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Tour de Pink raises awareness, money

Two healthy children are a testament to Wendy Sandelin's strength as a breast cancer survivor -- son Ryan is 12 and daughter Katie 5. Family faith and good counsel from the Young Survival Coalition have aided Sandelin's journey since being diagno...

Two healthy children are a testament to Wendy Sandelin's strength as a breast cancer survivor -- son Ryan is 12 and daughter Katie 5.

Family faith and good counsel from the Young Survival Coalition have aided Sandelin's journey since being diagnosed at age 30. She's now on the organization's advisory board in Duluth and is an advocate for young women.

She's also a fund raiser with the Tour de Pink, which has a bike ride Saturday on the Willard Munger State Trail, starting in Carlton. In last year's inaugural event, there were 100 riders who raised $53,064, said Duluth affiliate program manager Alane Davis.

Sandelin, 43, from Hermantown, rode in the 2010 YSC East Coast Ride, 200 miles over three days from Hershey, Pa., to New York City, raising $5,000, and will be part of the 200-mile West Coast Ride on Oct. 14-16 from Thousand Oaks, Calif., to Malibu, Calif.

"Our message to young women with breast cancer is 'You are not alone.' I was unaware there was such an organization until I saw a survivor talking about her life on the Oprah Winfrey Show," said Sandelin, a nurse anesthetist and wife of Minnesota Duluth men's hockey coach, Scott Sandelin. "I was so happy to know there were women in my situation and my age I could talk to."

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Two weeks after turning 30 in 1998, and 7½ months pregnant, Sandelin was diagnosed and five days later had surgery. Ryan Sandelin was born eight weeks later, one week early, at 7 pounds, 6 ounces, on Jan. 3. 1999. At the time, the Sandelins lived in Grand Forks, N.D., where Scott, a Hibbing native, was an assistant coach at the University of North Dakota. He took the UMD job in March of 2000.

Katie Sandelin was born Jan. 24, 2006.

"All I wanted was to have a safe delivery and a healthy boy," said Wendy Sandelin, who grew up in Maryland and attended Penn State, and has been married 19 years. "We were so happy that everything went well, but then were told I likely wouldn't be able to have another child. That expectation, thankfully, was wrong."

The YSC, formed in 1998 and now with 23 regional affiliates, offers educational resources and a support network, including SurvivorLink, which matches a YSC volunteer with a young woman sharing a similar diagnosis or concern. Sandelin is a participant with the Duluth affiliate, which began in 2005.

Biking has become part of her life the last two years to train for the Tour de Pink and stay in shape. Sandelin says she rides in the Hermantown area at least every other day during the summer on a Giant Bicycles road bike and has gotten some training assistance from Duluth's Ski Hut.

To donate to the Duluth Tour de Pink or find information on the ride, contact www.ysctourdepink.org or call (218) 491-7195.

Related Topics: HEALTHHOCKEY
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