This Is Why - Ron Hamner

Hate. Hate is an emotion that's so raw, so intense and hostile, that it has the power to change who we are and how we see the world. Because of this ability, hate, true unbridled hate, is rare. But why is that? To say "I don't like" something, or to say something bothers me, is effortless and almost routine. So then, what makes hate different and where does hate's ability to influence and shape the definition of who we are, come from? Where is hate's power? To discover hate's power, you have to first look at love.

Love, like hate, is another life-altering emotion. But, what makes you love something or someone? When you look at your spouse, do you love them because they have a nice personality or appearance? No, you love them because when she smiles, like only she can smile, she squinches her nose a little bit. Do you love something because of the big picture? No, of course not. Love, true love, is found in the details. The joy in loving someone, or something, comes from being able to experience these tiny little details day in and day out and, and though they may mean nothing to any one else in the world, to you, they cornerstone your emotions of joy, happiness, peace and love. But take those details away from someone and you'll see where hate's power lives. 

So why do I hate cancer? Because this is the very thing that cancer does. Cancer is a thief, a bully and cancer does not discriminate. Cancer steals away our sacred moments and our most precious details leaving behind only heart ache, loss, despair and hate. 

In 2004, I got a phone call from a long time friend and he shared with me that his father was diagnosed with cancer. It was my first taste of hate. I hated cancer for what it was doing to my friend and his family. I hated cancer for making me feel helpless. I hated not knowing what to do, or even what I could do. But God knew. God sent me to Texas. I went to my first Livestrong challenge to show support for and ride in honor of my friend and his father. I went there just to ride. What I didn't expect was to find myself immersed in a new family. A family tied together, not only by a mutual hatred of cancer, but bound together from using their own hatred of cancer as a call to action, a call to rise and a call to fight. 

In 2006, myself and fellow cyclist David Goodall, used our own hate of cancer to form Grab My Wheel, a cycling based non-profit organization. However, Grab My Wheel is not a what, but a who. The Grab My Wheel jersey is on the backs of numerous people and yes, every single one of them is fast where it really matters. Fast to stand up and support a friend and fast to react when there is a need. 

Every Grab My Wheel rider is amazingly strong, but it is in character and principles, not necessarily in the watts put to a crank. Grab My Wheel riders have some of the biggest hearts on the planet, but it has nothing to do with our VO2 max. On the bike, front of the pack, back of the pack, it makes no difference where you start or even if you finish. The race we are in has no podium. Our mission is to make a difference in the fight against cancer, to fight for every detail, every precious moment and to let those going through their fight know they are not alone. 

And we will never quit.

In the fight against cancer, no one rides alone.

Michael Walsh