"I am no longer the couch potato. I'm someone who bikes 25 miles which is fantastic," said Denise Valentine.
Denise Valentine is gearing up to participate in the CT Challenge for the second year in a row, and she's doing it as a thriver.
"This has been not just a physical experience, but a mental experience for me. I had to change some of the ways I thought about things."
Valentine was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in 2012. During her treatment she learned about the CT Challenge and its Center for Survivorship.
"They have all of these great classes and I got involved with yoga and meditation and they have the health food and that concept. And they have spin, and I have a love-hate relationship with that spin class," Valentine said.
Valentine says through her journey to becoming a suvivor, she learned more about herself, changing her lifestyle, losing 20 pounds and embracing the Center.
"I don't believe its just one thing. Someone sometimes thinks you loose the weight and you're done and you kind of need to support yourself with a network of different methods to try to bring you into a good place."
For Valentine, the challenge is a unique event that does not put and emphasis on coming in first
"It's not about being in a race," she says. "It's not about some sort of fire drill that you have to get out there and do it. It's more like this opportunity to take a long beautiful bike ride though a wonderful neighborhood with lots of trees and beautiful surrounding and just be with everyone else with a common cause."
Valentine will ride in the 25-mile leg of the two-day bike ride on Saturday, July 26th at the Fairfield County Hunt Club in Westport. Valentine’s life partner, Paul Shelley, will ride in the 50-mile leg.
People can support Valentine and the Challenge by making an online donation on her fundraising page -http://2014ctchallenge.kintera.org/denisev
For more information about the event, visit bike.ctchallenge.org.