2017 Empire State Rider: Janice Hetrick
“Cancer will never control me!”
Janice is a registered nurse from Lancaster, New York who has a very personal connection to cancer. Learn how she found out about the Empire State Ride and why she made the decision to join this summer’s seven-day adventure across New York State.
How did you find out about the Empire State Ride?
I found out about the Empire State Ride last year when my trainer was talking about it. My girlfriend, Stephanie, and I were talking about our bucket lists for this year. When she said, “why not?” I didn’t have an excuse for not doing it.
What inspired you to sign up?
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2012. At the time, my relatives and I decided to run the Dirty Girl Mud Run. She cheered for us under her umbrella, surrounded by rain, wind and thunder. Her smile and tears at the finish line were enough for me. I did over 44 events in her honor.
In June 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The night before my double mastectomy, I rappelled the Niagara Casino. One week after surgery, I completed the Tough Mudder Mud Run. Five days after 33 radiation treatments, I completed a marathon. To date, I have completed over 150 events, including include 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, a marathon, and mud runs.
What is your history as a cyclist? Have you ever done anything similar to the Empire State Ride?
This will be the first week-long ride I have done, but I have done other shorter rides.
I belong to the Slow Roll of Buffalo. We do a 10-13 mile bike ride every Monday. I did a triathlon last year in which we kayaked, biked, and ran. I practiced 15-20 miles daily preparing for it. This past year, I also did a fun 40-mile “Fire & Ice Cream Ride” through Buffalo, where we stopped at fire stations for ice cream breaks.
How are you fundraising for the ride?
My main fundraiser is a Chinese auction on April 29 from 2-5 p.m. at Fit Method Studio, located at 172 Robinson Street in North Tonawanda. I’ve mailed flyers to hundreds of companies for the event and am hanging them up at work, my gym, and local businesses, and am sharing the event on Facebook.
What do you hope to accomplish by raising funds and completing the ride?
I am dedicating the Empire State Ride to three of my friends still fighting from cancer. I have met them along my journey. In November, after 17 months of fighting, I am cancer free. The only thing I know to do is pay it forward. So I am paying it forward by raising funds for cancer research and dedicating the ride to my friends.
What are you most looking forward to most on the ride?
I am looking forward to meeting new friends, gaining friendships, and completing the ride. When I was doing the Tough Mudder after surgery, I was determined to complete it, no matter what it took. The same goes for this event. Cancer will never control me!