To help cancer patients and survivors regain their health and appetite, Taiwan’s Cancer Patients Athletic Association is calling on patients and their families and friends to join a cross-island bicycle tour planned for November.
Members of the association, most of whom participated in the tour’s first edition held one year ago, gathered on National Chengchi University’s running track yesterday to announce the new tour and share their experiences.
Among the attendees was Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩), who said that a positive attitude and a strong will are imperative to recovery.
“Everyone is shattered by the news of getting cancer, but the illness is not scary. We can learn to coexist with it and live happily and comfortably,” she said. “We hope cancer sufferers’ families and friends can also show their support by joining the tour and spreading the message of treasuring and enjoying life.”
Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in December last year, Chiu said she has recovered well after completing her chemotherapy sessions in May. She added that, depending on her physical capabilities, she may participate in parts of the 10-day tour.
The riders plan to begin the 1,100km cycling trip at Liberty Square in Taipei’s National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall on Nov. 2 and pedal their way around the country in a clockwise direction. Electric bicycles will be made available for participants who have only recently completed chemotherapy and have yet to fully regain their strength.
Daily routes and schedules will be announced in advance so that locals can join the cycling team when it passes through their cities and towns, the organizers said.
Wu Hsing-chuan (吳興傳), who co-founded the event with another cancer survivor, Hsieh Yung-chao (謝永照), said he wanted to organize the cycling tour because he knows what cancer patients are going through and what will help them.
“I have been through it, and I know what it is like to battle with the illness,” Wu said. “We need to take our mind off of fearing the cancer, restore our self-confidence and improve our immune systems.”
A former marathon athlete who used to train people with visual impairments, Wu and his wife were both diagnosed with cancer in 2009. His wife passed away shortly after beginning treatment.
Wu and other team members want to promote the benefits of exercise to other cancer sufferers and inspire them to be positive about life, regain their confidence and find a motivation to live.
“Last year, we had 13 cyclists who completed the tour,” Wu said. “All of them took up exercising after recovering from cancer. They have been exercising regularly and learned to confront their illness and enjoy life. None of them have fallen ill again so far.”