This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of riding in the LIVESTRONG Challenge in Austin, Texas. I was joined by Amber Fogarty and Shane Montoya, two other members of the SOS team. It was Amber who got Shane and me to participate. She trained hard and rode 65 miles in honor of her good friend, Ruben Garza who passed away from cancer last year. We all were a part of Team Ruben.
|Shane Montoya, Amber Fogarty, and Billy Moyer after
completing the LIVESTRONG Challenge.
Amber certainly was my initial motivator and as it got closer, I found myself excited to ride for the amazing cause. Cancer will affect us all in some way. My grandfather passed away from cancer and one of my uncles as well. My mother-in-law is a cancer survivor and I applaud her for winning that fight. My wife’s uncle is currently losing his battle with cancer and this gave me an extra edge as I rode 20 miles with no real training. I did not do it for me, I did it because I want to put an end to this disease and I believe LIVESTRONG does an awesome job fighting the battle.
Living strong is hard sometimes. As we go through life we are constantly fighting battles. Sometimes we fight ourselves. Other times we fight obstacles or what other people say, think, or do. And then other times we fight things like cancer that we just cannot control. We must LIVESTRONG through it all! We must be up for any challenge we face. I rode 20 miles with little training. I guess you could call it a battle to finish. But the real battles are the ones people are fighting against cancer.
One more thing made Sunday’s LIVESTRONG Challenge interesting. It was in the midst of the current Lance Armstrong saga. The USADA and many other people decided it was time to tear down a hero. Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles (even though his last title was in 2005) because he apparently (according to testimony) used performance enhancing drugs. Many of his supporters and sponsors have left his side, and he even has stepped down as Chairman of LIVESTRONG due to the negative publicity.
Lance spoke to the crowd on Sunday and said something pretty powerful. He said: “People keep asking me how I am doing. I say, I have been better, but you know I have been a whole lot worse.” He of course was referring to his own battle with cancer, a battle which he won. It is a shame that our society must tear down people who step up as leaders, but that is another blog.
As I rode the 20 miles on Sunday and saw the amazing cancer survivors pass me over and over, I saw all of the good that LIVESTRONG has done and continues to do. I thought again of why I rode. I rode in the LIVESTRONG Challenge for my PopPop, for my Uncle Mike, Janie Alaniz, my wife’s Uncle Bobby, Ruben, for Tug, for Vuke, for Jimmy V, and for everyone who has had cancer, who has beaten it, or sadly who has lost the battle. I rode for Lance Armstrong, a hero not because of what he did on a bicycle, but because he beat cancer and then started an organization that has helped others beat cancer. LIVESTRONG has raised a half a billion dollars since being formed. Beating cancer and forming LIVESTRONG are Lance Armstrong’s greatest victories and no one can ever take those away from him.
I end this blog with a quote from one of my heroes not yet mentioned. It is a quote from Rocky Balboa from the last installment of the movie series. No matter what is happening in your life please remember this quote, I know I do. “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”