The following is a Team LIVESTRONG story from Philly Challenge participant, Krista Paternostro. Join Krista at the Philly Challenge in August. Can’t make it to Philly? There are many events you can take part in with Team LIVESTRONG. Go to www.teamlivestrong.org to learn more about our run, walk, ride and tri events.
Why I Ride for Kass:
Everyone has a story. This is the truth as I know it and sometimes when we take the time to learn someone else’s story, it can profoundly impact our own. This is the story of my little sister, Kathleen.
I have always enjoyed a special bond with Kass. She may be the youngest born in our family of four siblings, but by far, she has proven to be the toughest. Last July, Kass was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer at the young age of 39. Like others who have lived through this moment, Kass’s diagnosis has had a profound impact on her own life and the lives of all those who love her.
But, instead of focusing on the downside of this disease, we prefer to focus on the splendor that has come from Kass’s diagnosis. Those experiences that can only be realized when life forces you to live in the moment. Those moments that take your breath away for their pure simplicity and perfection. We have observed that with every setback and bit of bad news, we have always found that something hopeful and peaceful has followed. After the storm comes the rainbow. Such is the way with life. Such is the way with love.
Kass has accomplished much over the years, but her most important and meaningful role came in 2008 when she became a mother to her daughter, Josephine. I watch the interaction between them and I know that there will never be anything stronger than this bond. The love is amazing, the caring divine.
Kass has exhibited tremendous grace since this journey began. Her smile is contagious, and her sense of humor has kept us laughing on some of the very darkest days. She is my inspiration and an amazing example of what courage and strength really mean.
People often ask me why I want to do this ride. I have thought about this question a lot. The reasons that I will ride have not changed, but rather have only become more definitive in my mind and in my heart:
- I ride because I love my sister……and I will do whatever I can to see her be well again.
- I ride because I want to grow old creating memories with her……especially sharing in the joy of watching her baby girl grow up.
- I ride because I want to live in a different kind of world…..a world where families do not have to watch someone they love be sick with this disease.
- I ride because I know Kass would do the same for me…..it is the love between sisters, plain and simple.
- I ride because I believe in LIVESTRONG.
- I ride because so much of Kass’s journey has been influenced by Lance Armstrong and LIVESTRONG’s mission of hope: Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.
- I ride because I want to make a difference……for all of those who courageously battle this disease every single day.
- I ride because I cannot envision not riding……I will live a purposeful life while I am alive to live it.
- I ride because I can…
So this August, I will join my brother Tim, my friend Casey, and the countless others that we will recruit along the way. We will ride our bikes 100 miles through the rolling hills of south eastern PA during the LIVESTRONG Challenge Philly event. This will be my second Team LIVESTRONG event. I proudly ran the 10K last year with my friend Kate last August, just after Kass was diagnosed. This year, we will ride for Kass because we love her. We will ride for Kass and for all of those who cannot ride. We hope that you will join our cause and consider making a donation to our team. It will be money well-invested into an organization that offers hope and inspiration to millions of people around the globe, but also in support of a family trying to do what is right for a sister they love.
This is Kass’s story. This is my story. It is the loving story of two sisters who want to live a long and beautiful life. And, there is more of our story left to tell.