le·gion

/ˈlējən/
noun

  1. A formal unit of the roman army comprising several thousand soldiers
  2. A military or semi-military group assembled to combat a common enemy
  3. Any great number of persons or things; multitude

adjective

  1. very great in number

 

Chances are, if you found this site, you are already one of us. You may not be a team rider or team supporter, but you are probably connected to Linnea – or to cancer – in some way or another. It is a sad reality that in this age of medical wonders nearly all of us have a story about cancer. Nearly half of us will be diagnosed with it at some point in our lives. So let me start this blog with my story – up until now.

My first personal experience with breast cancer came several years ago when I learned that my mother, who was then in her late 60s, had been diagnosed. I was terrified. And the tone of my fathers voice was something I had never heard before; he – my dad – was actually scared of something. Over the course of the next two years, though, I came to learn that “cancer” wasn’t one thing and that breast cancer wasn’t necessarily a death sentence. It could be something manageable, if not completely overcome. My mom responded well to treatment and I’m proud to say she is alive and well today.

So, when Linnea found a lump in her breast we were worried but pragmatic. Chances are it was something altogether benign, and even if was cancer….well, breast cancer is manageable, right? Well…that’s what we tell ourselves, but it’s not what we feel. I’ll never forget the night that Linnea learned it was cancer and phoned me to tell me that I needed to come home. I was hours from home, hunched down in the freezing snow at the edge of a clearing, watching the light fade and waiting for a deer to step out of the trees and into my freezer. The screen of my phone lit up with her number in the twilight and my heart sank – I knew she wouldn’t call me at that moment unless it was something truly serious. I tried to answer but the call dropped. I stared blankly into the trees as the last pillars of light drained from the forest and I felt my hopes sinking with them. The drive back to Edmonton seemed like it took forever. I don’t know if I even said a word to the guys the whole time.

And that is where Linnea’s cancer journey, our journey, began. I can’t even begin to count the ups and down, hopes and despairs, that we have encountered along the way. I remember when I heard the words “triple-negative breast cancer” for the first time, and the look on Linnea’s face said it all. If you know Linnea, you know that she had read everything – absolutely everything – she could find about breast cancer online before that first appointment. During treatment there were moments of hope and moments of hell. Tumor shrinking, tumor growing again. Drug changes. Surgery. Radiation. When she finished treatment in 2015 I threw a surprise party for her at our local dog park.

And when Linnea’s cancer came back that winter I felt so stupid for having thrown that party. So naive. Because it felt like a victory party, and it turned out that I couldn’t see the war beyond the battle we had just won.

That war is now our mission. This Legion of amateur athletes has assembled around Linnea to fight for hope. And while she is our masthead we are also fighting for the thousands and thousands of other women around the country who are also fighting triple-negative breast cancer. We ride for all of them.

The money that we raise will go directly cancer research – right here in Canada. Because we do live in an era of medical wonders, and because a major breakthrough could be just around the corner.

Thank you for taking the time to be here. To join us in our mission. Your support – be it financial, in-kind, or emotional – means the world to all of us. The generosity you have shown to Linnea and to this Legion has opened my eyes to the good side of human nature.

Ultimately we are all going to be in the fight against cancer together. And together we can be heroes.

Todd Kemper, Team Captain

Day 1 of treatment. Beautiful and oh so brave.
This is what treatment looks like. Radiation burns.
Home from surgery. That beautiful smile.
Ringing the bell of hope.
Here's a pic for the party I regret throwing...