Be inspired by Paul Chapman
In July, 2007 Paul Chapman’s life took a drastic turn as his journey with cancer began. Three weeks after doctors removed his brain tumour, Paul heard words that no one should ever hear. His pathology was completed and his tumour was diagnosed as a Glioblastoma multiforme, the highest grade of brain cancer at level four. His doctors predicted he had six to 12 months left to live.
“I was in complete shock,” he recalls. He couldn’t imagine being without his two young girls and loving wife, therefore, Paul fell into a depression for two weeks.
“I realized that I had a choice, to give up and die, or fight,” he says. “There was never any doubt as to what I would do. I told the doctors I would live and did everything possible to make this happen.”
With his positive attitude that never wavered, Paul underwent 30 days of radiation and a total of seven cycles of chemotherapy. In addition, he joined to Brain Tumour Support Group at the BC Cancer Agency, which offered him not only support, but inspiration that he could beat the disease.
“At the Brain Tumour Support Group I met a man who had the same tumour as me but had lived for eight years. That gave me great hope that I could do the same.”
Now in remission, Paul does what he can to give back, including speaking at the Brain Tumour Support Group to offer inspiration to those who now fill the spot that he once did. Last June, Paul took on another great challenge; he took part in the inaugural Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation. With his team of eight Brainiacs, who raised an amazing $38,000 for cancer research and care, Paul was overwhelmed by his experience:
“The camaraderie was truly spectacular, over 1,700 people plus countless volunteers. I was so thrilled to participate in this ride.” Paul was so impressed with his experience that he signed up for the 2010 Ride to Conquer Cancer before the first day was even finished.
So thankful that he was given a second chance at life, Paul is dedicated to fighting cancer: “It currently touches too many lives and together we are doing something about it.”
Train with Greg Pallone
Greg Pallone is all too familiar with cancer. After being diagnosed with colon cancer six years ago, Greg underwent treatments and a year later was declared cancer-free. Unfortunately, that wasn’t Greg’s last brush with cancer; currently, his mother is battling breast cancer.
To celebrate five years of life without cancer, Greg wanted to do something significant to mark the occasion, but also to give back. He came across an advertisement for the Ride to Conquer Cancer and knew it was the perfect fit for him.
“I'm a cancer survivor and made myself a promise to do something big for the BC Cancer Foundation, as everyone I encountered in my battle against cancer, was selfless and compassionate,” states Pallone. “ I wanted to acknowledge them publicly and The Ride seemed like the best means. Also, as I was once a road racer in my youth, it was a good reason to get back on the bike.”
Due to the fact that Pallone works a demanding full-time job and only had a few months to prepare for the 2009 Ride, his training involved a focus on hill climbs during the week and long 60K to 80K rides on the weekends. He believes that for him, the key was to increase intensity gradually and then taper off about a week before the ride. “Although, I've tried to stay fit through my 30's and 40's, I was also used to training for races so I just pulled one of old workouts out of a dusty file I had in an old box of my racing memories,” says Pallone. “What's different now of course is that I have a full time high pressure job and a family. The support I received from my firm, my clients and family made sticking to the goal much easier. I was lucky.”
Pallone may have had his initial fears of the Ride, but after a couple of pit stops he realized that he could do this at his own pace and that he would never run out of enough water or food to complete the ride. He also recalls the camaraderie that the Riders felt, whether it be offering support up a difficult hill, or aiding in the changing of a tire. “The Ride is not a race and isn't intended to be a race so the attitude of Riders is refreshing in comparison to what I'm used to on the circuit,” recalls Pallone. “Anyone can do this Ride in fact, I was so excited about it that by the time I got to camp at the end of day one, I registered for 2010!”
Pallone describes the completion of The Ride as being amazing. Although he felt stronger and leaner by the day of the ride, it wasn’t until afterward that he noticed the biggest change. “I dropped a total 11l bs from the day I started training to about a week after The Ride was over,” he says. “I think the ride allowed me to break through a fitness barrier I must have been experiencing at the time and what a fun and meaningful way to get fit?”
With the combination of the rewarding fitness accomplishments and the friendships made during the event, Pallone feels that The Ride to Conquer Cancer certainly made a lasting impression on him.
“The Ride staff did such a great job of making every rider feel special. From the start line to the wind-up party at the finish, it was a memorable experience.”