Cindy Fisher doesn’t participate in Tri for a Cure anymore but she still gets to experience the feeling of crossing the finish line.
Fisher has been volunteering at the Maine Cancer Foundation’s annual triathlon every year since its inception in 2008. She’s been the finish-line coordinator since last year. The Brunswick resident greets the finishers and makes sure everyone gets a medal and a water bottle. It’s rewarding to help people right after they finish the race, which consists of a one-third-mile swim, a 15-mile bike ride and a 3-mile run.
“The women, they’re all so happy when they cross the finish line. They’re exhausted, but they’re happy,” she says.
Fisher gets to see participants when they’re the most exhilarated. At the beginning of the race, that’s not always the case. “In the morning everyone is nervous, but for us watching, it’s fun. It’s a big party.”
She understands the nerves because she used to do the triathlon herself. She’s been volunteering in a number of roles since the beginning, even in the years she competed. The event is important to Fisher not only because she’s had friends who died from cancer and friends who suffer from it, but because she had it herself. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2000, but is now free of the disease.
As a cancer survivor, she’s grateful because “it used to be a death sentence.” When she was first diagnosed, it was terrifying. “It’s really hard when you’re a mom and have little kids and are told you have cancer. It’s like, will I be around for them?” She’s since learned that while cancer played a large role in her life, it hasn’t taken away her control. “Cancer doesn’t mean your life is over. It means you’ve had this stupid thing interfere with your life.”
Fisher is drawn to Tri for a Cure because of the work of the Maine Cancer Foundation. “The mission’s really good,” she says. “They’re raising money for research to try to find a cure.” She could volunteer anywhere, but Tri for a Cure is important to her because she knows it makes an impact—“you know you’re helping a worthy cause.”
Knowing that she’s playing a small role in preventing cancer from affecting others is rewarding, and that’s why most people participate or volunteer, she says. “Is anybody untouched by cancer? It’s everywhere.”
While participating in the triathlon is exhausting, volunteering isn’t, and Fisher plans to volunteer for as long as she can. “It’s hard to get tired of it. It’s really fun.”