Who is Team Thingamajugs
Emboldened by cheating certain death-by-bike last year, we’ve once again made an exciting commitment to participate in the YSC Tour de Pink, a 200+ mile bike ride for breast cancer.
Mollie and Heather are breast cancer soul sisters. They both had bilateral breast cancer, went through treatment around the same time (2013-2014), and are both BRCA2+. Tara and Trisha are two of the very best friends a girl could ask for. They supported Heather through her treatments and continued that support in agreeing to do Tour de Pink, which pretty much makes them the cream of the awesome crop. Read more about each rider below.
I have known Heather and Tara since High School (20+ years) and through the powers of Social Media, we always kept in touch. When Heather was diagnosed with breast cancer, we became even closer. At the time, I was located in Georgia, Tara was in NJ and Heather in NY but we made sure that Heather knew that she had our support. I would try to find the most tackiest get well card once a week to send to her and we had a virtual Facebook New Year’s toast with all her friends and family sending pictures of their toasts since Heather was receiving her first Chemo on New Year’s Day. Fast forward to 3 years later, I am back living in New York and Heather & Tara have managed to convince me that somehow riding 200 miles to support Young Survival Coalition is a fun and inspirational thing to do. I signed up in the beginning of March and started to collect donations for my “200 miles of craziness” as I like to call it. Then, unfortunately, the Tour de Pink took on a new meaning for me. My cousin who was 32, lost her battle to breast cancer. She was such a beautiful and spiritual person. As I sat at her memorial service, I listened to the stories of how she was battling this terrible disease, she still had such a positive impact on those that came to visit her. People would visit her to make HER feel better and then left her hospital room feeling better than when they walked in. That is when I decided that I would dedicate my 200 miles of craziness to Chrissy’s memory. I am looking forward to joining my fellow Team Thingamajugs on this awesome adventure in October to support this great charity!
The thing I remember most about my Aunt Diane is her laugh. It was an infectious kind of laugh that made you thank your lucky stars that you were around to hear it. She also relished making others laugh along with her. You knew the punchline to whatever story she was telling was coming soon because her voice would go up a few octaves and then she'd end it with that laugh.
The laughter didn't stop when she was diagnosed in 2000 with inflammatory breast cancer. She found ways to joke about her diagnosis, to turn hospital testing and surgeries into just another great tale to tell. She was dying, but you would have never guessed it. When she took her last breath on Christmas Day, 2001, she took that beautiful laugh with her.
Twelve years later, I was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer--part of a long line of women in my family betrayed by a mutated BRCA2 gene. Shortly after, I started my blog, Breaking Breast Cancer, which was aimed at educating people about the breast cancer journey through humor. I often got the question, "Heather, how can you joke about your diagnosis?" I was 36, had two young kids and was staring down two aggressive breast tumors and a whole lot of unpleasant cancer treatments. My answer was simple: "Laughter is the only way I know how to cope."
At first, I wasn't entirely sure what drove me to sign up for my first Tour de Pink in 2016, which marked my first time on a bike in more than 30 years. It certainly wasn't because I had mad cycling skills or any trace of athleticism -- or balance, for that matter. When I sent out donation pleas on Facebook, they were usually accompanied by GIFs of people on bikes careening off cliffs and inexplicably bursting into flames. That's where my bike skills were at. But I ignored my shortcomings, created Team Thingamajugs and helped design an over-the-top jersey that embodied my humor, my coping mechanism.
I could have just donated to YSC, but for some reason, I needed to do this ride. And then it occurred to me: I could help young women with breast cancer, meet some amazing people AND I would have a great tale to tell (hopefully nothing involving cliffs or flames). People had long noted the similarities between me and my Aunt Diane, but it wasn't till this moment that I realized just how alike were are. Heather and Diane, just two broads laughing in cancer's face.
Aunt Diane, I dedicate Tour de Pink 2017 to you!