Ten years ago, on July 17, 2007, Claudia Connor received the shocking news that she had ovarian cancer. “That is when my roller coaster ride of emotions, chemo treatments, radiation and recovery began,” says Claudia.
Even with the strong support system of her family and friends, Claudia still felt very isolated and alone with her diagnosis. She learned about Wellspring from her oncologist and immediately visited Wellspring Birmingham Gilgan House. “I truly felt at home,” says Claudia. “Wellspring helped me feel like I belonged during a time when I felt like an outcast.” Barely into her thirties, it was an age when many of the people in Claudia’s life were achieving life milestones, like getting married and creating a family, but Claudia felt in limbo and at the mercy of doctor’s appointments and treatments. “Wellspring gave me my life back,” says Claudia.
“I was training for my first 5 km run when I was diagnosed,” says Claudia. “I felt completely betrayed by my body as I had always embraced fitness and worked hard to stay fit.” But Claudia didn’t let her diagnosis and chemotherapy treatments stop her. With fierce determination and a lot of adrenaline, Claudia completed that 5 km run.
Now, when Claudia reaches each milestone in her recovery she celebrates with a physical challenge. On her second anniversary, she ran a half-marathon; at five years she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and now in celebration of her ten year anniversary, Claudia is participating in the Peloton Experience, a 117 km, 1-day bike ride in support of Wellspring. “I remember four days after receiving my chemo treatment, my body entered what I now call a ‘zombie’ state,” says Claudia. “At night I would experience shooting pains up and down my legs, keeping me awake for hours. I want to celebrate health and give back to the place that gave me piece of mind and strength,” says Claudia.
With no cycling experience behind her, Claudia joined Neworld Cycle, a cycling club in Burlington and learned how to ride a road bike. In addition to cycling four times a week she is doing cross-fit to get ready for the ride. This time, her physical challenge isn’t only for herself. She is dedicating her ride to her father who is currently going through his own cancer journey. Just like Claudia, her father also visited Wellspring and enrolled in the Cancer Exercise program. “In just a few short weeks, I have seen him transform into his old self again,” says Claudia. “There is a significant difference in his spirit and demeanour and he again seems to be enjoying life.”
On top of her physical challenge, Claudia has already gone above and beyond the $500 Peloton Experience fundraising goal, as she is hoping to raise $10,000 to mark her ten year anniversary. Click her to support Claudia’s Peloton Experience.
Click here to support Claudia’s Peloton Experience.
You might recognize Claudia because she is an events specialist at Wellspring. She spends her time at both Wellspring Chinguacousy and Wellspring Birmingham Gilgan House. Prior to working at Wellspring, Claudia served as a volunteer in 2010 at Wellspring Birmingham Gilgan.