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If you are on the west coast- you can come out and support the Hearty Girls as they raise awareness about ‪#lungcancer‬ by riding to The Ellen DeGeneres Show




The Ride to Ellen

Posted on August 27, 2015 - 10:20am

Michelle Andersen

“We’re riding to The Ellen Show!"

Why? That’s a good question.

How did I, a retired special education teacher of 38 years, end up planning an extended trip, with bike rides, via motor home from Seattle to Los Angeles?

Strangely enough, it started with a diagnosis of  incurable, neuroendocrine, non-small cell lung cancer, Stage IV, given to me on 11/11/11.  Well, the bike ride plan didn’t start then, but the desire to live life to the fullest, combined with a desire to make a difference, definitely started that day.

To hear that diagnosis … to someone who never smoked… and lived a darn healthy life … was devastating. No more had  I heard the news from the oncologist, when the nurse arrived with my chemo schedule and a wig catalog since I would be losing my hair. And, plenty of anti-nausea medication. And, anti-anxiety pills (though I never had any anxiety). And, supplements to keep my blood levels somewhat normal so they can be destroyed along with the bad stuff.  The prognosis:  3 to 5 years.

So, my journey began. Various rounds of chemotherapy. An argument won to receive radiation. Cancer moving to my lymphnodes. A different chemotherapy. A study drug. Yes! A study drug- combined with a traditional chemo that reduced the cancer significantly. Low platelets. Off the study drug. On another chemo for 15 months now. Almost to my 4-year anniversary.

Throughout this journey, my husband and my family have been beside me every step of the way. They are loving, positive, encouraging, understanding and strong.  My friends have been pillars of strength, humor and encouragement.  My oncologist and all the folks at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance have treated me with the utmost care and concern. They are my cornerstones when I am looking for hope. And, God never ceases to amaze me with his graces. So. indeed, I  am the recipient of many blessings.

And during all this, what could be better than two college buds, Kathy Oliver and Judy Pouley, visiting me regularly and inventing new schemes and ideas such as the Flash Mob and a Ride to Ellen?  The Hearty Girls were now ready to make a difference!

The Hearty Girls came together to create common goals:

To influence the thinking of millions who believe that cancer is self-induced by smoking (1 in every 15 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year and of those, over 50% are non-smokers) ; to increase awareness about lung cancer (lung cancer kills more  people than all the other major cancers combined); and to raise funds for lung cancer research (of all the federal funds given to cancer research, lung cancer receives only 6%!).

These were all shocking facts. And I can tell you that, having been a recipient of a study drug, I know first hand the benefits of research. The Hearty Girls had to spread the word … but how? Through media, of course! And who would be our messenger? Ellen! Of course. We would ride there. Sort of!

We met first with the folks at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance who put us in touch with some lung cancer foundations. LUNGevity was one group who seemed to fit our criteria: a group dedicated to raising funds for only lung cancer research. We shared our idea of a combined road rally and short bike rides along the I-5 corridor with our final destination to be the Ellen Degeneres Show where we could share our story. LUNGevity became our beneficiary and partner in planning the ride.

We will leave Seattle on Thursday, September 17. Our stops include: Portland, OR, Eugene, OR, Ashland, OR, San Francisco, CA and Paso Robbles, CA. We plan to arrive at the Ellen Show on Monday, September 21. Each stop will include a 20-minute rally, media  and a short bike ride. Each event will be videotaped and sent to Ellen via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We are getting closer, Ellen. Get ready!

We have only heard from the folks at Ellen’s Show one time. Their comment, “We tell people they have a one in a million chance of getting on the Ellen Show. We don’t want to get your hopes up, but you might be hearing  back from us.”

We cancer survivors and fighters are used to this kind of message. We don’t always get our hopes up, but we are thrilled when someone gets back to us with good news.

And I can tell you this: having the chance to work on a project such as this boosts my spirit and lessens the burden of all that goes with lung cancer.

We might have a one in a million chance of meeting Ellen, but it’s worth the effort to have a chance to share our story and help make a difference.

We would love to have you all join us for some or all of the ride. If you are near one of the cities we are visiting, please come out and support us and LUNGevity. Tell others about it. Visit us on Facebook: The Hearty Girls-Ride to Ellen.  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Our complete itinerary will be posted on the LUNGevity website. Please tell your friends and join us in ending the myths of lung cancer and raise some funds for research! We need you!



hearty.jpgFollow Michelle Anderson and the Hearty Girls on Facebook and watch their news coverage on KING 

(Photo: KING)

Ride to Ellen schedule and rally information.





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