ROC the day for Teens Living With Cancer

December 8, 2011

Don’t forget, tonight is Thursday’s at BERTS BIKES! Click here for tonight’s class agenda!

Last January I had the special honor of being part of a retreat for teens with Cancer. It was the “Teens Living With Cancer” Dharma Rama, a day where these kids got together and not only learned something, but got to spend the day together celebrating their lives.

My part of this retreat was to spend an hour discussing health and fitness with the teens. A generous donor gave us 12 sets of tubing and I taught them how to utilize tubing for strength training. This hour impacted my life in a most profound way.

I walked in there expecting teenagers who would be preoccupied with texting, fashion, music and who wouldn’t listen to what I had to say.

I didn’t meet anyone like that in that room.

Who I met….. were teenagers who were hungry for knowledge. Who had been through battles I couldn’t even fathom and who wanted to know and wanted to understand. These kids had either completed treatment or were about to. Some had hair, some did not. Some had replaced hips, replaced knees, balance issues…… but all of them had one thing… the desire to take back their health and their bodies.

I was shocked, absolutely shocked at what I learned. Essentially at the completion of their chemotherapy and radiation programs they were told…. okay…. go get healthy now.

But they didn’t know how.

Sure, programs like LiveStrong exist…. but those are mostly through the YMCA organizations, and the mean age for those program are adults in their mid 50’s.

I looked and looked…… there was nothing.

After the retreat the director of Melissa’s Living Legacy / Teens Living With Cancer, the incredible Lauren Spiker approached me. “This is something we need” she said. I remember her standing there with one hand on her hip, her glasses in her hand….. thinking. “I could get us a grant for a program.” It was clear to me that her wheels were spinning.

We got to work in February. That first meeting there were big sheets of paper hanging all over Lauren’s office, we jotted down ideas, thoughts…… in two days I had an outline in my email. She had a grant proposal written for a very special program, the first of it’s kind that we could find. And we didn’t have a name yet.

Fast forward to this month.We are ONE month away from launching an incredible program, and we have an equally incredible team. They say it takes a village to raise a child, it is taking four of us and a great big dose of passion to bring what we are about to bring to life.

It’s called TLC Fit. It’s going to be a free program for teens who have had cancer or are currently undergoing treatment, with the consent of parents and their doctor of course. For eight weeks we are going to teach these kids how to get fit and healthy, and are an official research study. So if this goes well, who knows where it could go.

We are backed by one of the top pediatric oncology programs in the nation, right here at the U of R. We have researchers, real live researcher people to help us track, measure, and all that stuff.

My job is to get in there and connect with these kids. Find out what they need, what would help them, what their differences are, what they need to modify to fit their survivor bodies. What are the issues they face? How can we….. through movement…. help them get healthy, and become their strongest self inside and out? Talk about a dream position to be in.

We’ve all experienced Cancer in some form or another. We’ve lost loved ones far too often, and far too soon. We’ve seen cancer come and ravage and take. We’ve also seen incredible stories of hope, courage and survival.

The story that touches me most is the story of Melissa. Melissa is the daughter of Lauren Spiker, director of TLC and Melissa’s Living Legacy. Please take a moment to click here and read her story. Each time I walk into Lauren’s office, I look at Melissa’s picture on the wall, and I think….. girl I have to wonder if you ever knew…. how absolutely far your legacy would actually reach.

Which brings me today. It’s Thursday December 8th, 2011. Which in Rochester NY means one thing. It’s ROC the day. Together we are going to ROC THE DAY FOR TEENS LIVING WITH CANCER. You can donate however much you want to the Teens Living With Cancer and make an actual difference in their lives.

I have been sick with a GI bug for 4 days. It’s been four days of misery.

Imagine……. living like that for weeks, months and even years because not only are you battling Cancer, but the horrible effects of the treatment for it. Chemotherapy and radiation….. not to mention everything else one must endure. As adults we are expected to buck up and handle it.

But what if you are 12 years old? What if  you are 16 years old, your friends are out picking out their dresses for the high school Christmas Ball, and these kids are wondering…… will I have even just a little bit of hair? Will I be too sick to go? Will I even get asked to go?

In the beginning everyone in the world is there for you. Everyone wants to do what they can and make life easier. Then the reality sets in, and life goes back to normal. At Teens Living with Cancer…….. Cancer is part of the game, not something to hide. So please, join me in supporting these kids who are fighting the fight of their lives.

There are many reasons to ROC the day……. so please, click here to support our Teens Living With Cancer and stay tuned, we have big things coming. PLEASE SHARE!!!!!!


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