This Is Why - Brian Myers
I hate Mike and CJ Walsh.
I first met the Walsh Brothers in the summer of 2010 at the Team LIVESTRONG Philadelphia Challenge, and I hated it. I hated that we all had to be there. I hated people were riding in honor and memory of loved ones and I hated that people were riding because it was their only way to fight back. I hated that these two brothers had to raise money to fight for people affected by cancer.
I soon realized these guys hated cancer as much as I did (actually more than I did), and what I realized about them is that if they were going to hate cancer as much as they did, they were going to have a little fun fighting it. And that kind of attitude is contagious when the Walsh Brothers are around.
I worked with LIVESTRONG for 6 years, and it was some of the most humbling, inspiring and fulfilling times of my life. I had the opportunity to serve some of the most amazing people this world has ever known. Some were survivors, some caregivers, some just plain out hated cancer, and some were in the middle of their fight against cancer. In the past several years there were many times I celebrated another milestone with a survivor or watched someone cross a finish line just weeks after finishing treatment. I grew to know an amazing community of people. But there were also some devastating blows a long the way, and that has really fueled my hatred for cancer.
The first person I really connected with was an outstanding human being, Brian, in San Francisco. He was living with a tumor growing in his brain, but it didn’t seem to slow him down. He raised money, lived life, helped others and fought as hard as he could. The tumor wouldn’t go away though. I still remember sitting in my apartment the evening I learned that he passed. Throughout the years I have attended and spoken at funerals all over the country. A wonderful woman from Asheville, NC who raised money to ride her bike across Iowa but never had the chance to ride. I remember standing in the high school gym on a cold winter morning shoulder to shoulder with so many people celebrating the life of a young teenager who was the inspiration of a community. And I will never forget not getting to the hospital in time to say goodbye to a dear friend who passed from melanoma. I am now older than Brian was when he passed.
So yeah, I F*ing hate cancer. But, its not the end of my story.
In February of 2016 I left Texas to move to North Carolina. I met my now fiancé in Texas and she had the opportunity to move back East and I was all in. Looking back, I was loving where everything in my life was. I had a great partner, solid job, I was closer to home and was really enjoying everything the Carolinas had to offer in terms of lifestyle. I was just cruising along.
That summer I started to get some stomach pains, started getting so tired I would nap during my lunch breaks, until it reached a point where I couldn’t sleep at night because of the pains in my stomach. My doc recommended a colonoscopy and that’s when they found it. A tumor, stage 3, in my colon. What?
I was about to turn 34 years old, in good health and you’re gonna tell me I have colon cancer?! I don’t remember much about that day. The world just swirled around me and I felt like I couldn’t move. Then I began realizing I’ve seen this playbook before and I know there is a team full of cancer haters out there that are going to have my back. Over the course of 18 months I had 4 surgeries and 12 rounds of chemo. At times I felt like my life had been ripped away from me. I was either in a hospital bed or too sick to move from my couch. But the haters kept showing up to lift me up and push me. They sent care packages, emails, texts, a bag of cookies. They called me, took flights to see me, sat with me during chemo and were at my bed side when I woke up from surgeries. If I hadn’t learned how to hate cancer and met so many great people who felt the same way, I can’t imagine what those 18 months would have been like. I don’t even want to think about it.
I can happily say, I live today with no signs of cancer in my body. I have two scans a year for the next few years and will hopefully be deemed in remission at the 5 year mark. I hate cancer, but that hate has brought some of the best people into my life, and it has gotten me through one of the worst times of my life.
It’s one thing to say you hate cancer, but today is the day to join the team.