Saturday, August 16, 2008

So Proud of My Sister Jill

and her husband David...

Needham Times
by Will Bradford

    Jillian Segal won't be riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge for the first time in four years.
    Segal, 44, beat ovarian cancer in 1982 as an 18-year-old. After keeping the disease at bay for more than 20 years, she was diagnosed again in 2003. When Segal received treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer institute and the cancer went into remission, she decided she would take part in the Pan-Mass Challenge, the fundraising bike-a-thon that has raised more than $200 million for cancer research since 1980.
    "I've had cancer for a long time, and I've had people I know riding," she said about her initial decision to participate. "Everyone would ask if they could list me as someone they were riding for, so when I finished my chemo in 2004, I told my husband I was going to do it for myself."
    Segal's husband David, 45, also committed to ride and Team "Click Out. CLICK OUT!" was born. Consisting of, among others, the Segals, David's brother , sister and father, and one of Jillian's best friends, the team gets its name from what they yell to one another when braking, reminding each other to detach their shoes from the bike pedals.
    "The first time we rode, everyone was kind of teary every time we thought about it," said Jillian Segal. "I think out of the 5,000 riders there are 150 survivors who ride, so it's always kind of special because at the beginning of the race, they say if you're a survivor, raise your hand, and everyone gets choked up."

    As riders in this year's PMC made their way down Charles River Street in Needham Saturday, however, Jillian Segal was a spectator for the first time in four years. This past spring, her cancer came back, forcing her to withdraw from this year's event. So the team had no choice but to ride on without Jillian, although it was admittedly not the same.
    "I was worried about that," said David Segal. "All the other years she has been my pace car. I have the tendency to go out too quickly. But we didn't do that. I think we were all in tun, making sure went out at a good pace. We had her in our thoughts the whole way."
    According to Jillian Segal, the team has raised around $100,000 for finding a cure for ovarian cancer in four years.
    "Breakthroughs are being made every day," she said. "As my doctor says, it's not weeks away, but it's not generations away either."
    The Segals currently see no end for their careers as PMC cyclists. Since the doctors found the newest cancer in an early stage, Jillian has already turned her focus on next year's PMC.
    "It's disappointing," she said of not being able to ride this year. "But I've got next year to look forward to. it's a good goal for me."

The Pan-Mass Challenge funnels 100% of the funds raised to cancer research. Contributions can be made here in support of team "Click Out. CLICK OUT!"
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