What does Victory Over Cancer® mean to you?
Cancer is such an insidious disease.
To me, Victory Over Cancer® means continuing to: find cures that wipe cancer out entirely; develop treatments that stave off cancer’s debilitating effects; seek early detection methods that catch cancer earlier; and research and share the most effective preventative measures to keep cancer away in the first place.
All of this starts with smart, strategic research on many levels.
How has cancer affected you personally?
I’m just like everyone who is reading this. My life has been touched by cancer on so many levels. Most closely when my first husband, Dave Brumitt, died of adenocarcinoma esophageal cancer. He was much too young—not yet 60—and had so much to live for. It was heartbreaking to lose him, and it left a hole in my heart, and a deep commitment to helping those who fight cancer on the front lines.
Why did you decide to commit to being involved with the Victory Ride to Cure Cancer?
Dave was a big bicyclist. In memory of him, some friends and I put together a winter “century” ride called “The Frostbite Tour.” We rode together every February starting in Archers Lodge, N.C., for years. Coordinating that event—and training for it—was a great place for me to channel some of my grief and to be with people who knew that side of Dave—the vibrant, active bicyclist. We raised money in support of basic cancer research over those years.
When the V Foundation asked me to support the inaugural Victory Ride in 2018, I was honored. The Foundation’s endowment, which allows 100% of direct donations to benefit cancer research, is remarkable, and the potential to grow the Victory Ride into an N.C.-based powerhouse for fighting cancer going forward is irresistible.
You were a team captain last year for Team Frostbite. What did you enjoy most about the 2018 Victory Ride?
Training rides with my teammates were a lot of fun! We like off-road riding. I got to know some beautiful trails, such as the Neuse River Trail in the city of Raleigh’s amazing Capital Area Greenway System and the extended American Tobacco Trail, part of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy that runs alongside an abandoned railroad bed in Durham, Chatham and Wake counties.
The day of the ride itself, it felt so good to be traveling the route with hundreds of other people who are committed to the fight. I wasn’t racing for time, so I could chat with riders of all different ages and skill levels along the route, most of whom I had never met. It was a very moving day!
What advice do you give to first-year participants of the Victory Ride?
The V Foundation provides a lot of good information on the website thevictoryride.org, with training tips and fundraising suggestions. I’d recommend taking the time to read through that material. Then, just jump in and do the best you can in terms of getting out on your bike between now and May! Start your “asks” early, so that you can share your story with folks over time. Almost nobody is a natural born fundraiser, but it gets easier over time if you stay true to yourself and remember what motivated you to sign up in the first place.
How can the average person help shape a cancer-free tomorrow?
The Victory Ride on May 18, 2019, is a great place to start! If you and your family enjoy biking, there are so many different fun options to choose from. By participating, you’ll be teaming with an organization that has awarded over $225 million in cancer research grants nationwide and has grown to become one of the premier supporters of cutting-edge cancer research.
What are you most looking forward to for the 2019 Victory Ride?
Team Frostbite’s training rides start soon, and I can’t wait to hit the trails again. (If you’re looking for a team, please join us!) As organizers, we learned a lot from our riders in 2018. This year’s Victory Ride is going to take on more country roads—very rider-friendly and very scenic. And this year’s giant after-party on NC State University’s Centennial Campus will be a great place to celebrate with friends and family after a job well done!