Fighting Lung Cancer, Finding Inspiration Every Day

It started that horrible day in March of 2011 when Mom got that damn diagnosis. As a family, we were inspired to do something — anything to help Mom.

We did what we could, as did Mom and her doctors, and the world lost nine months later. Mom was, and is, an amazing inspiration to me.

This story is part of a series on SAP employee John Matthews’ Ride Hard, Breathe Easy initiative to raise awareness and money to help find a cure for lung cancer. Learn more here.

When I started thinking about doing this ride, I was inspired by the reactions of friends and family. I heard:

“Finishing day will be amazing!”
“My kids are seeing their uncle doing something special.”
 “What a powerful story.”
“Thanks for doing what you are doing for lung cancer.”

I am inspired by the incredible people with whom I talk in the biking community who have listened and given advice, especially Bob Burke from Guy’s Bicycles. Bob has put his heart and soul into this ride, and he is making sure I am getting across this great country safely. He’s also done tremendous work to help spread the word.

I am inspired by the people who dedicate their lives every day to fighting lung cancer, such as Bonnie Addario, Laurie Fenton, Amy Cipau, and their teams. They are always there to help patients and their families deal with this disease. And as my Dad said, “They are doing God’s work.”

I am inspired by everyone helping plan this ride who have selflessly given their time and expertise to a cause so dear to me. Their work is great. Full stop.

I am inspired by Jill Costello and Kelcey Harrison. If you don’t know them, you should. Jill died of lung cancer in 2012 at the age of 22, and there is a must-read article in Sports Illustrated about her. Kelcey ran across country the following year to raise money and awareness for lung cancer.  Yes, she ran, not biked, across the country.


I am inspired by where I went to high school, Saint Joseph Prep, where they insist on MAGIS from their students. I deeply appreciate their involvement to grow what we are doing.

I am inspired by lung cancer patients, such as Deena and John, who I saw last weekend. They are vocal advocates for all lung cancer patients and have said they are alive today for one reason: funding for research. They are using medication that didn’t exist five years ago.

I am inspired by my son and my wife, who are always asking and always helping to make this ride a success. I know this ride is hard on them, and I will do my very best to make them proud.

Mom and DadAnd finally, I am inspired by Mom and Dad every day. Mom “fought like the dickens.” Dad stood by Mom, helped in every way possible while she was here, and then became an advocate, going to Washington DC last year to give his support behind this cause.

So as you can see, I have been inspired by many of you over the past six months. I have grown to know that my purpose, outside of being a Dad, a husband, a brother, and many more things, is to make a difference in the fight against lung cancer.

This ride will take every bit of my courage, energy, and passion, but with your inspiration and help, I will cross The Golden Gate Bridge in October.

This story originally appeared at