Team Rynkeby documentary shown on national television in Denmark in the autumn 2016.
TR Press UK - 06-07-2018
Sigrid is in her father’s thoughts all the way to Paris
Lasse Brix Søeby’s daughter, Sigrid, is very much in the thoughts of the young North Jutlander on his way to Paris. Sigrid died of cancer just two and a half years old.
Stage 6, Villers-Semeuse: Bruce Springsteen’s “Tougher Than the Rest” is playing at full blast on the accompanying music system as riders from Team Rynkeby Nordjylland finally swing into the Ibis Hotel’s car park, where they are received by an applauding service team.
The time is 21:15 and the riders are several hours late.
A crash that required treatment, and a longer detour on small gravel roads in a forest on the border with France caused the timetable to slide off track.
However, despite the late arrival, the atmosphere is good as the riders talk through the day’s stage in small groups in the car park.
On a bench next to the hotel’s main entrance, a little away from the other riders, sits Lasse Brix Søeby.
Next to him is his bicycle, which bears the mark of the many kilometers in inhospitable terrain.
The Springsteen song, which played when the team arrived, is in harmony with the two words written on the 30-year-old North Jutlander’s rims.
“Tough Sigrid”, it says.
Rare form of cancer
Sigrid was Lasse’s daughter. She was seven months old when she was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer.
“Her belly had started to grow and it seemed like she had constipation. So we took her to the doctor. On the very same day, we were sent to the hospital where we were told that it was liver cancer – it was a tumour in the liver,” says Lasse.
That was in February 2015.
“At first they could not say what form of cancer it was. But later they found out that it was an extremely rare brain tumour that was in the liver. At that time there were only three or four children in the whole of Denmark who had ever had that type of cancer, so the doctors knew little about it,” he continues.
Sigrid successfully completed the first course of treatment at Skejby Hospital. And after a month of proton treatment in the United States and an operation at Rigshospitalet, she was declared cancer-free in May 2016.
But two months later she became ill again.
“The cancer had spread to the lung and to the pleural cavity and to the diaphragm. They tried different therapies, but there wasn’t really anything that helped. At the beginning of December 2016 we ended up at Rigshospitalet for experimental treatment,” says Lasse, deeply affected by the tragic events.
Shortly after the new year, on 4 January 2017, Sigrid was scanned, and the doctors had to recognise that there was nothing more they could do for Sigrid and the treatment was discontinued.
“She was actually feeling okay. So we spent the last time having some experiences together with her. The Children’s Cancer Foundation helped us a great deal. In addition, a collection was taken up so that we could have some experiences with her,” he says.
Three weeks later on 29 January 2017, Sigrid passed away – just two and a half years old.
Sigrid on the chest
Sigrid’s illness and death have made a deep impact on Lasse – and the experience also ended up costing the relationship between Lasse and Sigrid’s mother, Nicoline.
“During the first part of Sigrid’s cancer treatment we were brought closer together. But in the second part we drifted farther apart and we are now divorced. It was simply too hard for us,” says Lasse, who sent his application to Team Rynkeby shortly after Sigrid’s death.
“I knew I had to have something to look forward to. And I got it,” he says.
“It has been absolutely amazing to join the team and become part of this community. It’s been the greatest experience. We are all doing this for the same purpose – and it’s just so big,” he continues.
In addition to the tribute to his daughter on his rims, there are also three pictures of Sigrid on Lasse’s yellow Team Rynkeby racer. And he’s also had Sigrid’s face tattooed on his chest.
“Sigrid is extremely present for me on this ride. I think of her all the time. She is my motivation to be part of this,” says Lasse, and he can’t hold back the tears.
“It will be so amazing to ride into Paris on Saturday. It’s indescribable.”
You can follow the last of Lasse’s and the rest of Team Rynkeby’s ride to Paris on www.team-rynkeby.com/LIVE2018 - Team Rynkeby will also broadcast the arrival in Paris LIVE on Facebook Saturday from 13:30-14:30.
This story has been translated into English by Semantix Translations Denmark A/S.