Help Me Make a Difference.
After missing a year, from July 20 - 22, 2018 I will be rejoining the Red Ribbon Ride, as a member of Team Shalom.
Last year, I was physically and psychologialy unable to participate. During training season I was recovering from removal of my prostate and three weeks later we put my father to rest.
This year, recovered from surgery, and with all signs looking positive for successful treatment of cancer, I am biking again, stronger than before and I am looking forward to riding with Team Shalom and others again. But as I do I have a different perspective.
Today, as I think of someone struggling with HIV/AIDS I think of my own journey to hopefully rid my body of cancer and my father’s to the end of life. I think of the throws of uncertainty of how long I would live; the routine medical appointments to check on the status of the disease; the loneliness of the journey despite the compassionate and skillful support of family, friends, colleagues and caring professionals; the excellent care I received; the high cost and awareness of how lucky I am to have insurance to cover most of the cost and be able to afford my share. I think of the loving care we were able to give my father so that his last days and hours could be surrounded by family in my parents living room where he had watched sports and comedy shows , humming birds and sunsets with my mom and guests for many years.
As my mind drifts back from our experience to the Red Ribbon Ride I think, “Every person deserves this kind of care!”
So, will you join me in supporting the organizations that benefit from the Red Ribbon Ride? Your donation goes directly to help prevent the spread of HIV; provides comfort like my father received; and advocates for the care, like I received, for people who are affected by it and AIDS.
Thank you for your support!
My Personal Web Log
Red Ribbon Ride 2018 Wrap
What I love most about biking is experiencing the shape and slope of the land, the forever changing panorama, the beauty of nature, and never knowing what is around the next corner.
The first day on the Ride I set out to do the 86 mile route, but when I reached the lunch pit and felt fresh, I decided to join the 100 mile riders. I knew they had some miles on me already, so I tagged on an extra four, riding up and down the Munger trail at the end of the day before pulling into camp. I finished feeling strong after 101 miles and planned for 68 on Sunday.
Sunday morning was cloudy in the low sixties with 82% humidity and a headwind from 5-6 MPH. I felt nauseated and headachy pulling into the pit around mile 26. A little disappointed, but wanting to respect my body's needs, I decided to finish the day out with 38 miles. 241 miles in 7 days, including the training the weekend before, was ok with me.
Biking back to camp, I was just behind one of the riders whom I have known since my first year of the RRR. As we entered the town of Willow River we decided to grab some lunch. In the middle of swapping stories of our ancestor's emigration to the US, he burst into tears. When I asked what happened, he explained that other than February 20th, the anniversary of his partner's death from AIDS, the last day of the ride is the hardest day of the year from him.
He poured out the story of losing the love of his life to AIDS in the early days of the Pandemic. Since then he has lost 47 other friends. He talked about his guilt for surviving; the pain regarding his lover's family not call him they day he died; their burying him before he could be at the funeral; refusing to tell him where he was buried and giving the piano he bought him away to a church which opposes homosexuality. There was a touch of healing strength in his voice as he told the story of recently locating and visiting his grave.
There are moments like this that no one can plan for -- it is like the road we have never traveled before. Something like this on and off the road happens on every ride. It may be inspired by the stories and endurance of Positive Peddlers or others affected directly by HIV/AIDS, like his or the letters written by children who have attended Camp Heartland. I will post a few of their letters
The beneficiaries and I are grateful for your support. It is not too late to donate if you haven't already. My web page has more information about the organizations that benefit and a link for making donations.
by Bill Cooper on Sun, Jul 29, 2018 @ 6:31 AM
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