Rochester, MN 06/18-06/19

Pastor Taylor from our stayover in LaCrosse rode with us in the am. Taking the “scenic route” we started the day with some big old hills… and they never really stopped… they actually got worse, thanks to added head wind. With the knee, this becomes quite a challenging day and we had a 5pm arrival deadline so I had to jump in the van around mile 55 in order to insure making time. Being shoved in the backseat with bags and bikes, I instantly fell asleep, and was woken up by the van door being opened and my body falling out, ha. But when I exited, it was my dream come true. I stepped out of the van and there it was, Mayo Clinic. My future standing in front of me (I hope).

The Hope Lodge is a building in Rochester, in connection with Mayo Clinic and ACS, providing a home for those undergoing cancer treatment and for their care takers. Our group was fortunate enough to get a tour of the building and speak with some residents. Myself, Pi, Steve, and Eamon dropped off in the middle of the tour after meeting Rudy Butteri and his family. I was drawn into a game of “BananaGrams” and the boys were drawn in by Rudy’s stories of working out and push-ups. Kyle and Greg joined us and we went outside and did a Portraits interview with him… it was amazing to say the least. This 81 year old man was hands down the most inspiring person I have met on the trip thus far. From the way he praised his wife, to the way he spoke of his fight when handling his treatment, we were all extremely touched. Sue, his daughter, brought out left over pizza for us as well as fruit and juice and being savages, we devoured it. After talking with him for hours and taking pictures, Sue generously handed over her BananaGrams game and some of us picked up purple Hope bracelets from the lodge. I’ve collected 3 of these bracelets over the trip to keep on my wrist as a constant reminder of why I’m doing this and who I’m fighting for. When we hit the Rockies and I’m looking down struggling, I’ll know that my purple Hope bracelet is for Rudy, and his amazing family.

Saturday was as rest day for the team, and a number of us woke up early and headed to the laundromat. Once our clothes were so fresh and so clean clean, we headed over to Mayo Clinic for a tour of the Cancer Center library. Sarah Christensen was the woman generous enough to come in on her day off and provide us with this tour. Mayo is beautiful… from the people who work there, to the to the actual building, I only hope that one day, I’ll be fortunate enough to be a part of the Mayo Foundation (There is one in Scottsdale, I’m working on it!!)

Let’s see, what else can I update you all on… Well, my butt feels better today, Priscilla’s too… and, I think that’s all I have for now. I hope you are all enjoying my blog as much as I enjoy sharing the stories. (: (: This trip is awesome, I wish everyone was lucky enough to have this opportunity.

Comments (3)
  • Caitlin Griffin says:

    Keep it up! I expect you to rep the South Side in good deeds!

  • donna kalis says:

    Hi Lauren,
    So insightful and fun reading your blogs. Glad you awoke to Mayo Clinic. I’m starting to feel icky from the chemo, but I smile when I think about what a blessing it is to focus on the teams’ efforts. Thank you. PLEASE share this thanks with the others. Praying for everyone. Love, Donna

  • Sue Chelf says:

    You guys are amazing. Just talked to my dad-Rudy Butteri he and I agreed that our time with you was truly one of the best days of our lives. He was so inspired by all of the bikers. The fact that you listened to his story and spent so much time with him is something we will never forget. I have to agree that my dad and mom (Rudy and Vickie) have inspired me my entire life. I feel blessed to have them as parents as we share this cancer journey as a family. THANK YOU FOR ALL OF THE TIME YOU SPENT AT HOPE HOUSE. You are now honorary family members. If you are ever in Houston please call.

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