Light -- it is an agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible. Darkness is the polar opposite of light, in fact, it is the complete absence of it.
Cancer is a lot like the definition of darkness, being absent of light.
I have experienced the darkness that cancer brings first hand through my 12-year-old cousin Caroline’s battle and eventual passing with Osteosarcoma. Caroline’s story could have been defined by darkness, by the total absence of light or better yet the absence of hope, however, it wasn’t. Caroline had an infectious smile, the joy that surrounded her was unparalleled. Caroline exuded light even on the darkest days of her battle. Caroline taught me a lot about life, she taught me to love the person next to you even if they were a stranger, she taught me to always be ready to laugh, she taught me hope. All lessons I learned while she was in the fight for her life. Most importantly she taught me to fight, to fight with a smile on my face and my head held high. Even after she passed in the early morning of January 9, 2015, just a few months before her 13th birthday, her fight did not end. I learned the next battle was only beginning. Instead of letting the darkness seep in and consume us, I watched my family stand up and fight, fight like Caroline did, fight with a smile and with hope. Instead of sitting in the darkness, a light was shone. I watched my family begin to fight to bring an end to the terrible disease that is childhood cancer. A fight to bring light to families like ours affected by the terrible darkness this disease can bring. The resilience and fighting spirit I watched in Caroline and in my family during her fight and following her death have inspired me to ride. I ride for families like mine who have felt and are feeling the impact that cancer has. I ride to help fight childhood cancer, a terrible disease which is so often overlooked and underfunded. I ride to show the hope and joy that Caroline taught me so much about.
I ride for Caroline Richards, who taught me to never quit and never stop smiling.
I ride for families affected by cancer.
I ride to shine light into the darkness.
I ride for hope.