Charlotte author shares book about cancer at Literary Bookpost
By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY – Charlotte-based author Tamela Rich unknowingly became an advocate for cancer while riding a motorcycle crosscountry with a pink bra strapped to the front.
Rich had a bankrupt business that she owned and in 2010 and 2011 was in search for a good cause when the cause fell into her lap.
She wrote a book about the people she met on her 32 state and three Canadian province ride. Rich, who at first did not know how to ride a motorcycle, began gathering stories of loss and love in the wake of breast cancer along the way.”I have not had cancer, but my life has been enriched by people whose lives have been affected by it,” she said.
Her book, “Live Full Throttle: Life Lessons from Friends Who Faced Cancer” was published in December.
Rich was on hand Monday night at the Literary Bookpost as part of the Reading Between the Wines Book Club.
The event was in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The event was sponsored by the Rowan Regional Breast Health Center, Cruiserworks Motorcycle Gear, Literary Bookpost and the Salisbury Writers and Artists Guild, Inc. (SWAG).
About a dozen people gathered to hear Rich tell her story at the downtown book store.
She was asked to help someone write a book but didn’t want to fly. Rich decided she’d ride a motorcycle, but didn’t know how to ride. She eventually connected with BMW, who taught her how to ride and sponsored her trip.
In the beginning cancer had nothing to do with her trek, but the idea soon came.
Rich joined several groups along the way including Women Who Ride – Conga for a Cause, a women’s motorcycle group who raise money for cancer research.
The women had pink feather boas decorated on their motorcycles and then someone had the idea to put pink bras across the windshield.
“No matter where I stopped, people would approach me,” Rich said.
Some people just wanted to talk about how cancer had affected their lives.
Rich told of a small town in Wyoming, population 50, where the men pitched in and raised money.
The book focuses on eight lessons learned on the road.
When people get a cancer diagnosis the first thing that enters their mind is, “I’m going to die,” Rich said.
“The truth is that is all of our stories,” she said.
What she encouraged the audience to do is live life to the fullest.
“People who have cancer think about their lives in a different way,” she said.
Sarah Zander attended the book event with her best friend and son.
Zander is a three-year breast cancer survivor. Her dog, Daisy, unknowingly discovered the peach-sized lump in her right breast.
A month later, bacon grease popped on her chest and Zander felt the lump her dog had sniffed around.
Zander felt the lump on a Sunday and on Monday she was in her doctors’ office for a mammogram.
The doctor confirmed cancer was in her lymph nodes and in her right breast.
She had surgery along with rounds of chemotherapy. When her hair literally began blowing away in the wind, Zander decided it was time.
Her best friend shaved her head and styled a pink mohawk.
Zander attended because she, “wanted to hear her talk,” she said.
She is thrilled that stories like those in the book are, “getting out there,” Zander said.
Rich speaks to the medical, community and business groups about her experiences and the lessons she learned about life through her travels on the road.
For more about Tamela Rich, go to www.tamelarich.com.