Today someone told me some of his story, an American guy who is living in the Netherlands for a while. He is working at a rehab and helps addicts get clean. His story was special for me. Years ago he was a junkie in the streets of San Francisco and got arrested. He was in prison and had to stay there for another 8 months and the doctor told him he had cancer and that he had about 6 more months to live. That was 1999. He turned his life around and chooses to no longer hide in using drugs; today he helps young addicts in the Netherlands. His cancer showed him that he could die and he chooses life.
That reminded me of my little mission, I need to continue, because my story about Alpe duZes is not done yet. Cancer is a shitty nasty disease and when I heard his story I was surprised. Not because he is clean, I was surprised because he is a cancer survivor. Before my dad got sick I was one of those people to whom such a thing would never happen, now that I know my dad is a cancer patient it seems as if my vision got narrow, as if I believe somewhere that we, my family are the only ones. Two extremes that are not correct, that both do not contribute to a unity. My first thought was based in fear and denial, it would not happen to me and my family. The second thought is one of survival, a tunnel vision, my life and my feelings. Both are not realistic and not productive. Reality is that each and every one of us will in one way or another be faced with this disease, may it be personal, family or friends or coworkers, we will be faced with cancer. A realistic view on this makes that we can acknowledge cancer, and that we can carry it together. Cancer is a lonely disease, for the patient and his family and by admitting that it is there we will be able to have a better understanding and that the disease will be less lonely. Yes! Is that Utopia? I hope not!
So Jip is going to cycle up that mountain, by doing that money gets donated, Jip needs to get sponsors and help from us. I have no clue how it is to cycle up that mountain, I do know that I am making it somewhat big in my head. It seems like some job to do. I do get that training before hand is needed, because cycling it up and down, several times a day really is something. So Jip is doing what he can do right now when it comes to training, also sports other than cycling because it is winter now. Because Jip has some back issues going on he is doing a lot of core stability training, but he is also running, mountainbiking and track cycling. When the weather is getting better he will go on the road again. At this time of the year the cycling he does is mostly focused on endurance, Jip is making at least 4 hr rides. One thing that I know is that that is pretty heavy with this cold, I can do it for two hours in this weather. I notice my body burns a lot more and that my feet are hurting from the cold. At the same time it is really nice, I call it red cheek weather. What I like about what Jip is doing now is that this ride that is taking place in the summer has already started in a way.
Because this Holland is so flat he also goes to other countries for his training, and over here he is making use of the few hills that we have. I sorta envy him in a way, as what he is doing is still theory for me. Jip told me about what is so charming about climbing, that it shows really clear what you can do, how strong you are. Climbing is more a fight with yourself and not as much with the road that goes up. How willing are you to go deep? He also told me that he loves the locations and the views, the nature. And the joy of going down, according to Jip it is enjoying speed and control.
I believe him in that, I believe that it is beautiful and that it is fun to do, that a cyclist gets something out of it. And this is also where I realize that it is very cool what Jip is going to do, but I also see that there is a huge bonus in it for him. It is a very cool challenge and also in doing good there is also always some “getting good”. It feels nice to do something good. For me the writing about Jip and about cancer is giving me joy. I am unable to do what Jip does, as I am not so strong yet, but in my own way I am contributing. Writing about a good cause is way more fun than simply putting some money on a account. I feel part of the cause. What I like is that this action gives cancer a face. Alpe duZes has a face for me, that is Jip who is going to cycle. On the site of Alpe duZes you can find more cyclists and teams, with a little story that tells you why they do it and who they are. That makes it very personal. You can choose your own cyclist and for the true fanatics…. You can go there and watch or better yet, you can volunteer. This is way better for me than just donating money on a bank account, I am part of the action now in my own way, I can contribute more than money and be part of this collective fight against cancer. That is also what I like about reading the motivations of the cyclists who are doing it. They all have their own reason.
Cancer touches everybody’s life, one way or another...
Jip is not unique, I am not unique, my dad is not unique, the clubmember of Jip is not unique, Lance Armstrong is not unique, the guy who told his story is also not unique, my neighbor who just lost her husband, not unique, the parents of a bold little boy in the hospital … also not unique.
I am so grateful that I am allowed to contribute a bit of my life.
To be continued....