Greg Henderson (NZL) of Sky Procycling took the stage 3 win of the Amgen Tour of California earlier today, but his triumph was perhaps overshadowed by another’s courageous victory. Prior to the stage finish in Modesto, breast cancer survivor Leona Delos Reyes participated in a Breakaway Mile walk as the Stage 3 Breakaway from Cancer Champion, an honor for which she was selected due to her extensive involvement in the Modesto cancer community as an active volunteer, fundraiser and inspiration. Leona’s family along with 150 community members – cancer survivors, patients, caregivers and advocates – proudly joined her in celebration of the millions of cancer survivors living in the United States and around the world.
Twenty-one years ago Leona Delos Reyes was diagnosed with breast cancer and began a journey. Now in the sixth stage of this journey, she is battling liver and bone cancer. Leona continues to fight and finds peace in serving and inspiring others. She has been involved with the Modesto cancer community since her diagnosis, originally as a volunteer with Reach to Recovery. At the 2007 Relay for Life in Modesto, she received the Patient Courage Award. In five years, she and her team, Umbrellas of LUV, have raised more than $80,000 to support Relay for Life. A friend says that no matter what she is going through, Leona always puts others ahead of herself. “Each person who meets Leona is able to see the passion she has for finding a cure so that the world can break away from this horrible disease.”
Yet another courageous effort was demonstrated today by Jan Barta (CZE) of Team NetApp, who was awarded the Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider jersey after battling strong head and crosswinds for a good portion of the race. “The wind took all my strength today,” said Barta. “It wasn’t the rain that was difficult because it wasn’t that cold. It was the headwind that was by far the toughest thing we faced today. At the end, everybody was tired because it was a long stage and we didn’t have enough strength left.”
Earlier in the afternoon, Breakaway from Cancer partners and volunteers were delighted to welcome Luis Molina and Ed Katen, Mayors of Patterson and Newman, CA, respectively, to the Breakaway tent at the Modesto Finish. Mayor Molina noted instances of cancer among members of his own family and commended the Cancer Support Community and other Breakaway from Cancer partners for addressing the needs of people impacted by cancer in California and beyond.
To access Breakaway from Cancer resources or learn more about the partnership, visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com – and be sure to stay tuned throughout the Amgen Tour of California for more stories of the courage and inspiration demonstrated by cancer survivors and advocates at each stage of the race!