A Note from Fatty: Dustin Brady works for Shimano. His fiancé, Michelle, had the same kind of cancer Susan had. It progressed about the same way, and they tried similar treatments. Dustin and I started talking as we each tried to find ways to accomplish something (anything) in the fight against cancer, and have become good friends. Thanks in large part to the incentives Dustin and Shimano have provided, Team Fatty has become a real fundraising force in the fight against cancer.
Dustin has asked me if I could publish this letter, and I’m more than happy to.
To the readers of Fat Cyclist:
My name is Dustin Brady (the secret Shimano Guy) and I’ve asked Elden to share this letter with you.
I would like to in as short as possible tell you of my beautiful fiancé who passed away Monday night and share of her amazing spirit, smile and sass that made those around her smile.
I met Michelle through a friend at Interbike in 2005. I wasn’t looking to meet anyone at the time … but I guess that is when you meet someone great … when you least expect it. Her genuine smile captivated me … it wasn’t flirty … it was just who she was. When I learned she lived fairly close to me … I asked if I could take her to dinner and that I would drive up to see her. She replied, “You’re not getting any but sure.” From that point, I knew I liked her … she wasn’t afraid to give anyone crap and she stood on her own.
She turned out to be someone I loved and connected with on so many levels. She was beautiful, she loved to travel, she liked to ride and she followed cycling. As a kid she competitively water skied. She appreciated nice things but was casual just like me … shorts, shirts, sandals … no problem. And I would not remember her properly if I didn’t say she was fiercely independent. She had great style and she cared about others often more than herself … she was sarcastic … and in time I knew she loved me back.
When we traveled, she didn’t care if it was a hostel or a nice hotel. Her smile and energy guided her everywhere and their wasn’t anyone she couldn’t connect with…this energy and outright positivity would carry her through her fight with cancer.
About 2 ½ years ago she first learned of her cancer. As a lot of you know … it is a roller coaster of a ride. Peaks and valleys … it was at this time I first chatted with Elden … our fight was strong, Susan’s and Elden’s fight was strong, and as I read all of your comments to his postings I learned that your fight was strong … and this is why we wanted to help fight with all of you this BS known as cancer.
As Susan fought, so did Michelle … her sass, her smile, and her energy helped me face her battle. Her desire to live each day to the fullest was always there but she kicked it up to 11 and we did just that … Lived each day to the fullest. I gave her everything I could … a trip to Greece, a ring and my commitment to her for the rest of my life.
As we lived and fought, the cancer did slow her down … and while we moved slower … we were still giving it our all.
In her last days she truly lived each day to the fullest … she was pinning it so hard, she was wearing her mother and me out. The last activity she did before going to bed on July 4th was to light and toss a firecracker for the 4th of July. When asked if she wanted to light that fire cracker, her eyes literally opened wide and she nodded clearly and concisely. The point of this story … she had a lust for life and lived each and every day of her life to the fullest.
I will continue to fight with you all and I thank you for all you have done to support Elden in his fight. Elden has the soap box, I can arrange the goods, but without all of you, we have nothing.
PS from Fatty: If you like to write cards of encouragement, it would mean the world to Michelle and Dustin if you send Michelle’s mother a card. It would be great if you can tell her in your own words that she raised a beautiful and spirited woman that lived and honored all of those who share in the fight.
PO Box 419
Fulton, CA 95439