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Finding My Happy Place

At age 33, just five months after I gave birth to my second child, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I found Young Survival Coalition (YSC) while searching online for resources specifically for young women with breast cancer, and this discovery changed my life in many ways.

I noticed YSC’s three-day bike ride, Tour de Pink® (TdP) and eagerly signed up for the challenge to ride the East Coast route in 2012. In the first year, my team included my sister-in-law and my breast surgeon, and we raised $8,707 for YSC. My team has since grown to over 15 riders!

Life threw me a curveball when I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in February 2013. Despite actively undergoing chemotherapy, I continued to work-full time and train for Tour de Pink. In 2014, I also became a YSC State Leader to help spread the word about breast cancer in young women, especially to Chinese populations. That October at TdP, I accomplished something on my bucket list – riding a century (100 miles) on day two and a total of 250 miles over the three days.

Over the 2014 Christmas break, I found out my breast cancer has metastasized to my brain. I had my brain surgery on the day I turned 41 and less than three weeks later, I got back on my bicycle – my happy place.

I credit YSC and TdP with saving my life. At my weakest moment in 2012, I found TdP and ever since then, the cause, the ride, and the friendships I have made have kept me behind two wheels and, as a result, active and healthy. When I am having my treatment and feeling pain, I go to my “happy place” mentally on the hills of Pennsylvania, the smells of fresh air, the views of the Amish laundries, and the laughter of my teammates! I believe the best way to take control over my cancer fight is through exercise. Let’s be honest, it is not easy to find a sport that people with metastatic cancer can do. I am so thankful to YSC for these experiences, and for the ability to connect with people all across the United States.

Ishiuan Hargrove, YSC Tour de Pink Rider