When my kid brother Terry was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma in 2010 it was a devastating blow. He had just completed a two year HVAC course at the Perry Institute in Yakima, Washington, where he graduated with honors at the top of his class. His family had come to see him graduate and were with him when, just before the ceremony began, he received a phone call from Wal Mart offering him a position with high pay and great benefits. He was indeed on top of the world.
Just weeks later he would get the bad news. He immediately enjoined the battle against this often undiagnosed, deadly disease. He contacted the Cancer Care Alliance and they referred him to North Star Lodge in Yakima. There, he entered into a very new chemotherapy regimen. The therapy he was taking had just been certified by the FDA and was extremely expensive and with very high co-pays required.
Without his knowledge our family met and agreed that we would sacrifice everything, sell our homes, vehicles, and do anything else we had to, to help him battle his cancer.
For those who are unfamiliar with North Star, it is a cancer treatment facility in Yakima, Washington. The lodge is appropriately named. It provides a setting not unlike a five star hotel in downtown Seattle. It is built of open rough timber, has huge fireplaces, comfortable seating areas, and even a library. There are relaxation and meditation areas everywhere. And that’s just the facility. The people are all very upbeat, warm, and friendly. The doctors lead the world in research and treatment and are just as professional and friendly. I had the privilege to tour the facility and was warmly greeted and engaged in conversation everywhere we went.
Programs at North Star Lodge are supported significantly by funding from The Memorial Foundation – Yakima. A counselor met with Terry, they provided him with help in taking on his disease.
Terry lost his battle on September 11, 2012, at five minutes after midnight. I know of no one who has not been touched by cancer, so I planned a motorcycle ride in his honor. And then it occurred to me that I could ask others to help The Memorial Foundation raise funds for the programs that helped Terry. My ride will begin in late May. I will be riding the perimeter of America counter clockwise over 3 months. I estimate that it will be 16,000 miles. I am asking anyone who can to donate to the Memorial Foundation in honor of those who have been touched by cancer. Even a dollar helps. Anyone who wishes can follow me, read my blog, and see some videos that I will be posting. The website is WWW.CancerRideAmerica.ORG.
And now, I ride for Terry so that in his name others can be served the way he was through programs funded by the Memorial Foundation Cancer Care Fund.
It’s just the right thing to do.