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Bikes and Bubble Wrap: At Age 36, I’m Learning How to Ride to Benefit Roswell | Events

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Bikes and Bubble Wrap: At Age 36, I’m Learning How to Ride to Benefit Roswell
Events, Health, News
Bikes and Bubble Wrap: At Age 36, I’m Learning How to Ride to Benefit Roswell

I’m at it again. Or so my family and friends say when they hear that I’m working on another project. However, this one is particularly entertaining to them, with a game called “Boo Boo Bing-OW” and the involvement of bubble wrap.

Sadly, perhaps even pathetically, at the age of 36, I do not know how to ride a bike. It was something I didn’t have an opportunity to learn as a child, and as I grew older, a fear of falling overrode a desire to learn.

The wish to learn has come about thanks to Roswell Park Cancer Institute. I am a cancer survivor, and Roswell has been a godsend over the past few months. So I will learn to ride a bike in a two-month period in order to raise money for Ride for Roswell 2012.

Four years after having surgery that cured my cancer in 2004, I developed secondary lymphedema, a chronic swelling in my left leg that was the result of lymph nodes being removed during surgery. After three years of being told that I would have to live with my left leg being 30 percent larger than my right leg because I was “getting old,” in the fall of 2011, I found help at Roswell Park, which offered a proper diagnosis and treatment regimen.

It was a “good news-bad news” situation. The good news – the therapy included massage for three weeks. The bad news – I would have to wrap my legs in compression bandages every night and wear a compression stocking every day for the rest of my life. Still, this beats the alternatives. I could still have cancer. I could have lost my leg without proper treatment. I consider myself extremely lucky.

Lymphedema is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life, but if it hadn’t been for Roswell, I wouldn’t have known what was causing the swelling, and I wouldn’t be on the path to living a more normal life. I can’t believe millions of people in the United States suffer from this, but so little is known about it. I want to raise awareness.

To show my appreciation, I will form a team and participate in the 2012 Ride for Roswell, and I will begin learning how to ride a bike during my third Stick it to Cancer Blood Drive and Basket Raffle. I’m turning my first serious riding lesson during this event into a game called “Boo Boo Bing-OW,” during which family and friends will watch me embark on my new goal. Like my friends did when I was younger, I will place baseball cards in the wheels of my bike to make some noise, and additional baseball cards will be sold to raise money for Roswell. As I wobble and make my way through a course, I will call out players’ names on the baseball cards to give spectators a chance to win prizes.

To ensure my safety, I will be in full protective gear – helmet, knee and elbow pads and fully bubble wrapped. We want to make this an enjoyable fundraising game, but, of course, no one wants to see me get hurt.

In addition to Roswell, I chose the Town of Tonawanda Paramedics as a recipient of funds from this event because I have been a Town resident for the past 22 years, and because when I had my first son, A.J., prematurely, the paramedics were there for me. I want to return that kindness. My son also is the reason why we hold an American Red Cross blood drive in conjunction with the event. While he was at Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, A.J. had several transfusions, so I thank those anonymous donors by donating myself and encouraging others to donate as well.

The Stick it to Cancer Blood Drive and Basket Raffle will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at the Town of Tonawanda Boys and Girls Club, 54 Riverdale Ave., Town of Tonawanda, and donations currently are being accepted. All proceeds, less prizes, from “Boo Boo Bing-OW” will go toward team Stick it to Cancer for the Ride for Roswell. Baseball cards for “Boo Boo Bing-OW” will be sold until 4 p.m., when the game will begin. The event also will include a basket raffle with drawings at 6 p.m. (winners need not be present), a 50/50 split (drawing after baskets), food and entertainment. The American Red Cross will have its mobile unit onsite for the blood drive from 2 to 7 p.m.

Admission will be $10 per person at the door, $5 for presenting blood donors and free for those 10 and younger. There also will be no charge for those participating in only the blood drive. The admission price will include the first set of basket raffle tickets, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. Additional auction tickets will be available for $5 per sheet or five sheets for $20. Baseball cards will be $5 each, and a portion of the sales will be split up for prizes.

For more information or to follow the event, contact me at lisaann_johnson@yahoo.com, search for  and subscribe to “StickIt ToCancer” on Facebook or visit http://stickittocancer.wordpress.com.

Also, check out the flier at http://stickittocancer.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/stick-it-official-flier.

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