It’s been eight years, but I still remember my daughter’s first cry as she introduced herself to the world. Cradling six pounds and 14 ounces in my arms, I recall few things more vividly than seeing her for the first time, thinking how weightless she felt – and whispering a silent promise into her ear that I would always protect her from harm.
“Almost a decade later, looking out on a crowd gathered at the Royal B.C. Museum in May for the announcement of the 2013 Cops for Cancer, Tour de Rock team, I see her clapping wildly alongside my son as I am introduced as one of the riders on the tour. I recall feeling how grateful I was for their health because there were parents in that very room shedding tears because their children weren’t so lucky.
After five years of covering the build up to the two-week, 1,000-kilometre ride as a journalist, photographing and writing stories about the riders, volunteers and cancer survivors, those tears still get to me.
Cancer has not yet reached my immediate family. I know I am one of the fortunate few, however, I know there is no guarantee that my good luck will hold out. In fact, I know my fortune thus far is in part because of the ongoing efforts of the Canadian Cancer Society and its supporters, who selflessly donate time and finances to the research that has improved the odds of keeping cancer away and helped those diagnosed with the deadly disease stay healthier longer.
There is no cure for the many types of cancer, so more work needs to be done, but one day there will be. I don’t know when – maybe not in my lifetime – but I know it will happen. I train believing that every pedal stroke and kilometre we ride as a team today will take us that one pedal stroke and one kilometre closer to finding the cure. Many days it is the only thing that keeps me going, as fatigued legs scream out at me to stop.
I can’t stop, because I made a promise, the same one millions of parents have made before me – and one any mother or father would lay down their life to keep. I ride because cancer is a formidable opponent that doesn’t make promises, it breaks them. And one day, the parent robbed of the ability to keep their promise to their child could be me.
Arnold Lim is one of 21 riders on the 2013 Cops for Cancer, Tour de Rock. Representing Black Press on the ride, his column will be appearing every two weeks through the end of the tour. To donate to his fundraising campaign visit www.copsforcancerbc.ca/tourderock/arnoldlim or visit his Tour de Rock Facebook page at www.facebook.com/arnoldlimtourderock and follow him on Twitter at @arnoldlimphoto.