"It seems wrong to me that the people we lose give us such strength and encourage us to be better people, if not for us, for them."
One of the things about being a cancer survivor is that you meet and are influenced by amazing, incredible people. The shame of it is that, sometimes, you lose them. So it is with Collin, a two-year-old boy that I never met. I never met his family. But, in the best sense of the word, I knew them.
I found an online community for cyclists when I first got started, and found a place where people talk about cycling, but just as often discuss life. It's ups and downs, the trials and tribulations of family and relationships. Phil came on one day and asked us to pray for his family, and especially for his son, who had Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The people of the board rallied, and Collin became a focal point for discussions, for fundraisers to fight childhood cancer, for joining together to beat the disease he and his family were battling so courageously.
Phil gave us updates and we would all anxiously read them, poring over them for signs that Collin was winning. He would get a rash and go back to the hospital and we would groan. Collin's fight had, in many ways, become our fight.
Last year, I dedicated a significant portion of my ride to Collin and his family. There were times when it got tough, and Collin reminded me that it wasn't really tough. There were a couple of times when I wasn't sure I would make it. Collin's courage, his fight, reminded me that I would.
Collin is done fighting. It's not because he quit, because he had no quit in him. And now he is in a better place, a place with no pain, and no fear, and no tubes, and no needles, and no worry. Just an endless supply of love, and the promise that one day we'll get to see him and we'll be able to give him a hug and say thank you for sharing your life with us, even if it was just for one brief, amazing moment.
I miss you, brother, and my prayers are with you and your family.