November 11, 2010
It is with a heavy heart that I need to update this post with sad, sad news.
Brian passed away the other day in Montreal.
He was way too young. Yet he lived his life well while here.
My thoughts are with Iain, Margie and Erin… as well as all of his family and friends.
His life will be celebrated on Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 4:30 p.m. at the Mount Royal Funeral Complex 1297 Chemin de la Foret Outremont, Quebec H2V 2P9 (514) 279-6540 Reception to follow there. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to Cedars Cancer Institute or Chateauguay Valley Regional High School Educational Foundation in Ormstown, Quebec.
Brian was sure hoping to be able to ride with Lance this weekend – but the disease reared its f***ing ugly head again recently, so (because he was successful in raising the 25K+) he has nominated his cousin to ride for him.
Thanks to all of you who have donated! You really have made a difference!
Here is the link to a recent article in the Montreal Gazette about Brian and some other tough SOBs who are refusing to quit.
And here is the text…but you will have to go to the site to see the uplifting vid sent from Lance to Brain.
MONTREAL – This weekend, 50 determined souls will strap on their helmets, settle onto the narrow seats of their racing bikes and pedal their way across 100 kilometres of beautiful Quebec countryside – all in the name of improving cancer treatment in the province.
Among the cyclists (presumably somewhere near the front of the pack) will be someone who knows a lot about battling the deadly disease. Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, a testicular cancer survivor, will no doubt be the main attraction at the third annual Tour de Lance fundraiser – to be held Saturday in Mont Tremblant – but each person planning to ride alongside him has a unique story to tell. The Gazette caught up with three of the riders to find out what motivated them to sign up for the event, what they’ve done to meet their individual fundraising goals of $25,000 and how they’ve been getting ready for the gruelling physical challenge ahead.
Brian Millar‘s personal battle with cancer began less than a year ago, but the 27-year-old has already confronted major surgery, eight rounds of chemotherapy and numerous hospital stays. When he was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in September 2009, Millar said, he was “shell-shocked” and felt helpless in the face of the illness – but a gift from his aunt changed his outlook dramatically.
“She brought me Lance’s book in hospital and I read it in one day,” Millar recounted. “I think reading that book helped me straighten my mind out.”
A few months later, Millar learned about the coming Tour de Lance event and decided it would be a great way to stay in shape while raising money for the Cedars Cancer Institute, a hospital-based charity that provides support to patients and health-care professionals at various hospitals in Montreal.
“I hadn’t previously been a cycling fan and didn’t know much about it, but after seeing in Lance’s book what you can do with fundraising, I thought it would be neat,” he said. “I had no idea if I’d be healthy enough to do it.”
At first, it seemed like he would be healthy enough. Millar began training regularly on a stationary bike and his regular bike, and he and his family organized several fundraising dinners and other charity events to meet his fundraising goal. Then about seven weeks ago, Millar’s condition suddenly began to deteriorate, and he was forced to acknowledge that he couldn’t complete the ride. That’s when his cousin Graham stepped in and volunteered to take his place.
“He’ll be flying in from Calgary,” Millar said. “He has raced bikes his whole life and is one of the biggest Lance Armstrong fans I know. I’ve kept going with the fundraising because it’s really something that I want to do.”
Millar now faces a stem-cell transplant and, depending on how strong he’s feeling, he may or may not make it to Mont Tremblant this weekend to cheer on his cousin and meet Armstrong in person.
“I really wish I could be there,” he said. “But my health comes first.”