In March 2007, my mother, Joyce, was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. I had just geared up to begin cycling for exercise…I would have no idea how important that decision would become in my struggle to deal with the painful treatment protocol and eventual loss of my mother. Cycling became my therapy…and eventually, led me to register for the STP. Seattle to Portland is a 205 mile ride that occurs annually. There are over 10,000 people that do this ride every year, and I was determined to take on the challenge. I rode alone that year…and it was hard. Very hard. I had not really had much time to properly train since I was flying back and forth from Seattle to Spokane to attend treatments with my mother and help my dad with her care. I rode for her that year…talking to her along my difficult 205 mile journey several times. Needless to say, she thought I was insane. We lost my beautiful mama in December, just 9 short months after she was diagnosed. Although, I told myself I never needed to do another STP again, a fire was lit and I rode again in 2008, along with my husband…this time in my mother’s memory. The following year, in 2009, I was joined by my sister and several friends and Team Joy was born. We rode to raise awareness and formed a partnership with Gilda’s Club/Cancer Pathways. We had a small fundraiser dinner and raised about $4000 in 2009. Over the next several years, Team Joy has grown to over 45 riders, including riders from both west and East coasts, and all 4 of Joyce’s children and most of her grandchildren. This year, her youngest grandchild, who was born just months before she passed away, will ride his first STP! We have raised over $75,000 and spread our message of JOY and awareness to tens of thousands of cyclists. 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of that first ride. I have put over 2,000 miles on my bike doing the STP…and thousands more training and riding in other events in Maine, California, and even France. I love to put on my Team Joy jersey, with my mother’s smiling face on the back, my pink and teal tutu and strap my Team Joy cowbell to my bike seat and ride! I ride to spread joy…to raise awareness of the BRCA gene and symptoms of ovarian cancer…and support Cancer Pathways. – Laura Bingle
The work my family puts in to organizing our rides, fundraisers, and events has brought us closer together. Instead of growing apart in the absence of our mother, it has provided us a cause to focus on, along with helping to provide meaning to losing her. Knowing we can help others through their cancer journey by raising money for Cancer Pathways, allows us to see a direct positive impact on the community we live in and bring us comfort in losing our mom. My family is stronger than ever, and this is the gift my mother keeps giving us. – Jeanne Jones
Click here to join Team Joy or make a donation in an athlete’s name.