This will be my 9th year participating in the Philly LIVESTRONG Challenge. I ride in memory of my sister, Cynthia Calabrese. In 2006, my sister wanted to prove that cancer would not get the best of her. She was inspired by LIVESTRONG after she shared her survivorship story with others on video. She rallied her friends and family and formed Team INSPIRE to participate in the first ever challenge in Philadelphia. Cynthia, while still undergoing chemo treatments, bought a road bike and trained for the 45 mile ride. Unfortunately, the day of the Challenge she fell 5 miles before the finish line, probably due to exhaustion.
While being assessed by the LIVESTRONG volunteer doctor, Dr. King, my sister shared that her cancer was terminal and she really needed to cross the finish line to prove to herself that cancer would not get the best of her. After listening to her story and assessing her, they loaded up my sister and her bike in the ambulance. About 200 yards from the finish line the EMS volunteers unloaded my sister, her bike and watched her ride across the finish line. At that moment, Cynthia knew that she proved that she could continue to fight and not give up.
LIVESTRONG understands what it means for cancer patients to be able to accomplish their goals during their battle with cancer. They listen! They give support! LIVESTRONG helps you fight!
Today, I ride the bike that my sister rode back in 2006. Today, Team INSPIRE continues to get larger. The members on our team understand the importance of supporting cancer patients in their everyday lives. That is why we continue to participate.
I truly believe that the moment my sister crossed the finish line at the Philly LIVESTRONG Challenge in 2006, a year and a half was added to her abbreviated life. It taught her to have the courage, the determination, and the fight to continue.
Thank you, LIVESTRONG!
Team INSPIRE Captain