Woman rides for research
Linda Stonestreet rode more than 60 miles last weekend. In a month she needs to be able to pedal at least 80 miles a day.
Stonestreet isn’t a marathoner, and although in her 35 years she has led an active life, none of it prepared her for the odyssey she is about to undertake.
In the company of more than 40 other women, Stonestreet is planning to pedal from San Diego to Jacksonville, Fla., more than 3,000 miles. The reason for this 42-day trek – breast cancer research.
Stonestreet, a South Tahoe High School graduate who now lives in Davis, is training for the second Pedal for the Cure. The first ride that drew 11 women riders raised more than $100,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the nation’s largest private contributor for breast cancer research.
“My father’s mother died of breast cancer, but I was pretty ignorant about most of the facts until I met Shawn,” she said.
Stonestreet became friends with Shawn Frizzell in 1995, shortly after she moved to Victor, Colo. Two years later Frizzell was diagnosed with breast cancer. Stonestreet would become more than a friend for the 51-year-old woman. She became her caregiver.
“I witnessed her whole process,” Stonestreet said. “From the moment she knew she had breast cancer, through the horrendous decision to do a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, throughout the research and discovery, the conflict of opinions, the judgments, the oncologists.”
Stonestreet nursed her friend through the aftermath of surgery and chemotherapy to finally a good prognosis and recovery.
“It was my first real experience with breast cancer, and it was educational.”
Stonestreet learned about the prodigious bike ride last summer and began to think of it as a way to lift Frizzell’s spirits.
“At first I didn’t realize how big a commitment it was. It seemed adventurous and a good cause. I saw it as a way to inspire my friend who was still going through a lot of emotional stuff.”
Both Frizzell and Stonestreet are planning to ride. To be part of the ride, women have to raise $6,000. Stonestreet still has $4,000 to go. To raise money she wrote and produced a CD.
“I’m really looking forward to be among the other women and the simplicity of the trip. The only thing I have to do is ride. I hope this trip initiates dialogue among people. Nobody should have to go through breast cancer alone,” she said.
The trip will take the women across the southernmost part of the United States. They will pass through Phoenix, Dallas and El Paso, Texas, New Orleans, Biloxi, Miss., Mobile, Ala., Pensacola and Tallahassee, Fla., and across to Jacksonville.
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