A Team LIVESTRONG RAGBRAI Story: Christina

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Join Christina and Team LIVESTRONG at an event this year. Whether you run, ride or tri in 2013, just do it with Team LIVESTRONG. Visit www.teamlivestrong.org for more information about events currently open for registration.

What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Christina Metz Anderson. I grew up in Dubuque, Iowa and am currently living in Bettendorf, Iowa. I lost my daughter, Katie to an inoperable brain tumor (DIPG) on November 23, 2007. I am participating in my 4th RAGBRAI with Team LIVESTRONG.

Why did you choose to join Team LIVESTRONG for this event?
On Katie’s 13th birthday, July 28, 2007 we watched RAGBRAI come through LaMotte, Iowa. My daughter, being bound to a wheel chair because of her radiation treatments, was especially interested in the number of disabled people who were participating in RAGBRAI with assistance. She, in all seriousness, yelled at me as I was chasing her, at the time, three-year-old brother to keep him out of the way of bikes, that we should ride next RAGBRAI next year.

I never forgot the request so when her 16th birthday was approaching I wanted to do something to celebrate Katie’s memory since all of her friends were hitting milestones like getting driver’s licenses and cars. I needed to do something. When RAGBRAI announced it would end in Dubuque, Iowa, my hometown, my sister told me, “You know you have to do it.” But I didn’t just want to ride RAGBRAI–I wanted to do it for a reason. My sister did some research for me and, through a chat group, found out that LIVESTRONG had a RAGBRAI team. So we decided this was the thing to do. We were going to ride RAGBRAI to celebrate Katie’s memory and honor her 16th birthday.

Have you taken part in any other events with the LIVESTRONG Foundation?
In 2013 I became a LIVESTRONG Leader. It has been a great experienc. I have learned so much about the Foundation and expanded my network of cancer resources. I have the opportunity to work with Camp Kesem at Augustana College and am looking forward to visiting the camp in July with some of my fellow RAGBRAI Teammates when we are in a town. In May I had the honor of being part of Bettendorf’s first LIVESTRONG Day celebration at our YMCA.

I participated in One Voice Against Cancer in Washington D.C. July 8 and 9 and shared my story, and the stories and experiences of several friends and family members, with Congress. I wanted to make a difference because I see and hear about so many obstacles people living with cancer encounter every day.

Have you used the LIVESTRONG Foundation’s services?
My experience with LIVESTRONG is a little different than many of you. I joined LIVESTRONG without having any firsthand experience with the Foundation prior to being a team member. I had no idea of the love and support I would receive from 100 strangers. The LIVESTRONG Team experience left me with a huge support group of people who truly understood what it was like to have cancer affect your life. If you are ever at a crossroads and want to do something to make a statement. I highly recommend participating in a LIVESTRONG event.

I cannot put into words how the LIVESTRONG volunteers and staff have helped and supported me, the caregiver, the past four years. Now I always am sharing news about LIVESTRONG’s services. I currently have a friend working with one of the oncology nurses for advice. I have another friend who worked with LIVESTRONG to find financial help through one of the partner programs for her mother who is unable to work because of her cancer and her disability and state aid is not enough.

What does LIVESTRONG mean to you?
To me LIVESTRONG means an extended family. When I showed up at RAGBRAI 2012 I really thought I was going to tell everyone I was done. After stepping into camp and receiving that first hug, I knew I was coming back in 2013. That is another reason I took the opportunity to become a LIVESTRONG Leader to continue to meet other brothers and sisters passionate about spreading the word about what LIVESTRONG can do to help people with cancer.

Name one piece of advice you would give to someone affected by cancer.

It takes a team to fight cancer. When people ask what they can do for you, tell them. Mow the lawn, run errands, etc.

It’s me in front! I would never be able to do what I do without the amazing friends I have met through LIVESTRONG!

It’s me in front! I would never be able to do what I do without the amazing friends I have met through LIVESTRONG!

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