Friday, April 12, 2013

Hero Worship

This post has nothing to do with swimming, cycling or running. It has nothing to do with nutrition, key workouts or cool rides or other observations on sport. But it has everything to do with life. It has everything to do with resolve. It has everything to do with mental toughness. It has everything to do with character. Because without all those things - then what is sport? What is life? What matters?

This is my little sister Kirsten - or 'Kee' as we call her. 'Kee' is actually not short for Kirsten. It's short for Quiche, which is her other nickname - and that's a longer story.

I love this picture. It was taken years and years ago, but it's timeless. I keep it on a shelf in our office, and every time I see it, it makes me smile. Because I love my sister in that deep way that a big brother always loves his little sister. That protective way - even though growing up with 4 boys around her - I can assure you she doesn't need protection.

A few years back Kirsten was diagnosed with cancer. Just writing that makes my eyes tear up. It makes me angry. I want to find Cancer and say, "Who the f*ck are you that you dare come near my little sister?" My sister doesn't smoke. She stays in shape. She eats healthy. There was no valid reason for it to happen to her.

But cancer doesn't care. It's random. It's indiscriminate. It doesn't care if your a good person or a bad person. It doesn't care how many people love you dearly. It just is.

But - this particular story has a happy outcome. My sister went through treatment and has since been cancer free. She got married last summer to a great guy, surrounded by her loving family and friends. And she's happy.

And although the strength in which she fought the disease was reason enough for me to admire her, it's what she did afterwards that really put her into 'Hero' status for me.

When she was going through chemo, she lost all her hair. And I know that hurt her deeply. I know that she felt self-conscious about how she looked during that time. But so you know what she did with those feelings?

She put together a time-lapse of the private pictures she took of herself while her hair was growing back and she shared them to the world. She didn't put cancer in the rear view mirror just because her fight was done. She reached out to help others in a selfless way using her talents as a producer and story-teller in film.

When I watch this video, I cry. I cry because I feel helpless to help the girl in the pictures that I grew up with. But mostly I cry because I'm so very happy to have my little sister in my life. And I cry because she is an amazing human being - and I am lucky to know her, and be inspired by her.

Here's to you my wonderful sister - Kee.

PS: If you want to share this video with someone that you think might be helped by this, here is the URL of the video to send them:

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