I'm Pedaling for Penny. My mom, Penny (Stephanie) Randall, passed away 1 year ago from Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
I’m excited to embark on my first PMC, surrounded by the warmth, love, and support that embodied my mom. Pedaling in spirit of my mom’s honor to fund research that will keep others alive just makes sense.
My mom was an avid exerciser and strong supporter of my love of athletics. She swam, walked and/or biked every day – rain or shine. She even logged a mile in the pool the morning she was diagnosed, as her white blood cell count was climbing to dangerous levels. My mom attended all of my races, matches, and games without fail, and took pleasure in cheering (loudly!) from the sidelines. She did the same for my siblings, and more recently for her 6 grandsons. The PMC would be right up her alley.
We all thought she was invincible - her dynamic personality and limitless energy made it hard to believe she would ever leave us. But, AML took her quickly – 6 short weeks, 3 of which she was conscious. During that time, my mom struggled with the fact that she was sapped of energy. Nothing had ever slowed her down. Even then, when she was told by her medical team that moving would help her recovery, my mom barreled through her inertia and nausea – mind-over-matter – doing lunges down the hall of the hospital while she towed her oxygen tank behind her. Nurses were impressed, and we were hopeful.
Sadly and surprisingly to everyone who knew and loved her, my mom didn’t win the battle with AML. Although she was definitely not ready to go, we are all comforted by the fact that my mom spoke freely about her belief that she lived her life the way she wanted to, without any regrets. “Live to live, don’t live to die,” she reminded us. And, that’s my plan – Penny wouldn’t want it any other way.
Although time has made the permanence of her physical absence more real and difficult to manage, the energy she dedicated to living every day, touching others' lives, continues to reverberate. My mom was known for her selflessness (sometime to a fault) and curious ability to be everyone’s “rock." Many miss her warmth, listening ear, epic hugs, and sparkling smiles.
The greatest honor and gift for me would be to be told that I am like my mom – a giver. And, one of the steps I'd like to take in memory of my mom for the 1st anniversary of her passing is to give to cancer research. I am a new and proud supporter of the PMC because it is leading a charge to beat cancer.
I have a feeling that this year’s PMC will be my first of many, and that my mom will be cheering me on!