Each year we dedicate the ride to one person who has battled breast cancer. This year we are dedicating the ride to Waleska “Wally” Roling. Wally is the sister of my long-time friend, John. Wally’s battle started in 2015 when she was diagnosed the stage III, triple negative breast cancer. As many of you know, this type can be very aggressive and is more likely to reoccur than other subtypes of breast cancer.
Wally and her doctors immediately started treatment: first with chemo, then a double mastectomy with lymph node removal, and radiation. After all that, Wally started taking the cancer drug to lower chances of reoccurrence, but a year and half later her cancer had metastasized to her bones and her liver. She was investigating alternative treatment through the Immunity Therapy Center in Mexico and raising money to cover the cost.
In the meantime, the family took turns flying out to Chicago to be with her and help her through treatment. John remembers accompanying Wally to a chemo appointment as she rode the city bus to the hospital. She sat on the bus with her compromised immune system and a surgical mask, surrounded by other people. John could not believe the way his sister had to get to treatment, so he and his family made plans to move Wally from Chicago back to Los Angeles to be near family. John and Wally decide to drive across country, so Wally could travel with her dog and see Route 66. She wanted to cross it off her bucket list. They just needed to wait until she felt well enough to travel.
Unfortunately, Wally’s health was in crisis. John recalls the family members flying out the night they got the call to be with her. They arrived at 6 in the morning and Wally passed away that evening. This was one day before her 47th birthday, almost exactly one year from her stage IV diagnosis.
When I asked John what he wanted people to know about his big sister, he said that she was the embodiment of love. She loved her family and her friends with a fierceness and loyalty that was unsurpassed by others. Wally was happiest when they all gathered together. She derived strength from her family and was protective of them. They teased her throughout her life for being the crier of the family, as she hated when they all had to separate.
Wally was young and healthy; she worked as a server, and spent her life loving the people who were close to her. Breast cancer may have taken Wally’s life, but her vibrant spirit is still with us. Her life may have been cut short, but her legacy of loving others continues, as we honor her with The Boob Ride CA 2018.
Wally’s struggle highlights the importance of The Boob Ride’s mission to help with breast cancer patients with not only treatment costs, but also daily tasks like transportation to treatment, food delivery, expenses, and minor home maintenance. 100% of the riders’ registrations from The Boob Ride go directly to the cause and we seek corporate and personal donations to cover our operating costs. No one is on payroll and we depend on our volunteers to staff the event. If you would like to donate to the ride, click here.
The Boob Ride originated from feeling helpless about a disease that threatened my family members’ lives, but it has become an event for people to CELEBRATE life, and the lives of their love ones who are battling this disease. We are not helpless; we can all do something.
Do you have someone you would like to honor or remember? If so, tell us your story on our blog.