On this 106th anniversary of Mercy Founders Day, our pilgrim Chris Christian is now on a plane bound for Cleveland, Ohio.
He had originally planned to cycle 1,851 kilometres to raise cancer awareness and honor the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, who left France on September 24, 1851, and sailed to America to care for the orphans and sick of Cleveland and eventually opened Mercy Hospital in Canton.
He ended up doing even more.
After returning to the summit of Sanctuary di Oropa on September 22 – the same place where he began his journey on September 7 – Chris's odometer stopped at 2,014 kilometres. This amounted to one additional kilometre for every year the Sisters of Charity have provided care in the United States. Chris dedicated his final stage of Tour de Mercy his wife Melinda, daughters Annamaria and Grace, and son Denver. He says they've been with him every moment.
Well, that's a wrap. Today [September 22] I rode my Fuji Gran Fondo up to Oropa from a different direction than my first ascent, and that climb brought me to exactly to 2,014 kilometres. What a perfect way to end Tour de Mercy! Now I can't wait to fly home and see everyone!
Prior to his final day's ride, Chris rode from Genoa to the east side of Torino, on to Alessandria, and then back in Biella. During the two-week trip, he lost 13 pounds past two weeks. Tomorrow during our special Italian and French-themed lunch in the Mercy Cafeteria, we hope to help Chris put a little of that weight back on!
What an honor it has been to follow Chris's amazing, once-in-a-lifetime journey. He met his personal goal of remembering all his loved ones who've fought cancer. Will you consider helping him meet his goal for Mercy Cancer Center?
All Chris's trip-related expenses have been paid, so 100% of your donation will benefit Mercy Cancer Center.
More Cancer Tips from Mercy Cancer Center
Direction in Health Care
Chris’s journey was a long one: 2,014 kilometres. Keeping his mind focused on the goal helped him cross that finish line. Many cancer patients also find fatigue and other symptoms can wear down both mind and body during treatment. They endure in part by keeping their focus on the goal of their treatment. Knowing where you’re going is a big part of successfully getting there. All of us, whether cancer patients or not, should have discussions with our doctors about where we are going with our healthcare.
When planning his trip, Chris said “Now is the time.” Being proactive is essential to reaching goals. If you want to stay healthy, now is the time to be proactive. Don’t wait to get cancer screenings. Don’t wait to make healthier lifestyle choices. Don’t put off seeing your doctor about the nagging ache or pain that you’ve been ignoring. Early diagnosis of cancer gives you the best chance of cure. So don’t wait. Now is the time.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Chris’s journey honors the legacy of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, who left France to care for the people of northeast Ohio in 1851. The Sisters stepped out of their comfort zone, and started a whole new life, from which many people have benefited for generations. Stepping out of your comfort zone is challenging, but it also may be necessary for cancer prevention. Does talking about cancer make you uncomfortable? It might. But we can’t raise awareness unless we have the conversation. So follow the example of Chris and the Sisters. Step out of your comfort zone, and talk to your doctor about what measures you need to take to be well.
Honor the Memories
Chris hopes his journey will not only raise awareness, but also honor the memory of those who have lost their battle with cancer. Mercy Cancer Center wishes to take a moment to remember the more than 500,000 people who die from cancer each year. While we mourn their loss, we are also grateful for people like Chris, who have raised cancer awareness. Because of this awareness, funding and improved research have helped the death toll to gradually decrease over the past 20 years. Cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence anymore.
Moved by a desire to give back, Chris’s Tour de Mercy will help raise funds for Mercy Cancer Center. These funds will help many cancer patients with access to cancer care and supportive services. Mercy Cancer Center recognizes that cancer affects every aspect of a person’s life, and in addition to cutting edge treatments, we offer complementary therapies, emotional support, education, and survivor programs to assist cancer patients and their families. Support from people like Chris has helped us to continue to provide quality, holistic care.
Don't Travel Alone
Chris is travelling alone, but he will have the tools he needs to guide him in the right direction. Cancer patients, too, might feel they are traveling alone. But thanks to Mercy’s Cancer Nurse Navigators, they don’t have to. Navigators help guide cancer patients through the dizzying maze that is cancer diagnosis and treatment. We might not be able to bike alongside Chris, but your Cancer Nurse Navigator can walk the cancer path by your side.