Home: A Brief Interlude

This trip is an incredible experience. Already, I am amazed by so many things that I will have a hard time describing; but all the same, I will try my best.

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who has donated to this cause. Cancer is a clear and present danger, and whether or not you donated in my name, I feel touched by the¬†generosity¬†that people have shown, and still continue to do so, for this cause. In particular, I’d like to mention the special support of the fraternity brothers of my father. While I have met only a few of them, their support for the ride and for me has been tremendously encouraging. While cancer took my father away from me before my second birthday, I know what a great guy he must have been to inspire such warmth in his name from his brothers. I have no idea how to respond to you guys, but it seems like this small offer of doing what I love to do and riding my bicycle is not nearly enough.

I think it’s important that everyone be made clear as to how this whole trip began. While the purpose of the organization, raising awareness and money for cancer research, seemed like a good idea at the time, I really just wanted to bike across the country when I started. I figured that a good cause was a good excuse, and there was none better than to ride for such a relevant disease. I’ve come to realize that that is no longer why I ride. While my passion for cycling has far from diminished, I’ve been touched by the responses I’ve gotten from people when I told them we were riding for cancer. After getting money from people we pass on the street, getting food donations from people who want to support us (they’re supporting us because we’re supporting the cause) and just listening to people as they talk about how cancer has affected their lives, I’ve seen that the reason to ride is much larger than myself. And while I do get bragging rights (I can’t wait to say to my grandchildren, “When I was your age, I rode my bicycle across the country. Do you even know what a bicycle is?”) that fact that this money can make a tangible difference in the lives of so many others is simply incredible. I’ve heard about some of the progress that is being made in terms of creating vaccines that may prevent certain types of cancer. That is just unbelievable to think that I could be helping anyone-at-some-point-ever be spared this tragedy, and them not being any the wiser that they were even at risk. I could go on and on about specific stories about how individuals have shaped this inclination, but that wouldn’t fit in one blog post.

And on so many other levels has this trip been eye-opening. To name just one thing, I’m going to talk about one particular story that I don’t know what all you know about, but one that has made quite an impact on me. Jeff Reardon broke his bike on the second day; I’m sure you probably already knew that. But what I’m not sure if you know about is how he responded to that. He took that heartbreaking incident in stride. His bike was rendered unridable, and that same day he was helping out in the van, and keeping his cool. I know that I would have exploded in frustration if this had happened to me, and we should all be glad that it hasn’t. Because then, we’d have a problem. Instead, we have Jeff. He kept his anger at bay and not once did I see him snap or appear anything less than positive. I barely knew him at the time, but all I can say is that I wished I had the strength that he had to get back on the road. And even after having more unique bike issues that would push anyone else past the tipping point, I don’t know of anyone else who could have done what he did. So, Jeff, way to go. You get the frustrations, but you also inspire others to live like you do. I’ve heard more complaints about big hills than I’ve heard from you, and that is incredible.

There has been just so much going on here that I can’t tell about. It’s about a team, a goal, and a journey that exists within the riders. And from there, we try to share what we can, to repay what is shared with us.

Comments (3)
  • Colette Whicker says:

    I am guessing you are all beginning to understand in reality the strength in what Greg has written..”It’s about a team, a goal, and a journey that exists within the riders.”

  • donna kalis says:

    Greg, Thank you so much for your endeavor. Your personal family background touched me. My grandson is presently a little over a month from his second birthday. Last July is when I was diagnosed with brain cancer. God has walked me through each day and for some reason, I’m doing great. Want to thank you and your co-cyclists. They have had me on Temodar, a chemo med fairly recently put into standard practice, since a sucessful clinical trial. Wanted to personally share that the research/funding makes a difference. Visited with Lauren Mazurski at her home in Chicago, on Saturday 6/12/10. I will keep you and the team in prayer. Love, Donna Kalis( on the back of t-shirt)

  • Thanks for taking the time to share! You are inspiring!!!

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