A Journey To Remember

By Paul Owens, Part of SAG V10 Team

An old proverb says the journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.  In Jack Matthews’ case, it’s 3500 miles and one pedal.  And with every pedal of this trek; every hill climbed, ounce of sweat drained, Jack is steering a new, game-changing focus for lung cancer advocacy.  What Bonnie J Addario has put on the map as a foundation for Lung Cancer awareness in 2006, Jack is driving it…literally!

My hope is that the Tour de RHBE is just the beginning to an even stronger focus on attacking the disease that kills more people than any other cancer.  In fact, in EVERY STATE that he battles through, we already know that Lung Cancer kills more than the other top three cancers COMBINED.  We are eerily aware that the survival rates haven’t changed in 40+ years.  And we painfully see the shame and stigma attached to those who are afflicted even when close to 80% of them have either never smoked or haven’t smoked in many years.  This was the case for Kathleen Matthews…This one hurts. This one hits home…This one also poked a bear…

Now Jack, being the under-achiever that he is decides he wants to take a little spin on his bicycle.

He will say this is a team effort, but we all know that it is all him!.  Watching him battle the hills of Utah this week, I’ve never seen anyone more determined – especially for a guy as Old as he is.  My fellow SAGers, Dan Matthews (who only snores after 9 PM) and our tech specialist, Jack Owens (my 12 year-old son) both agree.  We’ve been winded just riding in the van, taking pictures and of course keeping Jack (and ourselves) hydrated.  Utah is a masterpiece of Mother-Nature…endlessly breathtaking views and the bluest skies I’ve ever seen.  The pics below will not do this state justice.

It’s been an honor to be a small part of this Journey.  I’m thankful to share this experience with Jack, Dan and especially my son who is “offering up” missing school this week to help out his Uncle.  Most importantly, I’m grateful to have a fantastic role model for my kids to look up to…what a hero really is.  I know many are not as fortunate.

Jack Matthews, Best of luck on the rest of your journey.  The inspiration that you draw from your Mom and all who have been affected by Lung Cancer has been forwarded 1000x over for all of us who join you on this ride.

Stay strong, Godspeed and if I can borrow from a fellow SAGer…”Don’t (Mess) It Up.”

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