Why We Ride: Robyn Goldman 

Robyn is the Community & Customer Coordinator at Steam Whistle Brewery. After leaving Steam Whistle in 2019 after 5 years, she returned as Office Manager in Aug 2021 and has been a critical Good Beer Folk coming out of the pandemic. You might say “you can take the girl out of the brewery, but not […]

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June 9, 2022

Robyn is the Community & Customer Coordinator at Steam Whistle Brewery. After leaving Steam Whistle in 2019 after 5 years, she returned as Office Manager in Aug 2021 and has been a critical Good Beer Folk coming out of the pandemic. You might say “you can take the girl out of the brewery, but not the brewery out of the girl.”  

What inspired you to get involved with the Ride? 

My first time participating in “The Ride” was in 2017. Steam Whistle always had a large team, and I felt it was a way to support a great benefit and spend time with my co-workers (and enjoy a few cold ones after). 

This year, my inspiration has changed slightly. Being diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in October 2021, I knew this was a no-brainer. Plus, being treated at PMH added another element of why I felt I needed to ride this year.  

What’s your favourite part about the Ride? 

There are so many. The opening ceremony is life-changing (if it isn’t, you don’t have a heart). The pitstops along the way (because of the food and a chance to catch up with team mates), the beer, and of course the finish line. 

What are you expecting/dreading/excited about? 

Dreading? Are you serious… the hills up the Escarpment – IYKYK. The weather is also a key player in the event during that time of year.  

My expectations are one takeaway from going through cancer treatment –  prepare for the worst, and hope for the best (that seemed to help me). 

I’m excited to ride alongside so many people who are there for each other and working towards the shared goal of seeing the end of Cancer in our lifetime. 

How has Cancer affected your life personally? 

You can’t prepare for “the call.” I was in the office at the Roundhouse when I received it on October 21st at 11:42 am. I was hysterical. At 34 years old – I felt my world crumble in front of me.   

A week after being diagnosed with TNBC, my then-boyfriend broke up with me. Processing I have Cancer, I relocated and moved home to my parents for support, fertility and egg freezing treatment (daily for 2 weeks), numerous doctor appointments, and scans and tests.  

Time off work, and of course, the actual side effects from treatment: medically induced menopause due to chemotherapy, insomnia from the steroids, financial, social, and emotional trauma etc. and those are just the personal and physical ones.  

Cancer doesn’t just affect me. It affects my entire life: friendships, relationships, employment and coworkers. I make the personal decision not to stop working. For me working was constant. It was accountability and routine. That’s not the case for everyone; you have people that choose to stop, have to stop or wish they could but can’t for so many reasons.  

The entire Steam Whistle family supported me and continues to help me through this journey. I am beyond grateful to work here.  

I decided to participate in RUBY, a Canadian study from the University of Calgary which stands for Reducing the Burden of Breast Cancer in Young Women. It’s a 4-year study where I will share my challenges with all things related to women under 40 diagnosed with Cancer—relationships/dating/marriage, fertility, careers, finances, early diagnosis etc. I encourage anyone diagnosed with BC under 40 to see if they are eligible to participate. It’s our legacy.  

What has your experience with Princess Margaret been? 

Hospitals can be scary and cold. But at PMH, my experience has been nothing short of amazing. Walking in, I felt safe and in the right hands. I have always been trusting and vulnerable and going through this experience, I genuinely had to put all my trust into the medical team and science.  

What advice would you give anyone who is going through what you went through? 

  1. Take a deep breath 
  1. Stay off Google 
  1. Get a calendar 
  1. Use support groups. These groups saved my life. They taught me about Cancer. I found my cancer sponsor (the unofficial name I have given my friend, whom I call every week). She is a survivor and gives me the heads up or answers). Then be a cancer sponsor until I hope these groups are nothing but “Survivor Roll-calls” one day.  Below are a few that were a big support to me.

….But, and there’s a but – understand everyone’s experience is different, and there might be things that trigger you.  

I found myself saying, “what you don’t know, you don’t know”.  

  1. Give yourself time and space to honour the emotions you will experience. Try and be present. Give yourself time to process the trauma and grieve.  
  1.  Get a therapist* – for me, Cancer’s effect on my mental health has outweighed the physical effect x 10000.  
  1. Everyone knows someone who has gone through Cancer. And when your friend from 5th grade tells you that they have a second aunt who had ___________, that it is coming from a place of good and they mean well and trying to identify common ground and show support.  
  1. Remember: You’re not alone.  

How are you preparing for the ride? 

TEAM STEAM, BABY!!! We ride for beer. I suggest training and getting some quality km’s beforehand. 220+ km’s (yeah, it’s more than 200, but they don’t tell you that). Also make sure your bike is tuned up beforehand.  

ALSO fundraising, getting a group and creating a team. Use your network. 

Throw a bad-ass party to raise the fundraising goal! Get creative. I deleveloped a “Yoga Untapped” series, which grew to bring 90 beer loving yogis to the brewery each Sunday leading up to The Ride.

What words of advice would you give to people that are considering participating next year? 

The Ride to Conquer Cancer was something I didn’t know I needed in my life. The camaraderie and sense of accomplishment you walk away with are more significant than anything I have. You don’t have to be an expert rider to do it. Is it hard, yes? But aren’t all great things in life hard?