I was reading yesterday, from a number of sources, about the start of human trials for what they hope will be an anti-aging drug called metformin. Apparently the work they’ve been doing on mice and roundworms has resulted in the little critters living 40% longer. Not only that but they were healthier and “friskier” too (read, still getting it on with other mice and roundworms.) [UK Telegram Article] If the human trials, with volunteers in their 70s and 80s, yield similar results we could see average human lifespans in the 110s or even the 120s.
This got me thinking; and not about the greater ramifications for society as a whole (and there are plenty of things to consider there). My top-of-mind question is more personal… what’s the use of living to see 120 years if the last 60 of them are spent riddled with cancer?
I know, I’m such a downer. Living longer should be a good thing, why spoil the party with cancer? Well, the problem is I’ve just seen too much of it. In the last 18 months I’ve been to 9 funerals, and there were 4 more I couldn’t bring myself to go to because it is just too painful out-living my friends. Most of them, not all, but most of them died of cancer or related complications. So my question holds… why live for 120 years if cancer is going to make it a life barely worth living?
Those of you who know me have likely figured out where I’m going. Even those who don’t can imagine what’s next, and I’m making no apologies for it. Yesterday was “Giving Tuesday” that recently created annual event designed to help us feel less guilty about how much we spent on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. What better day to launch my efforts for the 2016 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer; the annual 200km cycling fundraiser for Cancer Research at the Princess Margaret in Toronto. However, yesterday got very busy with broken ovens and appliance shopping so you’re getting this today instead.
I’ve been with the Ride since the beginning in 2007. I started riding because there’s a huge history of cancer in my family; my Dad died of it when he was 56, as did his father, my brother lost an arm to it while he was in high school. And the number of friends I’ve seen impacted by it could fill a t-shirt, literally (see pic at right). So I started riding, the first year on my own, in later years with Team Kortright, a great bunch of people who care as much or more than I do. Some of them are cancer survivors themselves, all of us have friends and family on the t-shirt. And so, the Ride Continues!
Many of you already know about the Ride To Conquer Cancer. You’ve been with me through my personal cancer story and you’ve supported Team Kortright and I in the past. You know who you are and once again – I Thank You! If you intend to support the cause again this time around may I suggest clicking on the link at the end of this post and get that donation in now so it counts toward your 2015 tax receipts!
If you don’t know me or we’ve only just recently met, then here’s the Reader’s Digest® version of the story.
In October of 2010 I was diagnosed a branchial cyst in my neck. After it was removed a biopsy lead to the discovery of cancer in my tonsils. That was the year the Ride became even more personal. After 1 surgery, 37 radiation treatments, 5 years of check-ups without re-emergence, and a whole lot of support from whole lot of people I was declared cancer free and cut loose from the process in June of this year. I was 56 when I was diagnosed (same age as my father was); now I’m 61 and if what my father told me just before he passed is accurate then I am now the longest living male in my direct line – ever. I bear that distinction because unlike previous generations, mine is the first to have access to the treatments and technology needed to beat cancer—at least sometimes. I thank God and an army of researchers that I live in more advanced times.
I was fortunate that we caught my cancer so early and treatment was so successful! But there’s still a lot of work to do, the nine funerals testify to that. So I’m asking you again this year to help me continue the fight to Conquer Cancer, in all its forms. Click on the link below and make a donation. You’ll also find a link to the Team Kortright page so you can support the other members of the team. Do it before New Year’s and you’ll get a receipt against your 2015 taxes (after New Years you’ll still get a receipt but for next year ‘natch).
If you can’t right now, I fully understand. No worries, we have lots of opportunities to donate planned. (#fair_warning).
There’s also a link where you can join Team Kortright and ride with us. If you are so inclined we would love to have you join us. Share your story, share the Ride, and share in the adventure.
Donate to my Ride to Conquer Cancer campaign by foll0wing this link.