We introduced ourselves around the table.
The truth became clear long before the circle was complete: not one person gathered in the Ladysmith and District Credit Union boardroom that warm summer night had escaped the gnawing monster that is cancer.
It was Misty’s story that pierced us most.
Misty Dmytar, a 39-year-old Nanaimo RCMP officer, a young Ladysmith mother of two, will ride this September with the Tour de Rock.
A little more than two years ago, just four days after he was welcomed into this world, her son Griffyn was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
Only parents could imagine the fear. Only parents like Misty and her partner can understand the fight. But children like Griffyn were why we were there and why we are writing this.
We are the 2013 Ladysmith Tour de Rock Committee.
By now, 15 years after the first foot hit the pedal, the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock is a familiar tradition in Ladysmith and along Vancouver Island.
Most know it as a fundraiser for pediatric cancer research and programs for children with a history of cancer.
Many have and will continue to support it just for the idea of creating more smiles at places like Camp Goodtimes, where kids with cancer get to be just kids for a week.
These supporters are heroes, the type of heroes that are the bedrock of small communities everywhere — real communities like ours.
We are asking you to be heroes again, and to perhaps share heroes of your own in the process.
Our committee has several fundraising events planned between now and Sept. 30. The first is taking shape on the walls of the LDCU parking lot.
The Wall of Heroes is a mural painted by Kelly Everill. Paid for by the LDCU, it details a scenic view of trees and a path near a rock wall. This rock wall symbolizes the support of friends, neighbours and family that helps us cope with cancer. It will form the bedrock of the fundraising portion of the mural.
For a donation to the campaign, anyone can have the name of their cancer hero painted on the wall.
“Hero” can be defined by you. We are not limiting it to young or old, to survivors or those who have passed, to cancer victim or caregiver.
The name of your cancer hero will be added in September and will be revealed Sept. 30, around 2 p.m., when the Tour de Rock rides into town.
My cancer hero was a hero in life and in death. She lived with cancer for more than five years and rarely, if ever, complained. She was a positive influence on so many people’s lives before and after she was diagnosed — while she lived and still to this day.
Who is your cancer hero?
—By Chronicle publisher Teresa McKinley, a member of this year’s Tour de Rock Committee. To participate in the Wall of Heroes, visit the Ladysmith and District Credit Union office and make a minimum contribution of $50.