(sixth in a series)

Mari is my sister. She survived cancer and every day I pray that it doesn’t come back. Sometimes I really worry. She’s an artist and a super creative teacher and funny as hell, but she is a moody Philo so I pray that she stays positive, stays cancer free. Let the light, shine on!

I am proud to ride for Mari. Thanks, Joan!

Philo girls rock!

(fifth in a series)

My mom, Lee Crews, was a two-time cancer survivor. She underwent two mastectomies (about 10 years apart) but survived cancer with chemotherapy. She passed away of congestive heart failure, not related to her cancer, about 10 years after her second mastectomy. She was a fighter, and liked to think that she kicked the Big C’s ass.

Thanks, Steve, for letting me cycle the Texas roads for Lee. (I’m especially honored to have Steve’s support since he is a Real Cyclist who could ride this five times while I struggle through it once!)

Reading about Lee reminded me of my grandmother. Since she didn’t die of cancer, I didn’t think about her in this endeavor, but she, too, kicked cancer’s ass twice. She actually was the first person in Shreveport, Louisiana to receive chemotherapy.

Thanks for that reminder. We both come from strong women.

Another grandfather …. You know, both my grandfathers died of cancer, as did my father. I’ll be writing about them another time, but for now, from an anonymous donor:

My grandfather was Russell – he died several years ago of prostate cancer that spread all over. Thanks for riding for him, and everyone else!

I’m honored to do it.

Henry Fountain, Sr. was my grandfather on my mother’s side. He was married to Shirley Fountain, and survived by seven children. There are so many grandkids that I can’t name them all.

All the grandkids called him Paw-Paw. He was a quiet man, content to work in his garden, go hunting, or putter around with his dogs.

He worked for Blossman Oil for most of his life, and was devoted to the company. In fact, when he retired he got bored and went back to work. He would always wake up at 4 in the morning, even on weekends. His image in my mind is always, ALWAYS, wearing his Blossman Oil Co. uniform.

If he wasn’t at work, he was at home perched in his recliner, watching the Discovery Channel. If anyone changed the channel, he’d very quietly but firmly say, “I was watching that”.

He was a devout man who attended church every Sunday, and spent a lot of time helping people out there, and helping do construction work on the church.

As long as I can remember, my Paw-Paw was bald. In fact, when I was born there was a picture of me in a newspaper with him, and we’re both bald. We call it The Fountain Curse: You’re either bald when you’re born, or you’re bald when you die.

He also lost his teeth early on…I very rarely saw him with false teeth in. It was disconcerting to see him with his teeth in, after always seeing him without.

His favorite candy was orange circus peanuts.

He died of cancer in 1996. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in early 1995 and by August of 1996, he was gone. Even though I had lost both grandparents on my father’s side when I was little, this was the death that affected me the most.

I wish I had a picture or something to show you, but all of them are in a box in my closet, and they haven’t been scanned yet.

There are so many other things that I could tell you. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Feel free to mention him on your website, or anywhere else. Thank you for riding in this, and for doing your part to help the foundation.

Grandfathers are the best. I was lucky to know both of mine and have terrific memories of them both. I’m honored to ride the LIVESTRONG for yours, Karen.

(second in a series)

Mindy was my home away from home back in the early days of my freelance career. She lived in Encino and was an EMT with the Pasadena Fire Department. I’d go to LA to work, and I slept on her couch, and she would loan me her Ford Expedition while she worked her 24 hour shifts. That way I had a place to stay and transportation. Without her, I wouldn’t have been able to work in LA in those early days.

She died of cervical cancer. It broke the hearts of a lot of people. I stayed in her apartment, visiting her every day at the hospital the week before she died. The last time I saw her, I kissed her bald head, leaving a big ol’ lipstick mark, and told her I loved her. I’m glad I had the chance to do that.

I still miss her very much. She was funny, bawdy, and generous. There are on-going jokes about her. She drove the ambulance for her team, and having gotten used to having a siren and traffic getting out of her way – she was massively impatient with traffic. She’d go ballistic if caught in a jam of any kind. We used to refer to people getting angry as “going Mindy on their ass.”

She was also known as the woman who lost the mountain. She drove by landmarks. Once she was on her way to Studio City and she was involved in a conversation with the people in the car and suddenly found herself nearly to Glendale. She looked around confused and said, “Where the hell was that mountain?” From that day forward, we teased her about “losing the mountain.”

I don’t have any photos of Mindy. She hated having her picture made. But I’ve got loads of memories and a lot of love in my heart for her still.

I’d like to people to know about her. Thanks.

And I’m glad to know about a funny, special person, and proud to ride the LIVESTRONG for her.

Thank you, Sarah. I hope Mindy lets me borrow some of her ferocity on those hills!

(First in a series)

Pool recently realized a lifelong dream by opening his own vineyard and winery, Billsboro, in Geneva, N.Y., which features several varietals. He was proudest of his Pinot noir wines, made from a clonal selection based on his research.

Pool was an active member of the Presbyterian Church, in Geneva, where he sang in the choir, served several terms as Elder and chaired the Mission Committee. He also enjoyed singing with the Community Chorus and the MLK Choir. He will long be remembered as a generous host and gourmet cook who loved sharing good food and wine with friends and family.

A man who sang, was a gourmet cook who made his own wine, who gave generously of himself? Thank you, Betsy, for letting me honor him when I ride the LIVESTRONG.

Read more about Bob.

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