Tricia Ritschard was excited about The Ride—the bicycle fundraiser for cancer research at the University of Wisconsin. She planned to cheer on her friends at the starting line, but she was too sick to make it.

Patti Batt and several of Tricia’s other close friends were riding in her honor. “I had biked with Tricia previously,” Patti says. “She was a very strong biker and a very good athlete. We had done all sorts of things together. As hard as it was for her not be able to be there, she was super-excited about us riding in her name.”

Tricia was 45 and nearing the end of her life. Three years earlier, she had been experiencing hip pain. Her doctor thought she had some kind of hip flexor injury—a likely explanation given her physically demanding job as a package courier and her many athletic pursuits. She was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and soon after fractured her hip, where the cancer had spread.

Patti was by Tricia’s side throughout much of her chemo and radiation therapy at UW Carbone Cancer Center.

“I’ve watched several loved ones die from cancer, and I’ve gotten a gift from each of them as I’ve gone through this process with them,” Patti says. “They have helped me appreciate life and focus on the things that matter. Even this last year, Tricia was the one who was always saying, ‘You have to think positive thoughts.’ She was always building up other people and focusing on the good.”

Although the end of Tricia’s life was difficult, Patti is grateful that her friend was able to enjoy a good deal of quality time in her final years and for the expertise and compassionate care of the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

“There were so many special people at the Carbone Cancer Center,” Patti says. “There were times when I was there sleeping in that little chair while holding the hand of my friend and a nurse or another staff member would come in and ask if I needed a pillow. It’s a small thing, but when you’re sleep-deprived and your heart’s breaking as you’re going through all this, it makes a difference.”

Patti will participate in The Ride again this year, along with other friends as part of Team Tricia, to support UW cancer research, remember her friend and heal.

“I feel broken since I lost my friend,” Patti says. “I’m doing this to honor her, but it’s also a way for me to heal. One of the best parts of The Ride last year was when my friends and I exchanged stories with other participants. It was a great bonding experience.”

In addition to Tricia’s story, Patti told the stories of her two friends, one with breast cancer and the other with ovarian cancer, who are doing well after being treated at the UW Carbone Cancer Center. “I want to be able to tell more stories like these,” Patti says. “The funding for research generated through The Ride gives me hope that I will.”

Donate now to Patti and Team Tricia.