Pedal the Cause Journey: How SNL Opened My Eyes to the World of Cancer

By Carol Cox
Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Corporate Communication at Life Technologies

”If it wasn’t for the downside, having cancer would be the best thing and everyone would want it.’ That’s true… if it wasn’t for the downside.”                        –Gilda Radner

When I was young, Gilda Radner was one of my favorite comedians on Saturday Night Live (SNL). She seemed to live life to the fullest and made it cool to be a funny woman.  When she died in 1989 at age 42, it was the first time I took notice of ovarian cancer and thought “what an insidious disease.”  Unfortunately it was not my last encounter.

In September of 1997, I received news that no daughter wants to hear. My mom was diagnosed with Stage 3-C ovarian cancer.  If you have had experience with cancer, you immediately know this diagnosis is in most circumstances a death sentence.  Ovarian cancer symptoms are vague and there are often false diagnoses; so was the case with my mom.  Her cancer went undetected for too long and had become so advanced we thought she may only have about six months left to live.  Fortunately, she had a forward thinking and aggressive oncologist who worked closely with her gynecologist for a good outcome.  Following extensive surgery, her doctor was able to enroll her in a clinical trial, which together with more standard treatment, saved her life.  We went from thinking it was the worst case scenario to witnessing a complete recovery.  I am so happy to say 16 years later, my mother is still cancer free.

Carol CoxI have committed myself to ride in Pedal the Cause in honor of my mom’s journey and of how fortunate she was to receive comprehensive treatment.  She would not be with us today had she not had the kind of care and access to the clinical research that she did. I hope  our support throughout this fundraiser can help patients get the same life-saving care my mom had. For me, there is no better way I can show my appreciation than to dedicate my time and energy to this cause.

Pedal the Cause is not just about the event, it’s about the whole journey to get there.  There are so many ways you can get involved and so many ways you can grow.  Becoming involved with Pedal the Cause is an excellent way to develop your network, support your community, get in better shape, and be able to go out and do something fun and rewarding.

Most people have a fear of doing something that’s hard.  For my mom and for Gilda, they had no choice but to face what was hard straight on. It is human nature to be afraid of failure.  I try to remember that when I am scared to fail.  To many of you, riding may sound like a daunting and impossible task.  However, we have an excellent Life Technologies Team Captain as well as our very own Life Technologies USA cycling coach with great team rides planned.  Each ride is organized to help riders of all levels succeed and prepare for the next one.  Soon enough you will find that it gets easier–and even fun!  Just think about how impactful this event will be to our community!

If you don’t want to ride for yourself, ride for someone else.  Anyway you can get involved is a step in the right direction.

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