It’s the news no one wants to hear ‘I’m sorry Leesha... it’s cancer.’ In 2008, breast cancer was no longer a women’s health issue, it was now threatening life as I knew it.
At the age of 40 with 2 teenage girls still at home, I was terrified ‘Stage 3 cancer, what now?’
But 11 years on after surgery and treatment, including a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, I’ve come out the other side feeling stronger and determined to live life to the full. I’m saying ‘yes’ to new opportunities and savouring my second chance.
Breast Cancer Now and the online forum for chat were there for support throughout, and still are if I need them. And believe me I might think ‘I am a Survivor’ I’ve kicked Cancer’s butt, but every now and then life throws a curve ball and makes me stop and think.
Yes… Cancer still affects my life. A pain in the hip which lingers a little too long … and you think ‘Is it back?’ or when your children, who were teenagers at the time, years later finally ask the questions ‘How do you know you’re not going to get it again?’ … ‘Will I get it too?’
Cycle Kenya has reignited a spark in me, at a time when once again I find I’m facing life changing choices. I am a teenager again… 13 years cancer free, in the same year as Women V Cancer’s 10th anniversary, and again having opportunity to fund-raise for charities close to my heart. It’s pretty special. It’s something to shout about.
They say people enter our lives at the right time and I think I was meant to meet Clare at this point in mine... there is a renewed vigour and energy now in life as we both Cycle 4 Lives ~ Leesha
And I thought I was going along to talk about a new website … Two ladies ... Two bikes ... Two ducks … One mission...
It’s October 2019, and I’m a visitor at the newly rebranded ‘Uno’ networking event. Uno being Welsh for ‘unite’ or ‘belong’… a coincidence? Only if you believe in them... I call it synchronicity.
When I delivered a 30 second pitch at the Tiny Rebel brewery in Newport, I never imagined that within a month, a lady accountant, not only would have me signed up for a 5-day 400+ km ride across Kenya, but through our joint passion for cycling and mountain biking, we’d also bring something new to life.
‘Wellbeing’ as we now know it has been part of my life for a long time… not least due to having a mum who was teaching ‘keep fit’ in the 70s, well before Jane Fonda had sprayed on her leggings and thought about taking up aerobics.
Cycle4Lives has been established to raise funds and awareness in support of wellbeing for all… operating as a not for profit, one of our goals is improving the outcomes for those with chronic and terminal illness. A vision that had been sitting on my vision board for a few years… just waiting for the right opportunity!
After listening to Leesha’s inspiring personal story, for me, Cycling across Kenya in 2021 and supporting Women V Cancer was the divine opportunity to bring to life an organisation dedicated to wellbeing… and I can’t think of a better cause to kick it off.
As I write this, much of my own work is focussed on improving wellbeing for Men and Teenage Boys, so I’m delighted to be doing the same for Women’s health by being a part of, and fundraising for, this epic ride ~ Clare