There are a few definitions for survivor in whichever dictionary you look in. My personal favorite is one that seems to sum up them all:
“a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks.”
If you’ve been in training or racing…or LIFE…long enough, you go through hardship. That’s life. And we all know that endurance athletes are good at, well, enduring. But through the Coeur ambassador and TCB teams, I have witnessed so many friends that have been through stuff that seem unsurmountable. I am so incredibly grateful, humbled and inspired by how each earned the mantle of SURVIVOR.
Over the years, there has been chronic illnesses, cancer, death of a spouse or child, domestic abuse, veterans with PTSD. Athletes getting hit on their bikes. The risk of suicide. Addiction. Of course, this is a short list. The common theme however is #nottoday. Not today cancer. Not today chemotherapy. Not today life changing bike wreck. Not today depression. Not today eating disorder. Not today overwhelming grief.
A few years ago, we created our #nottodaycancer collection to honor those who have struggled through the ravages of cancer and came out the other side. We donated the money from the sale of this collection to The American Cancer Society.
We loved doing this but had so many customers reach out to us about other insanely difficult things they’ve had to go through and could we make a kit for surviving those things also? It got us thinking of a way to honor all survivors and give them a way to say I’M STILL HERE.
I’ve heard and seen the most incredible instances of surviving a trauma. How someone goes about facing each and every day with the threat of something unwanted taking over. And still showing up for life.
And that is what this kit is for. Showing up for life. Even after something devastating. Knowing full well not everyone wins their battle. Wearing a survivor kit honors those that didn’t make it too by keeping their memory alive.
Ask Lectie Altman what it’s like to go from a world-class age group triathlete to being hit by a thoughtless driver and battling for life. Then enduring the countless surgeries to ensure she kept her leg and arm. Not to mention never being able to run again. But damnit if Lectie isn’t back in the water swimming long distances and thriving in her career as a real estate agent in Honolulu and about to get hitched to her amazing boyfriend, Scott Batula, early next year. The wreck will never be OK but she keeps showing up for life and I say she is winning hard.
Ask any cancer patient about the fear of getting that first diagnosis and what it means. The spirit-crushingness and pain of chemo and radiation. Feeling weak after being a strong athlete. But they wake up every morning and show up. Because that is what you have to do.
This is not to oversimplify the journey. This isn’t toxic positivity. This is honoring ALL THE S*@T that goes into a survivor’s story. Surviving the freaking out, the ugly crying that feels like it will never stop, the asking “WHY ME? WHY NOW?”
One of our ambassadors, Devon Struck tells us how she felt after her first race back after a mastectomy and chemo: “It’s hard to put into words the joy I felt crossing the finish line of my local 5k just 2 months after finishing chemotherapy. My bald head glistening in the fall sunlight. But every run, ride, swim, and race feels like a well earned gift now. I have such a greater appreciation for my body and my mental game, knowing what I can accomplish. I can do hard things. Cancer can’t take that from me.”
Another teammate, Chris Matthews, leaned on the structure of her training to get through a breast cancer diagnosis and a marriage falling apart at the start of Covid. “Our triathlon training experience helped me during the whole thing; knowing how do keep pushing through when things suck played a big factor. I knew certain milestones I needed to hit to get myself out of a bad situation.”
To keep pushing through when things suck. Let’s keep doing THAT. And celebrate the positives, big and maybe more importantly, the small. We are here to celebrate Survivors and all they’ve been through. You inspire us and give us perspective. 10% of sales from any Survivor Collection order goes to the charity of your choice from a wide selection. The Survivor Collection is bright and lively to let people know YOU ARE STILL HERE. Your illness, home situation, accidents, grief don’t get to take your TODAY.
#nottoday______. (fill in the blank)