hello, idaho

We entered Idaho yesterday, and let’s just say that it has been beyond amazing. Upon crossing the border, we were greeted only five miles later by a lovely cafe in Victor, ID who offered us all free lunch! We were blessed with sandwiches, chips, and oatmeal cream pies. Later that day, we arrived at the stayover in Idaho Falls and were welcomed by the Calvary Baptist Church. After a long day (95 miles with a few huge climbs) the dinner they prepared us really hit the spot! After dinner, we were taken over to Apple Athletic Club to shower. Yet, if showers weren’t enough, they let us use their pool, hot tub, and sauna! It was great to let our legs and muscles rest.

This morning, we had a late wake up time due to a shorter ride today. Who would’ve known that getting up at 7:15 would be so exciting! We had a great breakfast of cereal, bananas, and coffee (also provided by the church!) and then set off to Pocatello, ID. We stopped for lunch in Fort Hall and were laying around on the ground on the side of the road. Much to our surprise, a lovely lady walked out of the local cafe with bags of huge homemade cookies for us! You should have heard us all sigh in unison at the sight of the cookies.

Upon entering Pocatello, we passed a few separate groups of people holding signs on the side of the road for various fundraising endeavors- car washes, bake sales, etc. When my group was only two miles away from today’s stayover, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, we passed another car wash, crafts, and baked goods fundraiser. About 200 feet past them, my brain finally processed what their sign said- “We are fundraising for our dad with colon cancer.” We immediately turned back around and headed to the car wash. This could not have been a more inspiring detour. There were tons of family members there, sitting under a tent selling crafts and snacks or washing cars or holding signs on the side of the road. They were all there for one person. That individual was a grandfather, uncle, father, and more. His recent diagnosis with colon cancer had led the family to take action and assist with fundraising, due to the strong financial burdens a diagnosis can hold. We explained our story and how we collect interviews for the Portraits Project. They agreed to do a portrait! While waiting for the van, we decided to help wave signs on the side of the road. We let some folks have a break from the sun and sit under the shade while we danced on the side of the road yelling “Car wash for cancer!,” promoting the cause to the best of our ability. The van finally arrived and we conducted an wonderful portrait. As we were leaving the car wash, we were all inspired by how many family members had come out to join in the fundraiser. There must have been at least 20 people there, if not 30. It’s great to see how families can really come together.

We finally arrived at the stayover and were surprised to find juice, fruit, and some great ladies waiting to drive us to showers! We were incredibly lucky to take showers at the Idaho State University gym. After this, we were fed an amazing meal of hot dogs, sausages, macaroni and cheese, quinoa, hummus, noodles, and beans! What was even more exciting were the folks we got to eat with! Some members of the local cancer support group had come to eat with us, and my table was privileged to sit with Gloria, a cancer survivor and box of joy! She told us countless stories about life, traveling, cancer, the support group, and just about anything else. We were both laughing and crying throughout the whole dinner.

After dinner, we were blown away by the amazing offer to sit in on an example of what a gathering of the cancer support group looks like. Words cannot describe how blessed we were by this. We were taken in like family and could not have felt more welcomed. It was such an encouraging environment and most of us were moved to tears. Checking out local cancer support groups will definitely be something I suggest to those struggling. It provides a perspective that otherwise would be unattainable.

Post-meeting we were able to conduct four portraits! (I know you’re probably amazed that this blog is STILL GOING! and still about today, for that matter.) The portrait I sat in one that was inspiring beyond belief. It re-centered us on why we are riding. It inspired us to look to the future. It allowed us to not just ride for a medicine to prolong the time to live, but for a real cure. Above all, the portrait provided us with stories of real people who weren’t able to stick around enough to find a cure. We’re riding for them.

Comments (4)
  • Mom says:

    Keep the legs moving for cancer and stay safe. Love you

  • John Frank says:

    We miss you folks; our social hall looks lonely with you gone. Have a safe and blessed ride.

  • cfee Casey Fee says:

    I read this at work and started tearing up. I am so excited you are meetings such amazing people and having these experiences. Makes me miss it in the best way. :) Safe travels to San Fran!!

  • Jeff Brueggeman says:

    Heather,

    What an amazing accomplishment. You truly are as crazy as I remember you your freshman year. Hats off to you and all your team members.

    ILL-

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