Supporting a Bicycle Leader in Need: Shay’s Story

(Note: The following e-mail  and pictures were sent to everyone on Cyclists Inciting Change Through Live Exchange’s email list.  On a personal note, I knew of CICLE and their dynamic duo “LizandShay” as they were listed in my notes, before I moved here and sought them out upon arrival.  We wish her well, and encourage you to support her recovery, if for no other reason than anyone who bikes in Greater Los Angeles owes her a thank you. – DN)

Shay in 2011, with the assistance of a wheelchair, leads an event called Walk & Roll. An equivalent to Urban Expeditions for people with limited mobility. While fighting her illness she is still on two wheels helping people.

Dear C.I.C.L.E.ists and Bike Community Friends,

I am writing to ask for support for Shay Shanchez, the founder of C.I.C.L.E.  Those of us who knew Shay during her tenure, remember her for the love and compassion she effortlessly shared.  For those who do not know Shay, she selflessly worked to improve the community and touched people’s lives by setting them free with human-powered mobility.  Shay built C.I.C.L.E. into a thriving organization with passionate dedication, often putting in much of her personal time and resources.  Due to Shay’s long-term struggle with Lupus, she designed an innovative approach to bicycle transportation that made biking accessible for people of all ability levels – a legacy that C.I.C.L.E. continues today.

Shay has been suffering quietly for the past three years.  She has had several brushes with death and has permanently lost her mobility due to Lupus Vasculitis.  If Shay has personally, or through her organization, touched your life, I ask you to consider making a contribution to herpersonal Kick Butt and Get Better Fund.  Shay and her partner have incurred and are facing heavy costs to improve her quality of life.  C.I.C.L.E. is also planning a community bicycle event for Shay in October.  More details will be included in the e-newsletter.  Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and donationconsideration.

Sincerely,
Dan Dabek
Executive Director, C.I.C.L.E.

More About Shay

An iconic picture of Shay in 2008

Shay Wiessler Sanchez was a vibrant and spunky 39 year old, who founded and was at the helm of her own growing and influential nonprofit organization. But in 2009, her life took a horrible, and life-threatening, turn for the worse. Her decade-long struggle with Lupus manifested into an aggressive form of vasculitis. Her immune system suddenly decided to attack her own arteries and blood vessels.

In order to heal, Shay was forced to quit her position at her nonprofit, C.I.C.L.E., and immediately embark upon an aggressive treatment program. Working with renowned UCLA Rheumatologist Dr. Bevra Hahn, Shay commenced a daily regimen of immunosuppressant agents, including chemotherapy, in order to put a halt to the rapidly progressing disease and maintain a fighting chance.

For the past two years, she has struggled to gain control over this potentially deadly disease. With a careful and strategic medical  strategy, her team of doctors have managed to bring Shay into a relatively stable condition. But the aggressive pharmaceutical protocol took an unfortunate toll on her body. The treatments, in conjunction with the disease, have left her wheelchair bound, in pain and unable to independently care for herself.  Recently, Shay has partially lost her ability to swallow and breath on her own while sleeping.  Doctors believe that the cause is Myasthenia Gravis (MG), which is linked the the autoimmune diseases like Lupus.  Unfortunately, her situation continues to ebb and flow and the threat of relapse constantly looms – lupus vasculitis is a remitting and relapsing disease with no cure.

This continued and prolonged fight for Shay’s health has delivered a significant financial blow to Shay and her partner. Shay currently requires new rounds of medical treatment and a continued high level of medical care. Additional financial support from the community is readily needed to improve her drastically reduced quality of life and provide healthcare equipment and services not provide by insurance.

The Shay’s Kick Butt and Get Better Fundwas launched to provide assistance with this fight — so that Shay can finally kick this beast in the belly, and get the support that she needs in order to gain a second chance with a relatively good quality of life.