Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dedicated, Part Three

Dedication to fighting for a good cause: our friends AJ and Sarah live just north of Seattle, and have been married just a few months longer than Ben and I. I met AJ through a mutual friend from college; AJ had moved out to Washington from the Midwest around the same time I had moved to Oregon, and we both worked for our respective dioceses. Because of that common thread, our friend Tom introduced us. We've kept in touch since then, and have been happy to support them and try to see them when we have extra time in their area.

On Halloween of 2009, AJ was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The next six months he went through weekly chemotherapy, and as he braved through the treatments he began training for—and then completed, just two months after his last treatment—a 70 mile LIVESTRONG cycling ride, celebrating his victory over cancer, as well as his first Father's Day (their daughter was born in August, 2010).

Many of you have heard of Lance Armstrong and the LIVESTRONG foundation he started to support those who have been affected by cancer and to continually research a cure. Did you know that 28 million worldwide have been impacted by cancer?

Three and a half years ago, I myself was affected by melanoma, the most aggressive type of skin cancer. Once this cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, my dermatologist called it a “most certain death sentence.” Thankfully, my little cancerous spot was only in the form of a small tumor (or mole) on my leg, and all the cancer was removed with a minor surgery that excised the spot itself and the skin surrounding the mole. Since then, I have had to get yearly screenings, and take every precautionary measure to protect myself from the potential of getting it again, like wearing sunblock (spf 100), covering my skin as much as possible from sun exposure, taking vitamin D supplements, and in general, avoiding the sun (for those of you who know me well, I've done this since college anyway!).

AJ and Sarah have shared their story of cancer on their blog, West Coast Steins, and now AJ has begun a new blog, I Ride For, to chronicle his cycling training and his efforts to raise $12,000 for LIVESTRONG research and community support. For his first ride, the LIVESTRONG Seattle Challenge, he raised over $3000. Upping the ante for his next big ride, LIVESTRONG Austin (Lance Armstrong's hometown), he is asking for your support and prayers. Would you consider making a small donation (forgo your Starbucks for a day) or a larger sum, to help him reach his goal?

Click here to make a contribution for a movement that has helped so many affected by cancer, and in turn, your intentions will be prayed for during AJ's training. He has signed up for several rides between now and the big race in October (hopefully including a small LIVESTRONG race in our beautiful city of residence: Bend, OR in July), and you can follow those rides on I Ride For as well.

Make a donation in memory of a loved one who lived with cancer, or in honor of someone battling it right now. Your prayers and financial support are greatly appreciated, not only by the Steinbrecher family, but by all impacted by cancer.


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