Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer: Pat Conn
For the past five months, I’ve dedicated the majority of my free time to training for the 2018 Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride. Multiple days a week, I spend up to four hours a day training, which is no easy feat during an oppressive Florida summer with heat indexes frequently above 100 degrees! I train in Tallahassee where the terrain can be flat, but also has plenty of hills, unlike the majority of the state.
The physical, emotional and mental tolls of training are difficult – the long miles, the wind, hills and physical exhaustion are all tough to navigate – but can never compare to what cancer patients face. That’s why I volunteered to take on such a momentous challenge by participating in this year’s ride.
Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer is especially important to me because I’m riding in memory of my daughter, McKenzie. She was our first child and truly meant the world to my wife and I. McKenzie was diagnosed with cancer in December 2004, at the age of 20 months, and we lost her two years later in February 2007, a few months shy of her fourth birthday.
Even though she was very young, McKenzie showed great strength and tenacity. I hope that as I’m riding I can be even half as strong as she was during her treatments.
McKenzie is always with me, but she’ll be on my mind even more during the ride. I can’t help but think about the daily struggles she faced when she was going through her treatments. Even though she was very young, McKenzie showed great strength and tenacity. I hope that as I’m riding I can be even half as strong as she was during her treatments.
I am also riding in memory, and in honor, of many friends and family members who have been diagnosed with cancer. Some are no longer here with us, some have been more fortunate, and others have just recently been diagnosed.
As much training as I’ve done, I can’t help but wonder how my training in Florida will be so much different than my experience riding from Denver to Kansas City, which will be my leg of the cross-country ride. Cycling nearly 80 miles a day for three days with my Bristol-Myers Squibb colleagues, and on a new terrain and a different climate, will be challenging, but it is all worth it to honor McKenzie and other loved ones impacted by cancer and to support the great work of the V Foundation for Cancer Research.