Amgens Breakaway from Cancer Champion #43

So, I got home from NYC on a Staurday night and the next morning I had to leave for Portland, OR. I was there for a Patient Advocacy seminar. I love Portland! Always a good time there! ūüôā

Got home from Portland on a Tuesday and then I left for L.A. for the Amgens Breakaway from Cancer Champion Ceremony. When NPAF (National Patient Advocacy Foundation) called to ask if they could nominate me, I didn’t fully understand what I said “Yes” to. After a little research it dawned on me this was a big deal.

It takes a team of support to fight cancer much like it takes a team during a cycling race. One person from that team will break away and win the fight but to get there the team must support them. The nationwide search was for people who have inspired others from their caregiving, to fighting to advocating.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.,¬†May 12, 2015¬†/PRNewswire/ —¬†Amgen (NASDAQ:¬†AMGN) today announced the 10¬†Breakaway from Cancer¬ģChampions selected from a nationwide search for survivors, patients, caregivers and advocates who have inspired those affected by cancer. These extraordinary individuals will join breast cancer survivor and Honorary¬†Breakaway from Cancer¬†Champion¬†Joan Lundenat the final stage of the 10th¬†edition of the Amgen Tour of¬†California, America’s largest and most prestigious professional cycling race.

While at the Amgen Tour of¬†California, each Champion will be recognized for the positive and inspirational impact they have made in their communities at a reception on¬†May 16¬†and at the¬†Pasadena¬†overall finish of the race on¬†May 17. They and a guest will watch the race near the finish line in¬†Pasadena¬†and will also participate in the “Breakaway Mile,” a special walk along the race course to honor the millions of cancer survivors worldwide.

During Lunden’s recent battle with breast cancer, she committed herself to educating women about the importance of screening and early detection. Through her advocacy, she inspired others to protect their own health. Lunden opened up to the public about her personal journey with the hopes that she could offer support and inspiration and provide a better understanding of the cancer treatment process. Her newest book about her battle with breast cancer, entitled¬†Had I Known,¬†will be released this Fall.

“What a thrill to join Amgen’s 10¬†Breakaway from Cancer¬†Champions at the 10th¬†Amgen Tour of¬†California¬†professional bike race,” said Lunden. “It means so much to me to have the opportunity to share their stories and to help bring awareness to the resources available to those impacted by cancer.”

The 2015 Breakaway from Cancer Champions are:

Shelby Marie Adams, Cancer Survivor/Advocate,¬†Reno, Nev.¬†‚ÄstDuring her second breast cancer diagnosis and prompted by the financial reality of her overall cancer journey,¬†Shelby Marie Adams¬†launched into the role of an advocate. Adams could not understand why certain treatments were covered by insurance and others were not. She shared her story with Congress in hopes of passing the Oral Parity Bill and, sensing she could do more, she joined Project Innovation, which encourages the acceleration of medical treatment for cancer patients. She also distributes a “chemo kit” filled with useful items to cancer patients at a local support group. Adams has plans to create a 501c3 nonprofit organization to distribute the “chemo kits.”

Above was the announcement of the 10 champions chosen from 4900 nominees. Joan Lunden was on the panel of judges and I was chosen as one of the champions! Me and my guest, Michelle, were flown to LA. They put us in the JW Marriott LA Live Complex. We were next to the Staples Center and Nokia Theatre. We got there on Friday May 15th.  We had a nice dinner and hung out, our room was beautiful and we had a great view. Saturday morning we went to the Grammy Museum which was really cool!

Our schedule was a meet and greet with Joan Lunden and Patrick Dempsey from 5:00-6:00 and then a cocktail hour before our award ceremony at 8:00 until 1100. Michen and I spent the afternoon primping. LOL! I was really nervous meeting Patrick Dempsey while Miche was excited to meet Joan Lunden. I have given Grey’s Anatomy a decade of my life and was really pissed when he was written off! I have been a fan of his movies for a long time. Miche grew up watching Joan!

miche, joan and i

We are VERY excited!

Miche representing my supprt system

Champions with their nominating person

Champions with their nominating person

So, we met downstairs with everybody else, the other 9 champions and their guests. It was such a pleasure to meet everyone and we have since bonded! ¬†We walked over to the Grammy Museum, up the elevator, doors open and there’s Patrick Dempsey! and he is sooo handsome! He and Joan were being interviewed and recorded. You can see some of that interview on Joan Lunden’s new internet channel Alive!

We all personally met Patrick and Joan and took lots of pictures. Joan pulled me aside and asked me to interview for her channel. She said they were very interested in my chemo kits and wanted to help me get them up and running. So I did do an interview which was very hard to do. I was really nervous and didn’t know what to say. It was still cool though. Patrick is so easy to talk to and so is Joan! ¬†Our meet n greet ran over and we had little time to get another cocktail before were ushered to the dinner spot. Seats were already arranged and fortunately Miche and I were sitting with Patrick! WOO-HOO! The champions were brought on stage and Joan introduced us. Patrick held my hand walking down the steps ūüôā

me and patrick

Joan and I

Joan and I

Dinner was delicious from Wolf Gang Puck, ZD Winery provided all of the wine and even had Carl Withers present it. I sat with Patrick and we talked, he held my hand, loved my bald head and kissed my cheek several times when he got pulled away. He is so easy going and smells just as good as he looks!

Talking With Patrick Dempsey

Talking With Patrick Dempsey

After Dinner

After Dinner


The next morning Miche and I watch the cyclists leave the LA Live Complex and we hopped on a shuttle to the The Rose Bowl in Pasadena where the finish line was. I got a little sick on the shuttle trip there and had to stick my head out the window lol! Then I got to see my family! My Uncles, Aunties and Cousins all met me there to watch and be VIP members of the race day!

Once we got to the Rose Bowl, I introduced Miche to my family and then I got pulled in every direction. We had pictures over here for People, Sports Illustrated and various other magazines and articles then we had media interviews after that on this side of the road and then we were introduced on stage again at the finish line and then finally we got to eat and rest for a minute. I was starving. The VIP tents were amazing with mimosa’s and breakfast burritos, fruit and all kinds of food and snacks.

Amgen Stage 8 Finish Line

Amgen Stage 8 Finish Line

Patrick Photo Bomb

Patrick Photo Bomb

More of my support system. So happy they could be there!

More of my support system. So happy they could be there!

I finally got to hang a little bit with my family. I am so happy they could be there and I hope they had a great time! We watched the cyclists and I chatted with Joan and Patrick more. It was almost time for us to go and I looked at my Unkie and said I didn’t feel very good, I was dizzy. He immediatly got me to sit but I was so dizzy and light headed and I was nauseous. This came on so quickly! We poured water over my head to cool me down and I got sick once, it was awful. I was so dizzy I couldn’t walk to get to the medic tent only to find out there wasn’t one. So after many people freaking out my Unkie and Auntie and Miche decided just to take me to the ER about 5 minutes away. The hospital looked like a spa, it was beautiful. Turns out I was REALLY dehydrated. No wonder after having been dragged around all mornin in the hot sun, up late the night before, a week in NYC and then Portland. My body was very upset at me. Unfortuantely, we missed out flight home but Amgen graciously paid for another night at the hotel and made all of the arrangments for our flight the next day.

We got home late Monday night and poor Miche had to work the next day. I had to get chemo thus ending a long and very busy 2 weeks! It was truly an honor to be nominated by NPAF. I am shocked to be included with such an amazing group of individuals making a difference in their medical communities.

“It’s Never Too Late to Have A Happy Childhood.” – Tom Robbins

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