Today is Giving Tuesday, a movement to create a national day of giving to kickoff the holiday season.
Next August I will participate in The Ride to Conquer Cancer. I will raise money and I will ride my bike 200+km from Vancouver to Seattle.
They're a bit performance-y, these cancer events, aren't they? I get it. I've rolled my eyes at various 5km runs and ice bucket challenges and facial hair parties. I've been in that camp that asks, "what's the point?"
Let me tell you what the point of The Ride to Conquer is for me.
Thyroid cancer is both a relatively uncommon cancer and one of the few cancers that is increasing in numbers. This is true worldwide but for the sake of explaining why this matters to me, I'm going to stick to the Canadian stats from Thyroid Cancer Canada.The incidence rate of thyroid cancer is increasing more rapidly than any other cancer yet has the lowest ratio of research dollars of any cancer. Of the 6,000 Canadians who will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2014, 4,800 of them will be women.
Thyroid cancer doesn't have a national walk. There's no race or challenge or cute/sexy/cheeky/whacky marketing campaign. There's no ground-breaking research.
When I signed up for The Ride to Conquer Cancer, I got to specify to which department I wanted to direct the money I fundraised. Unfortunately, thyroid cancer specifically isn't an option (*ahem* someone should really look into getting that changed for next year) but I did get to choose that I want the money I fundraise to go to head and neck cancers.
The Ride to Conquer Cancer is a bit of a performance. But... so what if it is? I need a bit of a performance. I need to mark the change from deer-in-the-headlights-surprise-cancer-diagnosis-at-30 Hillary to rides-her-bike-long-distances-like-a-total-badass-and-by-the-way-check-out-that-ass! Hillary. I need to feel like I'm doing something to support thyroid cancer research. I need to feel like I am supporting the BC Cancer Foundation (over 70% of the money raised by the ride goes directly into research.) I need to feel something other than fear and frustration.
So today, on Giving Tuesday, I'm going to swallow my pride and ask you to please donate to my ride for all the thyroids. And if you've managed to read this far, thank you and ten gold thyroid stars for you!