Story by: Mary Schwarz on August 28, 2019
Ever have that work friend that turns into a real friend? Rhonda Hoffman was that real friend.
We met not long after I moved here from Cincinnati for a career change. After several years, we both went our separate ways, but still stayed connected.
Ultimately, we both landed at Norton Healthcare — Rhonda as system director of research and me as director of communications.
Through nearly 20 years of bunco games, lunches and dinners, we talked through the joys and trials of raising kids and navigating work and family life. I knew all about her son’s athletic endeavors, and I was there when she landed at the airport in Louisville with her newly adopted daughter in her arms.
I also was there as Rhonda took some of her last breaths. Rhonda was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma this past winter. She bravely battled the disease with the same fire, determination and pure joy in which she approached all aspects of her life. She ultimately lost that battle in late June.
For information about this year’s event, including how to donate, participate or volunteer, visit:
Rhonda is why I will ride in my first Bike to Beat Cancer, and because I hate the cancer that took her, our mutual friend Peggy, my friend Val and my son-in-law’s brother Josh. The list of those who have been touched by cancer seems endless and heartbreaking.
Bike to Beat Cancer became the something I could do. The grassroots effort to raise funds to cure cancer and eliminate suffering in our own community is in its 11th year. The dollars raised go toward research, support services, educational programs and therapeutic resources for patients of Norton Cancer Institute, including kids with cancer at Norton Children’s Hospital. The 15-, 35-, 65- or 100-mile bike trek (or 5-mile family ride) is on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019.
This year, I am also volunteering in a station to cheer on fellow riders. I’ll complete my 35 miles “virtually,” which means I’ll clock 35 miles within a month of the Sept. 14 event.
Last year’s 1,045 riders raised more than $603,000 for patients fighting cancer at Norton Cancer Institute and Norton Children’s Cancer Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville.
You can do something about cancer too. You can learn more and donate to any team or rider (Hint: I’m Mary’s Cancer Angels on Team Rhondafied).
If you can’t donate or come out and support us that day, we’ll take all the virtual cheers you send our way.
Why will you ride — or support our riders? Your why is our why too.
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