Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cancer's Impact (or Why the Fundraising for P3 is important to me)

Benedict Kupchunos was my Grandfather.  The first born of immigrant farmers from Eastern Europe, his mother could not Speak English fluently.  His father had an alcohol problem, and left the family when he was in the 6th Grade.  He ended up dropping out of school and working in the textile mills at night (along with working the fields during the day) in order to support his family.  He ended up getting married and having two daughters.  He was known for being a strong individual, and one that had a strong moral standing.  His family survived moving to a new country, the harshness of being immigrants in the Northeast United States during the turn of the century, being a single parent family at a time when it was unheard of, along with the Great Depression and the daily toils of being a farmer.  He was forced to be a Man well before any of us would want our kids to have to deal with the realities of earning a living, and helped to raise his younger brothers and sisters so they could live a better life.  The one thing that he could not overcome was the fight with cancer.  He went home in September 1977.  I was not quite 3 at the time.  I never got to really "know" my grandfather.  Pictures like this are how I remember him.

In the past 35 years, cancer research has come a long way.  I know of countless cancer survivors, and the chances of early detection and treatment are significantly better than they were back in the 70's.  I have known friends, coworkers and other family members that have been blessed to have cancer detected at early stages and to have been able to get quick treatment to be able to move on.  Just in my extended family I am blessed to know people that have been cancer survivors for decades.  Without the efforts that are put in every day to improve our ability to combat cancer, though, these people wouldn't have had a fighting chance.

It is estimated that this year 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer.  35% of them will not make it 5 years past the time that they are diagnosed.  I have an opportunity to help in the fight against cancer in a way that I have never been able to before.  I've been blessed with the opportunity to be in the upstate of South Carolina, and to have been introduced to cycling.  I've been able to improve my fitness so I can take on the Stars and Stripes Challenge.  This is a way for me to honor the memory of my Grandfather and to help others both past, present and future in their fight against cancer.  The funds that the P3 group collect as a part of the fundraising for the Stars and Stripes Challenge goes to cancer research as a part of the Greenville Hospital System's Cancer Research Center as well as to Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer.

I have already had several others willing to help support me in my fundraising goal, but I'm still short of the $500 that I wanted to raise to help.  If you are able to donate to help me reach my goal, I'd be honored.  If you want me to remember someone you love that has fallen to cancer or is battling with it, let me know in the comments or in a private message.  I'm planning on finding a way to remember those that have been touched by cancer ride with me during the ride in some fashion, along with being in my prayers this Memorial Day.

Palmetto Peloton Project's Donation Page

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