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About

Some words from John:

Our story, and what we hope to achieve.

With this ride we are hoping to get some awareness out there, in particular for under 50 year old women.

"My wife Marieke was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in March 2016. She was 38 at the time and our children were 8 and 5, to say it came out of the blue is a complete understatement. Marieke (Meeks) doesn't smoke or drink, she exercises three times a week!

To give some background on it I will attempt to explain. We found a lump on Saturday night and by Tuesday we were getting a mammogram and ultrasound, we were sent straight to the doctors from the radiography clinic. Obviously once this was said to us we knew the news wasn't good. By the Thursday we were at the specialist and he sent us to get a biopsy. His words were along the lines of they won't have an appointment available but tell them you have no choice it needs to happen today.

Again the warning bells weren't simply ringing, the sirens were going nuts and a week later confirmed our worst fears. It was an aggressive Triple Negative Breast Cancer. After seeing many different specialists a plan of attack was formed. Four weeks later my wife had a mastectomy.

The message we want to implore is that even if you are young, healthy and fit please don't hesitate and put off getting checked. If you find or feel like there's something not quite right please get checked out.

Some info on why we are pushing this is when the lump was first found the size of it measured 22mm by 22mm by 18mm. When it was removed 5 weeks after the initial ultrasound it measured 42mm by 42mm by 42mm. A cursory glance at that and you might think that it has doubled in size but it's in fact quadrupled as it's volume not area we are discussing. This shows how aggressive it was. I firmly believe if we had put it off because she is young or didn't want to find out for fear of what it may be we would be organising a funeral not an awareness ride.

Each step of our journey has been bad news. 3 nodes were removed during the Mastectomy to check them for cancer and was found in one. This meant before she had even recovered from the first surgery she was in for another and having a Lymph Node clearance. Three weeks later Meeks was beginning her four months of heavy Chemotherapy, the nickname for this Chemo is Red Devil. Draw your own conclusions from that name but it's pretty self explanatory.

Currently Meeks' Chemotherapy has ended but the side effects are still causing difficulties, she is struggling to feel her feet and hands at the moment (this is called Peripheral Neuropathy). Hopefully it should pass, usually it does but sometimes it does last forever. I have hopes it will pass as she has a pins and needles sensation so that says to me the nerve endings are still there and not completely burnt by the Chemo.

She has now started daily radiation for the next 6 weeks.

As I alluded to earlier each step hasn't been good news and an example of this is the fact we have since found that Meeks is carrying the BRCA 1 Gene. This creates more issues down the track with family but in the short term Meeks will require more surgery next year in an attempt to mitigate the chances of the cancer returning. Also, early next year Meeks will require 2 more surgeries; another Mastectomy and a Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy.

After that another 2 - 3 surgeries will be next for reconstruction.

You can see that this journey is far from over.

During all of this as a man I want to do anything I can to help but I'm very limited as to what I can, I just want to fix it and take it away from her. I often say to people you know someone is in pain when they are groaning whilst asleep, it's unbelievably difficult to listen to someone who you love being in so much pain.

So throughout this I decided to put some effort into building an Awareness Race Bike. If we can encourage one woman to go and get checked out so that it's caught early then the mission is accomplished, even just talking about it and creating dialogue is a good thing. Initially it was just to ride at track days but since then it has grown into riding in the support race at The World Super Bikes in February 2017, this was seen as a stage to get as much exposure as possible."

"There are lot of people who have been involved which this couldn't have happened without:

A massive thanks to both our families for their support, without them this last 6 months would have been impossible to survive even on a day to day basis with looking after the kids at the drop of a hat to being taxi drivers. We love you and thank you for all your support and help.

Netrider certainly got the ball rolling and without the people on this great forum this would not have happened. It would have stayed an idea in my head. My sincere thanks to all of them.

Next on my list are two very good friends of mine, Marc Burnell and Greg Smith, without them quite simply we would not even be contemplating this race without those two in my corner. A special mention must go to Simon Hunter who has designed and built this website on sheer love. It amazing the people you meet through life's journey and this guy is a good one.

I must thank my wife Meeks as well as our children Tyson and Natahlia. The love I have for them is insurmountable and I'm doing this for them and all the other woman in all our lives. Mothers, aunties, sisters, daughters, grandmothers and partners!

This year we celebrated 15 years of marriage. It was subdued due to health but it's been a wonderful 15 years."

- John McCabe, 30th October 2016.

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