Have you ever been forced to consider the fact of your mortality? If confronted with cancer, how would you feel? What would you say to the people you love? What would they say to you? No two people have the same answers to these questions, a lesson I learned well during a solo six-week, 5,000-mile cross-country bike ride I called Cycle of Lives. The trip started as a fundraiser in honor of my sister, June, who died of brain cancer. But long before I even set out on my endurance ride from L.A. to Florida to N.Y., I exhaustively interviewed fifteen people across the country whose lives had also been irrevocably changed by cancer—either as patients, survivors, loved ones, or caregivers.
Hearing their moving stories, which were influenced by many different forms of past and present trauma, transformed my cycling odyssey into a journey of emotional self-discovery as I relived the chaos and emotional upheaval of cancer through them: from the man who found true love after losing his soulmate to cancer, to the elite athlete who had to reckon with his all-star body finally letting him down, to the medical oncologist who cares as much about her patients as she cares for them. Whether you or someone you care about is going through cancer or some other major trauma, I hope this thought-provoking collection of astonishing stories can help you, too.
What would you do if your child were diagnosed with a life-threatening illness? When his 12-year-old daughter Lilli was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia two weeks before Christmas, Travis Hicks was in the worst shape of his life. Overweight and overworked, Hicks watched his daughter Lilli fight for her life against an aggressive blood cancer. Inspired by his daughter’s strength, Travis took up yoga and walking while giving up sweet tea, a blasphemous adjustment for this Southerner. After wondering, “What’s the worst that could happen if I were to start running?” Hicks ultimately became a long distance runner, shed over 40 pounds, and restored his health in time to help his daughter through the fight of her life. Read this father’s story of life, health, family, and faith to understand the impact of pediatric cancer on a family and their community.