Dec. 26, 2010

"Give this Christmas away!"

"You have the power to give someone hope far beyond their wildest dreams [...] If there’s love in your heart don’t let it stay there [...] your life will be changed by the gifts you receive when you give this Christmas away![...]It’s doing what love does even when no one’s watching you."

This Christmas I was fortunate enough to experience this first hand with the help of four of my lovely Twisters... it made my holidays a Christmas to remember & cherish! Thanks to Marie for sharing this video!

Dec. 22, 2010

Ride with Larry "If you love life - you'll fight for it"

Sometimes I have a hard time getting motivated to head out for a bike ride... it's never because of bad weather (let's face it: if you're living in the northwestern part of Germany, you learn early on in life that there's no bad weather, there's only wrong clothing), but sometimes my shoulder problems and/or spine injury make it difficult to ride.

Today, I stumbled upon a short video that promotes a feature length documentation about Larry Smith from Vermillion, South Dakota. Here's what the website says about Larry:

"Larry
, an avid cyclist and beloved small-town baker will bike across South Dakota with the support of his family and community to show the power of keeping your body active and mind positive, proving that the best cure is living life to its fullest."

"The film follows Larry during his quest to bike across his state, pushing his limits and expanding the boundary of possibilities for those with Parkinson's. With this bike ride and documentary film, we hope to raise awareness and de-stigmatize Parkinson's disease while inspiring all those diagnosed, their family, friends, and caretakers." (from: http://vimeo.com/15533022)

He certainly managed to inspire me and thinking about Larry will help me the next time I'm getting on my bike... despite the challenges and pain!

Ride with Larry (trailer) from Ride with Larry on Vimeo.

Dec. 19, 2010

Cancer doesn't discriminate...

Cancer doesn't discriminate:
  • it attacked the body of a young woman in highschool, who had to fight for her life and worry about insurance, instead of worrying about "teen" issues,
  • it killed a two-year-old boy, who'll never get the chance to experience all that life has to offer,
  • it attacked the body of a young mom, who, instead of enjoying the first months with her newborn baby, had to go through chemo and radiation, worrying about work, financial challenges, and whether or not she'd be there long enough to take care of her baby girl,
  • it killed a beautiful socialite & charity lady who was battling skin cancer for a 2nd time,
  • it continues to attack friends who are facing ongoing cancer scares, biopsies, excisional surgery & cancer treatments,
  • it killed several relatives and loved ones,
  • it made my Soul Sister an extremely competent and caring co-survivor by attacking and killing her loved ones,
  • it attacked a young man who should be able to concentrate on getting his doctorate degree, instead of spending weeks on end at the hospital and getting way too educated in everything cancer-related,
  • it tries (and continuously fails) to get the best of a friend who's one of the bravest person I've ever met, and who deserves to concentrate on her recovery and education without having to worry about any more cancer scares,
  • cancer attacked 2 year old Finn, who, despite going through radiation, surgery & chemo and losing one of his kidneys in the process, is still alive and thriving,
  • it will kill two good friends in the next weeks or months, it will leave children without their fathers/mothers. It will leave loving partners without their soul mates,
  • it might attack/kill a friend of yours, a colleague, a relative, a role-model.
Cancer doesn't care about your sex, race, religion, age or sexual orientation!
Cancer doesn't care if you're in school, unemployed, earn minimum wage or have a well-paid job!
Cancer doesn't care if you're suffering from a "good" cancer ("just" skin cancer or "just" thyroid cancer) or a cancer type that is difficult to treat. It will prove to you that there's nothing "just" about any type of cancer!

If that's not reason enough to get you involved in the fight against cancer, I assume nothing will. Everyone can make a difference and spread hope to the 28 Million around the globe who are living with cancer right now. If you'd like to support my LIVESTRONG fundraising, please message me, and I'll let you know how you can donate (every cent adds up, so don't be shy to donate a smaller amount).

Sep. 7, 2010

Being a "domestique" for Team LIVESTRONG

Last year, my LIVESTRONG fundraising came along like a dream: I found a potential sponsor, who pledged a lot of money if we ever made it to the $5,000 level, lots of friends and friends-of-friends stepped in (as did said sponsor) and together we raised almost $4500 for LIVESTRONG! In cycling terms, I was part of a breakaway group who almost made it to a stage win.

This year, it's a lot tougher on different levels, so you might call me a "domestique" (for those non-cyclists of you, it's a cyclist who works for the benefit of the team, not for his own aspirations;-)

Once again, cancer is bothering some of my friends/loved ones, which makes the commitment even more personal and thus emotional for me. Secondly, I will be back on the bike (some call it my comeback season, which I absolutely love... feels like I were a pro cyclist ;-) for the Austin Challenge in October after almost 2 years of spine and shoulder issues. Never mind too many doctor visits... I WILL be riding the 45 miles and I WILL cross the finish line to receive my yellow rose! The road has become the journey more than ever. Getting to Austin was and will be a challenge.

I couldn't have made it this far without the help and support of good friends, who were kind enough to support my fundraising and/or who continue to cheer me up whenever I need a good laugh.

I couldn't have made it past the $1000 fundraising mark without people who have been pestered by cancer and who believe in my "comeback ride". I'll ride the Austin Challenge in honor/support/memory of a long list of friends and their cancer heroes, just because I can, while others cannot.

This year, it's becoming very clear that sometimes it's not about trying to raise $5,000 for a very worthy cause (although I wished I'd get there ;-). It's not about an ego to reach a certain fundraising level! I am and always have been a team player. I'm a member of a team of FANTASTIC fundraisers, some of whom will make the "Ride for the Roses" level again this year.

So for me, this year will be about riding because others can't, thriving after a long period of pain, making it to an AMAZING weekend and meeting LIVESTRONG friends (both old and new ones). It'll be about a bike ride... a 5k walk... and most of all about cheering for others, celebrating survivors, encouraging warriors and remembering angels!

I might not be a big fundraising success-story this year, but I'm still proud of what I achieved... and very humbled to have friends who support me. You guys are the best!!!!!

With 28 Millions around the globe fighting cancer right now, we need to remember that it can be YOUR personal fight in the blink of an eye!

Cancer does not discriminate against age, race, social class, income, education, gender, or sexual orientation. That's why I'll continue to ride, walk, raise money and fight with the attitude of a true
domestique ... supporting Team LIVESTRONG so that others won't have to fight this cancer beast.


Thanks for reading!

Jul. 10, 2010

Introducing HOPE (finally: the start of my comeback season)

Today has been a very special day for me, and I admit I got a bit teary-eyed along the way. This is why:

After a long hiatus from cycling (due to some injuries, including a spine injury, and some health problems), today marks the start of my "comeback season" that will hopefully result in me taking part in this year's Austin LIVESTRONG Challenge in October.

If it weren't for an amazing group of friends and complete strangers, who believed in random acts of kindness to help me out, I would be training on a city bike or in the gym. But because of this group of people, I get to ride on my beautiful bike HOPE :

Whenever times get tough or the road seems to be a bit too challenging, knowing I received this bike because of their tremendous generosity, keeps me motivated and inspired.

A very big thank you:
  • Scott Joy
  • Leslie Hughes
  • Brenda Sherer
  • John Conley
  • Dan Manco
  • Annemieke
  • last, but definitely not least: the awesome cancer crushers Jamie Lindsay and CARRIE Courtney (and whoever might have been involved behind the scenes ;-)

Today also showed me that whatever challenges I have to face, I'm not alone in this fight and there are numerous people who aren't as lucky as I am. So, I decided to dedicate my bike rides to people who are an inspiration to those involved in the GLOBAL fight against cancer and who might not be able to ride themselves. I'll start with my soul sister Kate's dad and grandma, as well as my friend Jenny, who's crushing brain cancer right about now!

































I'm riding for them, but as you can see, there's still plenty of room on my bike, so if you'd like me to include names of loved ones who you'd like to honor/support/remember, let me know and I'll add them. A donation to my LIVESTRONG fundraising page (http://austin2010.livestrong.org/henrike) would be very much appreciated.
For a $10 donation I'll send you a card with the bike decal from the Austin Challenge in October.

Thanks again for all your support and kind words these past couple of years. It's much appreciated!

May 27, 2010

I ride for...


The winners of the #IRideFor campaign have been announced, and can you believe it? Team Radio Shack will ride for my friends Jenny & Shorty in this year's Tour de France. A big THANK YOU to everyone who cheered for us. I wouldn't have made it to the Top 100 without your cheers!

Winners of the Virtual Tour of California: http://www.livestrongaction.org/ride/about

This is who I ride for (and yes, you can briefly see me crossing the finish line of the 2008 LIVESTRONG Challenge with Jenny):