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Cancer survivor rides for life, friendship



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August 13, 2014 - Jodi Witherspoon is proud to say she is a survivor and to celebrate it she bicycled 60 miles in Susan G. Komen's Ride for a Cure, Aug. 2 in Lansing.

"It was a wonderful journey," she said. "It was just wow - it is the only way I can say it. It was amazing."

Witherspoon added it was nice to hear success stories from survivors and hug those who came to represent those who passed away from cancer.

"It was rewarding because there were so many survivors," she said. "Many people had sashes they wore for the closing ceremonies. What was amazing was how many survivors there were. It is great to hear. You never hear about people's success stories of surviving."

This year marks the five year anniversary for Witherspoon being cancer free and to celebrate it she wanted to give back.

She visited the Susan G. Komen website to find an event and found Ride for a Cure - which was perfect for her.

"I love to bicycle," she explained. "I went ahead and signed up, raised money, and my husband and I were able to ride."

Along the ride she met Deeanna Arnott, from West Bloomfield, at the 5-mile mark and rode the rest of the way together.

"We quickly became friends," Witherspoon added. "We talked about how cancer had affected our lives. It was wonderful during the journey talking to other women and how cancer has impacted their lives."

Witherspoon added the special anniversary day for her is Aug. 12 - when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.

"It was the day that changed my life," she explained. "It makes me emotional when I think about it. It has been a long journey - a lot of scares in between. I was able to give back."

Football for a Cure usually falls the same week as her anniversary of being diagnosed and her and her family usually spend it at the football field celebrating with the Wolves.

Her son, Bryce, who is a senior at Clarkston High School, is playing in the event for Charlene Hemle.

"Her and I were 'chemo buddies' five years ago and remain close friends," Jodi explained.

The football community, from the Clarkston Chiefs to the Wolves, have supported her and her family the entire time.

"It was that family who journeyed with me," she said. "They were my family then and my family now. I want to thank everyone who walked this journey with me and who continues to believe in me."

Her advice to women is simply get a yearly mammogram done and don't be afraid.

"Just do it - that was my motto during the whole thing," she said. "If it hurts, it hurts for a brief second but it is worth it. Don't think 'there is no history in my family.' There was no history in my family and I still got it. If I would have had that attitude I wouldn't have had the mammogram and I would have died."

Jodi will participate in Ride for a Cure again and added the staff was amazing and it was affordable to do.

"I highly recommend for anyone," she said. "It raises awareness and people are getting their mammograms earlier. If I wouldn't have done that I wouldn't be talking to you today."

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007. Follow Clarkston sports on Twitter @CNewsWRSports.
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