen, Kristen Palazzo Catton, Rebecca Esparza, Ed Herndon, Erik Pearson, Rich Ehrmann, Sandra Beebe, Sherry Skillz Rosenkranz, Jon Binsted, Nicole Armstrong Newcomb, Ryan Newcomb, Renee Nichols, Eric Charsky, Dann Sullivan*, Loren Sullivan, Lorraine Sulivan, Bridget Slotemaker*, Kolman Kleinbord, Kathy Robinson, Mark Knight, LiveSTRONG for Germany, Kathleen C., Kathleen Reid, Kayla Kenney*, Heidi Floyd, John Lind, Fred Ulmer, Rica Mendes, Deb Salada, Matt McGinty, MA-LiveSTRONG, Dr. Robb Friedman, Dr. Gayle Tillman, MGH Boston, NEHO, Harvard Vanguard, Kim VandeBogart, Jeremy VandeBogart,Tricia Glynn Korbl, Reilly Korbl, Laszlo Korbl, Belmont Wheel Works, Chet Sullivan, Randy Foster, Michael Jacobs, *Chet Sullivan, Eric Heiden, Timra Stump, Kathy Cyrier, Jean Marie Buckley, Patti Curtin, Ken Legro, Bob Cullinan, Jon Binsted, Cyclist Combating Cancer, Cindy Graf, Rich Ehrmann, Rebecca Esparza, Crystal Hogg, Brandon Hayes-Lattin, Rob Sartin, Dr Sanjay Gupta, Lynette Roncin, Renee Nicholas, Kate Bartholomew, Kathleen Fetzko*, Madeline Fetzko, Elizabeth Kreutz, Joshua Hirsch, Fakhre Alam, Tahmeed Ansari,