Despite much preparation, Stage 1 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California was cancelled earlier today due to adverse weather conditions. One might think that this would dampen the spirit of cycling fans, but the turnout to today’s Breakaway Mile was not diminished by the inclimate weather. More than 50 cancer survivors, caregivers, advocates and healthcare professionals marched today in honor and support of the fight against cancer.
Today’s Breakaway from Cancer Champion was Stuart Jed, a participant at the Cancer Support Community – San Francisco Bay area. In December 2008, Stuart was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was a candidate for an invasive surgical procedure that was considered the only viable cure. During surgery, metastases to his liver and lymph nodes were found, and his cancer was confirmed Stage IV. The surgeon closed him up and deemed his cancer inoperable. At that point, Stu’s “never say die” attitude took charge and he moved forward with strong determination to and passionate desire to live.
Six months of intensive chemotherapy shrunk the cancer and Stu was offered a second chance at surgery. During this 16-hour operation, the surgeon removed his entire pancreas rendering him an insulin-dependent diabetic. After many months of recuperation, Stu now passionately helps others. He raises awareness and advocates for research and legislation by speaking at local venues and supporting Pancreatic Cancer fundraisers on a national level. Stu meets legislators in Tahoe and Washington, DC to emphasize the need for early detection and research, and he volunteers with The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Recently, Stu helped obtain proclamations to declare November as “Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.”
Grateful to be alive and helping others, Stu’s scans now show no evidence of the disease. His ‘never say die’ attitude is an example of hope and encouragement – traits we hope to see through courageous riders throughout the remainder of the tour.
Many thanks to the volunteers from our affiliate in the San Francisco Bay area for their help in spreading the word about the resources available through CSCand other Breakaway from Cancer partners. We are proud to advocate on behalf of all people impacted by cancer and look forward to an excited Stage 2 ‘Start’ tomorrow!