Writer & Photographer / JJ Kaplan
“Cancer is not contagious. But hope is! Spread the HOPE!” That is exactly what Cindi Hart, founder of Spokes of Hope, wants everyone to understand.
Rolling into Lions Park on Saturday, August 22 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. will be Spokes of Hope’s Indy Charity Bike Ride. As a two-time breast cancer survivor, Cindi and the group have planned a police escort for cancer veterans who will ride bicycles through Zionsville via pathways of cheering supporters, friends and family.
Last year’s event consisted of approximately 200 riders who raised over $5,000 for cancer support. This year’s projection is even higher. All funds raised are applied locally.
When the riders triumphantly reach the finish line, they will rejoice as they ring the bell. This is the celebratory sound that one hears in the hospital when someone has beaten cancer, and they are cleared to return home. The sweet sound of the bell is in honor, memory and celebration of the triumph over cancer, and it is the most beautiful sound in the world!
In 2004, Cindi faced the dreaded news that no one wants to hear…”You have cancer.” The doctor was adept at explaining the medical side of what life would entail. But doctors can only help to a certain degree with limited time to connect on an emotional level to a person facing an uncertain future.
There is a void in how to prepare, what to expect and how others can support you as you begin treatment. Cindi has been through the cancer battle twice, and now she is using her experience to help others.
A nurse by profession, Cindi knew that a DVD educational series would be invaluable to explain things that a doctor cannot. Cindi has compiled a list of questions that the DVD will address, including: “What to pack? Who you will meet? What will happen to your body? What is recovery like? How to manage pain? How to use meditation? What about exercise? How your friends and family can support you?
“And it is filled with treasures of knowledge that explain that chewing gum combats the metallic taste of chemotherapy, talc can prevent sticking to hospital mattresses and squishy pillows help relieve pressure when recovering from a mastectomy.” The entire DVD series is patient-centered, not procedure-centered.
The hope is that the doctor will hand a free DVD to the patient to demystify the emotional journey that lies ahead. Cindi is producing the first series of DVDs that encompass the process of going through breast cancer. She notes, “Not everyone has a computer, but everyone has a DVD player.” She also plans to produce other series, including prostate cancer and other cancers.
How can you help? Plan to come to Lions Park on Saturday morning, August 22. Sign up for a casual ride or one consisting of 31, 62 or 100 mile rides departing at 8 a.m. There will be well-supported food stops and support along the way. Early registration packets can be picked up at Nebo Ridge. Come on out to cheer the survivors and riders.
For more information and to support cancer survivorship, visit spokesofhope.org. You may also enjoy Cindi’s recently published book, “Determined,” which chronicles her journey and triumphs. It is available online at shop.spokesofhope.com/Cancer-themed-books_c9.htm