Todd Kemper - Linnea's Legion
The Legion Strikes Back
September 19, 2016. A day I will never forget. The moment that her heart stopped beating, and mine somehow found the strength to keep going.
Just a few short weeks after finishing our first Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer in her name...Cancer conquered Linnea. It was the day that her immense suffering ended, and mine began. The journey of grief is a complicated one. It's tentacles reach into every facet of your life, your relationships, places you've been...even into inanimate objects that surround you everyday. It's not something I would wish on anyone, and yet it is something that many of us will one day have to endure. The only consolation one can seem to find at the moment of transformation is a life well lived.
It would have been easy, understandable even, for us to have given up on this conquest after losing Linnea. But that's not who we are. We aren't just friends, family, and cyclists... we are warriors. We. Are. Legion.
And when a band of brothers and sisters takes a loss on the battlefield they don't pack up and go home... they regroup, refocus, and reframe their attack.
So here I am. Year three. Surrounded by my brothers and sisters, striking back against Cancer. You took Linnea from me, Cancer, but I'm not going to sit down and let you get away with it. I'm going to keep fighting. I'm going to keep raising funds. I'm going to keep riding. I'm going to keep attacking hills, and well, goddamn it, I'm just going to...keep going. Because FUCK YOU. One day we are going to stop you. For every new front you open we will have an answer. Immunotherapy. Genomics. Nanotech. The future is coming and the future belongs to us, not you.
With the help of the funds we raise I truly believe that the day will come where women like Linnea will be able to see a diagnosis - even of metastatic cancers - as a manageable chronic disease. A future where we will throw away the systemic chemotherapy treatments, the puke bags and the laxatives, the morphine and the wigs. A future where we will target specific cells in specific locations. So that even if one day the disease does win the battle in the end, the real victory will have been a long life, well lived. A better life for the patient and a small consolation for the ones like me - left behind.
I'm not doing it for her anymore. I'm doing it for everyone who is about to walk in her footsteps (and mine). And I'm doing it in her name, for her memory.
Because, for her, I would have done anything.
My Participant ID: 226870-5
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