Barbed Beauty and a Bicycle Ride

Sunny buttercups and their many memories of childhood. Bouquets clutched in tight fists, holding one flower under my chin waiting to be told how much I liked butter. We thought the fields dotted with floral sunshine were beautiful. No one told us that the invasive weed known as Creeping Buttercup was poisonous when eaten fresh by cattle and horses. Now I understand the rusty barbed wire surrounding the fields. Barbed beauty – an oxymoron.

The day this photo was taken I was attending our church picnic. Our choir director arrived a little later than the rest of us who had driven the twenty minutes from the church… riding her bicycle. Ellen Lewis takes every opportunity to get in a ride because she’s been in training for a full year to participate in this weekend’s Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, benefitting BC Cancer Foundation.

Some of her reasons for participating are posted on her page of the Conquer Cancer website. One of those reasons is her brother who is a cancer survivor and who also participates in the ride each year. But what she doesn’t mention is that she has never done anything athletic like this before, and when she signed up for the ride, she also made a commitment to get in shape and lose weight. In less than a year she has reached her goal, a weight loss of 128 lbs.  That kind of determination and commitment is a wonderful thing.

Cancer is an ugly disease – I can tell you that from personal experience – but amid that ugliness there is hope. I know that sounds like another oxymoron, but the hope is evident in the monumental fight to find a cure, and in people like Ellen who are helping to make it happen.

I wonder if there’s a connection between the colour of those buttercups and the riding gear being worn by Ellen and her team. Nah… probably not.

If you’re one to say a prayer, add yours to mine for her safety and the success of the ride – it will be a grueling two days this Saturday and Sunday, as she joins the thousands of other cyclists riding between Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA.


June 21 Update

 Ellen and her team safely completed the ride along with over 2700 other riders. She exceeded her original financial goal and raised $4,136, while her team, led by her brother Sam, raised an amazing total of $61,237. Well done!



Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

16 thoughts on “Barbed Beauty and a Bicycle Ride

  1. Wow! 128 pounds? That is so inspiring. I am ashamed now that I cannot stay away from the Hershey’s and Pepsi to lose about ten.
    Yes, cancer is very ugly. I’ve lost both parents to lung cancer, several family members and friends alike to different forms of it. I think it’s wonderful that she’s met these goals simply out of determination to ride for this cause. Truly commendable. This was a beautiful story for me to see this morning. Thanks Carol.

  2. I will be praying for Ellen. I am also praying for a sister-in-law, niece and very close friend who all have breast cancer. Two of them going through chemo now, one of them just finished radiation.
    What an inspiration she is—–I pray she will be safe. And congratulate her for me on the weight loss!

  3. Good morning to everyone. Thanks for stopping in to read and comment this morning.

    Journeytoepiphany asks if buttercups bleed yellow, but I haven’t heard that before. Perhaps someone else has the answer? Contact with the crushed plant can cause skin irritation, and I believe the plant is also called Cinquefoil, which is said to have been used to stop bleeding, but that’s the extent of my information.

    Lou – I’m in awe of Ellen’s weight loss, too. I’ve struggled with being overweight all my life.

    Joylene, Katt and Heather – Thanks for praying. For someone who has never ridden long distances before this has to be a huge undertaking.

  4. I didn’t know those facts about buttercups. They are beautiful. Who would think they could be poisonous to cattle?

    Thank you for sharing Ellen Lewis’ challenge with us. I will pray for her endurance and success. Losing that much weight it a huge success in itself! She looks great! Blessings to you, Carol…

  5. Love this post, Carol – and this story! Huge kudos to your friend for getting in shape enough to make this ride – that is just sensational. I, too, have struggled with excess weight all of my adult life. Health issues in this last year have pushed me to faithful walking and healthier eating and I am slowly losing pounds – but nothing so dramatic as 128. Wow. Such an inspiration.

  6. Just now catching up on my email. It’s been a grueling week. Praying for your friend. Lost my grandmother to pancreatic cancer and my mother to colon cancer. Several friends have succumbed as well, and I have two good friends fighting massive battles at the moment. I have a personal bias against the disease.

  7. Thanks for all your comments. The ride started in rain this morning, so today’s portion of the course won’t have been so nice, but Sunday is suppose to be a better day. Thank you for keeping Ellen and her team in your prayers.

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