Moxie Cycling recently announced a collaboration with the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. In the fall, we will be releasing a limited-quantity jersey with a percentage of profits going directing back to HCF to help them in their amazing efforts.
At Little Red Riding Hood 2014, we asked fans to stop by our booth, design a jersey and share their story with us. We were truly touched by the amazing stories of strength and love pouring out onto the design boards.
We followed up with many of the artists in hopes to share their story and bring greater awareness of the effects of cancer and the unbelievable strength of the human spirit.
This is Jonni’s story…
I am 45 years old, married to my best friend, Brad for 22 years. I have 3 kids, Abigail 17, Nathan 13, and Catherine 7. I love to cook, read, hike, and dream about biking Yellowstone National Park with my family. (We just went there as a family this summer for the first time, and I intend to bike that Park someday!) I work as a Volunteer Coordinator for a local hospital. I love my job. I am inspired by those that give their time and energy to make the lives of others more extraordinary.
In October 2013, I scheduled my routine mammogram. I was three months behind schedule, but what is a working mom supposed to do? My wonderful technologist mentioned that there was something that was showing up, but not to get concerned. I would probably be called back for a diagnostic mammogram, which I was. This led to a biopsy, which led to my cancer diagnosis – DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma Insitu) in the right breast. Stage 1.
What was your initial reaction?
Shock. We have no family history of any kind of cancer in my family. It was surreal for the first couple days. I found out the day I was volunteering at the Huntsman Gala in November 2013. I just remember thinking that this wasn’t going to stop me living my life. I was going to continue to do what I wanted to do.
Brad & I were very quiet with my diagnosis. We wanted to wait until we had some answers. It seemed like forever while we had this test done, and then we had to wait for the results, which then led to another test, and then another wait. It is hard to know you have cancer, and that there is something inside you, possibly killing you, and then you move at a snail pace while you make decisions. Which is why I just didn’t want to pop Cancer onto my loved ones, and not have any answers for them. I did need some support, and so I told a few close friends. It was hard to tell my children. I don’t think that they were totally reassured by my guarantees that everything would work out.
I had a mastectomy in December, which after tissue examination/biopsy it was determined that my treatment would only consist of hormone therapy for 5 years. I was very lucky. I had reconstruction in March. This was the hardest physical thing I have gone through with my breast cancer experience.
During your treatment, where did you find your strength and moxie?
I found it in the deepest corners of my soul. Sometimes life hands you something, hard, and you know it isn’t fair. It isn’t. But while you are lying in a hospital bed in the middle of the night, and you look over and see someone you love sitting next to your bed, slumped over trying not to sleep, you realize that this may be happening to you, but it isn’t about you. This experience doesn’t define your life. Your life is about your relationships, and what you do for others. I knew that I had to fight and be strong for those people in my life that needed me, and truly loved me.
Who or what provided the most inspiration for you during treatment?
My daughter Abi did. When we realized that I wasn’t going to be able to participate in the “Little Red Ride” this past June, she said she would ride my bike for me. 100 Miles. I would see her on my bike, which is a little small for her, and she was just so strong, and willing to go through the pain of training for this ride, for me. I just felt that I could push myself, when I saw her push herself outside of her comfort zone.
Did exercise or activity play any role in your mental strength?
Yes it did. I clearly remember getting out of my hospital bed to make the first rounds around the hospital floor, after the mastectomy. I knew I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other. After my reconstruction it was so much harder. I couldn’t stand straight for about 2 weeks, and standing up for very long really exhausted me. But I had to keep moving. I had to keep progressing. It was the only way I was going to get better. We kept my bike in the house during my recovery. As I would walk the circle in my house I would pass my bike and touch the seat. I wanted to get back on there as soon as I could.
Has your battle with cancer changed your perspective on life in any way?
My experience has taught me that I have to let go of the control I think I have in my life. I have been thankful for this experience, this journey. I see things differently. I appreciate my life, and the blessings I have been given. My relationships are truer. My passions are different. My path is clearer. I am changed forever.
Do you have any advice for other women currently battling cancer?
A dear friend told me that when Cancer touches your life, whether it is you personally or someone you know, you are never, ever the same. But you have the choice to choose whether or not to make it a positive experience. The experience and journey is different for everyone. The statistics and the diagnosis may be the same as someone else, but the experience is all your own. So don’t listen to the stories of others. Make your story and experience all your own.