Monday, January 25, 2010


For my friends in the US, the UK, South Africa and New Zealand.
I have decided to translate my latest posts because the topic is one that is too important for me to not share with you. It is a "to be continued" story and today I will post the translations of the first two.

Climbing  the Alpe d’Huez in 53 minutes? Not a problem at all mate, how many times you want me to do it?
Croix du Fer, Telegraph, Glandon, Galibier, Les Deux Alpes, Ballon d’alsace, Grand Ballon, Petit Ballon, Col de Grosse, Col de la Schlucht, Cold de Honeck en de Col du Bramont.
Now what do they have in common? They are all climbs in France.
Passo Campalongo, Passo Pordoi, Passo Sella, Passo Gardena, Colle Santa Lucia, Passo Giau, Passo Falzarego, Passo Valporola. Colle dell’ Agnello, Col de la Lombarde, S’ Anna Di Vinadio,  Colle di Sampeyre, de Colle di Fauniera (AKA Colle dei Morti) en de Madonna del Colletto.
 And these have in common ... They are all in Italy.
So what do these French and Italian climbs have in common then? For starters, that I have not cycled on any one of them yet, I’d like to, but I am scared and I’d love to learn how, before I start such a thing.  Living in Holland it is hard to learn how, this country is as flat as can be.
Unlike most of them, today’s writing is not about me. The above climbs have another thing in common and that is Jip (that is a Dutch name). And next to cycling, Jip and I have something else in common; we both have something with cancer. And that is what I am writing about today.
My conection with cancer is a family bond, my dad is a two time cancer survivor. My dad has always been my best buddy, since I was a little girl. Sure, in puberty my perspective on that was a different one, but if there is one person who can read me, who understands me without words, who knows what makes me tick like no other can, it’s my dad. Oh dear, at the same time he can push my buttons and piss me off and I can do the same with him. We are so alike and can be in these ever going discussions, be in each other’s way and love each other in a way that nobody really understands. If he and I are in our little way my mom calls us: “Mentink and Mentink”, there is no stopping us. My parents live in the South of France.  When my dad had cancer for the first time and he told me, it didn’t really hit home for me. I was busy in my “Amsterdam-life” and it all wasn’t reality for me. The second time he had cancer it was in the bone of his skull, sorta, it was a rare type of cancer. In December 2006, during Christmas, my dad was all alone in the hospital in Paris where they treated him in a specific way. My mom was at home, near Toulouse and I was in Amsterdam. Due to live circumstances and poor personal life choices I was unable to go see my dad. I was so sad because of that, I also experienced a lot of guilt and shame because of it. The idea that my dad was all by himself, still makes me cry almost. At the end of this month my dad will have another check up, he has been having pain at a certain spot lately, I hope it is not cancer again.
Having cancer in the family illustrates that life will end one day. Cancer makes that I understand on a deeper level that my dad will not always be there, his life will come to an end one day. Not only does it show that his life will end it also touches me and my current shape or position. I am Rose, the daughter of Bart, if Bart is gone my status as the daughter of Bart will change. Still what touches me most is that my dad had to go through this alone and what he had to go through while he was sick, while he was fighting the cancer. I would do everything to turn the clock around and be there for him.
Guus van den Anker (a Dutch name) was a member of the same cycling club as Jip and during the ‘90’s Guus got bone marrow cancer. After heavy treatment and recovery it seemed as if Guus had beaten the cancer. Only some years later it came back and Guus died. Jip, a huge fan, got inspired by Lance Armstrong. How Armstrong, after he battled cancer, had enormous successes in cycling (Armstrong won Le Tour de France 7 times) and knew how to get the world’s attention for cancer made that Jip wanted to ride a Livestrong ride in the US. Jip’s cycling club is also riding the “Ride for the Roses”.  Instead of the Livestrong ride Jip is now going to do something else, he is going to have the battle with himself by participating in the “Alpe d’huZes” (Zes is Dutch for six). By climbing the Alpe d’Huez several times on one day, he wants to make the battle against cancer tangible and visible.
The cyclists who are participating in the Alpe d’huZes are collecting money by cycling up that mountain at least 6 times on one day. They collect money by looking for people willing to sponsor them and the money they collect will contribute in the battle against cancer. Jip’s aim is high; he will go up 8 times.
To be continued…

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