Heather Dougall

Rider

Nickname: 

Doogie

Age: 

46

Hometown: 

Calgary, Alberta

Occupation: 

Event Specialist

What is your bike's name?: 

BFF

What is your level of experience with cycling?: 

Beginner

How many years have you done the peloton ride?: 

This is my first Peloton ride.

Why are you riding in the peloton?: 

In June of 2010, I was diagnosed with throat cancer and the treatment took a toll physically and mentally. Wellspring Calgary and Cancervive have become a very important part of my life. I now want to challenge my body to do things I never dreamed of before, and riding across the country is a huge challenge!

Who are you riding for?: 

I am riding for myself and all those that shouldn't have to face cancer alone.

What do you hope to get out of the experience this year?: 

The feeling of accomplishment, of having a goal and making it happen. When you have cancer, you believe you will be able to complete all the things you always have before. As treatment progresses, you accomplish less and less and that is very frustrating and upsetting, so to complete this ride is to put cancer farther behind me.

What are you looking forward to most?: 

Spending time with my team and coming across the bridge in Maine to those awaiting our arrival. The feeling of doing it together, with everyone supporting each other and all of us proving "Yes, there is life after cancer!".

What is your biggest fear for this journey?: 

That the side effects from the radiation don't allow me to ride as far as I want. I still have episodes of fatigue and the scar tissue in my nasal passage chokes me when I exercise, so I am not sure how that is going to affect me over nine days.

How have you been affected by cancer?: 

It has changed me physically, mentally and emotionally forever. I have scar tissue in my nasal passage, little saliva and my taste buds are ruined. I also live with a fear of it returning, as you dont know why you got it in the first place. But in some ways, it has brought good things in to my life, for example it has created opportunities like this ride that are very positive experiences.

If you have cancer, what is your diagnosis?: 

I had cancer of the tonsil.

What treatments have you undergone?: 

Surgery and 30 sessions of head and neck radiation.

If cancer walked into the room, what would you say to it?: 

Hey cancer! Quit while you can, you're never going to beat me. I'm too strong for you!! (and many other words that are not appropriate on a public website)

What makes you pedal harder—(when the riding gets tough, what do you think about)?: 

I think about my ability to get through 30 hits of radiation and how cancer is not going to get the better of me. I pretend I am in Mexico on a beach chair with a Pina Colada with my family and that takes me to a happy place.

Comments

Ten Days To Go!

Dear Heather, With ten days left to go, I just want to wish you the best of luck and a very safe journey. Your story touches me...I, too, have had a lot of head, neck and chest radiation and I know your pain. You amaze me! See you at the finish line in Maine! Best, Laura

Go For It!!!

Scott let us know about this...very proud of you and happy to see you overcome. We're thinking of you, and although we're wishing you the very best, we are confident you have all the strength it'll take to get you where you want to be. Ask Grant later why he thinks you're a Samurai. Go for it!!!

You GO Girl!

Hey Heather: Your mother just told me about this bike ride yesterday. I have been thinking of you (and adding a little prayer or two) ever since I learned of your diagnosis. As someone who administered a cancer lodge for many years I have some general idea of the physical, mental and emotional costs of "treatment", and your courage is simply amazing and inspirational. (It took me five days just to pedal the 300km around the Cabot Trail; I cannot imagine doing your current journey in just 10 days -- especially when still feeling the effects of Rx!) Every blessing in the days ahead. Keith+

Go Doogie Go!

Keep on pedaling girl. We all can't wait to hear about your adventure when you (and your sore ass) come back to us at Source Media Group. Super proud of you Heather.

Tell Your Friends!