02/18/2014 11:38 EST | Updated 04/20/2014 05:59 EDT

This Valentine's Day: Riding for Love and Cancer

This Valentine's day I will be doing the same thing I have done every year I have been with my wife. I will go to the local florist and pick up the dozen red long stem roses I ordered. Some people might say it is boring or unoriginal to do the same thing each year. However, since my wife was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer being able to buy her flowers one more time is immeasurable.

My wife Kat and I have been together over 10 years. We are a lot like most couples. We met at a friend's wedding. Fell in love. Got married. Had twin daughters and then a third daughter. We had a typical suburban existence with all the challenges of life, work and raising a young family.

All that changed in the fall of 2012. My wife had had a persistent cough throughout the spring and summer that would not go away and gradually was getting worse. She went to her doctor who referred her to a lung specialist. After a few weeks and a battery of tests we got a diagnosis and our life was turned on its head.

Lung cancer. Stage 4. Terminal. The initial prognosis was four months. The news was devastating for both of us. My wife who is in her mid-thirties was told she had less than a year to live. For myself, the idea of having to raise 3 daughters alone, all 3 years-old and under was indescribable.

By the time treatment began Kat had difficulty climbing the eight stairs in our house. After some additional testing her lung cancer was diagnosed as being EGFR+, a form of lung cancer that has some treatments available to extend her life. The treatment was simple, take one pill a day. The results were amazing. My wife could breath much easier, the coughing stopped and there were only a few mild side effects. We had a relatively normal life again.

If it wasn't for cancer research, we wouldn't have had this time together as a family. I decided I needed to give back and participated in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer last year, riding 200 km through the Quebec countryside with family and friends on a two-day cycling event. I raised $9,100 for the Segal Cancer Center at the Jewish General Hospital, a leader in cancer research, treatment and care.

The treatment worked well for 15 months but at the beginning of 2014 a routine CT scan revealed that her lung cancer had started to progress again. Also several small tumors were found in her brain. She has now undergone radiation for her brain tumors and will start chemotherapy in the next few weeks.

We had to sit down with our daughters and explain to them that Mommy will be losing her hair because of the new medicine she will be getting. The twins have known since they were three that Mommy had something called cancer. We have been very open with them and answered all their questions. My wife has been incredible at talking to them.

If radiation and starting chemo was not enough, we will be moving in the next few weeks to be closer to family, friends and the support we are going to need going forward. The love we have received has been overwhelming.

2014 is going to my second year riding in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. I am riding for my wife with the hope that next Valentine's Day I will be able to bring home another dozen roses.

You can learn more about the ride here and donate to my ride here.


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