by Aimee Taylor

Emailed to friends on September 9, 2016:

photo by Julian Taylor / click to enlarge

Tomorrow, along with 31 other Team Callanish members, I will be riding my bike to Whistler for the Whistler Gran Fondo, 2016. When Janie asked me to be a part of the team this spring, I had just finished chemo for my recurrence of metastatic cancer, and could barely walk up three flights of stairs without getting winded, but somehow I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

The Fondo is much more than a bike ride for me. It is a way for me to have control over my body. I may not win against the cancer in the end, but I will beat it tomorrow, even if just for a day. I am bigger than my cancer, and I can do extraordinary things, in spite of it. It doesn't have to define me. I am riding to change the lives of many others with cancer, who will get support through Callanish. I am riding for Kate, a friend of over 20 years, who died just a few weeks ago, and who taught me so much about how to be a mum while dealing with cancer. I am riding for Ashley, a Callanish young adult friend who was diagnosed on the same day as me in 2013 and is now also dealing with a recurrence. I am riding for Alexa, my three-year-old daughter, who is my main inspiration. I am riding for me. I am riding for my cycling partner, Allison, a core Callanish team member, who will be by my side the whole way up and has been a huge source of support and motivation for me.

BC Cancer called me today to tell me they could fit me in for an MRI tonight to get better imaging of my new tumour, and that I'd have to start fasting for 6 hours prior. I told them no. Not today. Because for once, something is more important than tests and treatment and cancer. This weekend, I'm taking control back. This weekend, I will ride across a finish line that holds an incredible amount of symbolism. I will finish. Cancer can wait.

VIDEO: Another young adult that I met at Callanish, Chelsey Hauge, made this video to motivate me and remind me of all the reasons I was doing this ride.

Aimee Taylor is a past retreat participant and member of Callanish’s YACN (Young Adult Cancer Network). She is a writer, researcher, musician, mother and more.