This summer, Becky Ardiff Jensen, will be supporting the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge as a virtual rider – one who raises money for cancer research through the PMC but doesn’t ride on PMC weekend. Jensen has supported her father, Ralph Ardiff, 70, of Danvers, in his PMC rides for the past 11 years. In July 2010, Jensen’s reason to support the PMC became personal.
Jensen, 44, of Danvers, was catapulted into the world of cancer after initial tests misdiagnosed her with early signs of cervical cancer. Jensen suffered a hemorrhage, which caused her to lose 25 percent of her blood, and a visit with an oncologist later confirmed that she not only had a large tumor in her cervix, but also her cancer had advanced too far for doctors to surgically remove the tumor.
Jensen was immediately sent to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston for treatment, although she lived in New York at the time. For five days a week for 10 weeks, she traveled to Boston for aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“Treatment definitely took a toll on my body,” recalls Jensen. “Fortunately, as a yoga instructor, I was able to adjust my yoga practice to suit my condition and help relieve my stress.”
Every patient has a unique way of coping with the side effects of treatments. For Jensen, sanity came in the form of yoga. For nearly nine years, Jensen has practiced yoga routinely and she’s been an instructor for three, where she’s worked in studios located in Los Angeles, New York and Connecticut.
As a way to show her appreciation to Dana-Farber, Jensen has registered as a PMC virtual rider. Virtual riders are people who are passionate about raising money for cancer research and identify with the PMC, but do not ride PMC weekend. Virtual riders raise money by riding their bikes along different routes or they fundraise in other ways to garner more supporters’ pledges.
Last month, Jensen launched Yoga Warriors Fighting Cancer, a yoga-wear clothing line she designed together with her twin sister Eliza Daly. Jensen’s line consists of yoga tank tops and t-shirts. Yoga Warriors Fighting Cancer clothes can be found at yoga studios in New York, Connecticut, Los Angeles and Massachusetts and online.
All proceeds from Jensen’s clothing line will go directly to the PMC’s campaign to raise money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“Though I can’t ride PMC weekend, I continue to find ways to support Dana-Farber,” said Jensen. “The doctors and nurses at Dana-Farber gave me my life back. They also gave me a second chance at life and also as a mother to my five-year-old daughter, Heather. I am extremely proud to be a PMC virtual rider.”
Becky Ardiff Jensen aims to raise $3,000 for the PMC. To donate to Jensen’s virtual ride, visit her PMC profile page.