Alas, we meet again

So, for those of you who have kept up to date with the I4k blog over the last few years, my name might look familiar, owing to the fact that I did the ride in 2013.

Well, as luck and various turns of fate would have it, I’m back in 2015, here this time to serve as the ride leader for this fantastic installment of the Illini 4000 after serving on the board of directors for the intervening year of 2014 and this year as well.

As riders, we’re encouraged to keep the public (and particularly all the parents, grandparents, and other interested family members) up to date on what it is we’re doing with the blog posts on this website, which is something I admittedly did fairly infrequently my first time as a rider, so it’s something I’m going to attempt to do better this time around. And what better time to start than 3:40 in the morning when I should be sleeping or doing any number of more school related tasks, right? (So I guess bear with me if it’s not the most well constructed piece of writing)

If you would have asked me any time prior to, oh, say, November, if I planned on doing something like this again, I would have chuckled heartily, and offered some sort of remark along the lines of  ”well, while I certainly had a great experience the first time,  I just don’t know if it’s something I could do again, ya know?” But, as we selected this years team and needed someone to serve as sherpa, it eventually fell to me, and it is a responsibility I’ve come to embrace. Of course, as a late round draft pick so to speak, it’s created some logistical problems to solve and that’s what I’ve been dealing with the last week or so. Should I get a new bike, or use the same one I used before, itself purchased used before me from another former I4k-er? What’s the best way to get the van back from California? Will I have enough money to buy ice cream over the summer (more important of a question than you could possibly imagine)? You know, day to day stuff. Peripheral, organizational stuff you just need to get sorted out when dealing with this kind of thing.

But as I was consulting the schedule and figuring out ways to drive back from San Francisco and return our rental van earlier today, I saw Sean’s blog post on the sidebar and proceeded to read it (which you should do now if you haven’t already). It made me stop and prioritize a bit. The organizational stuff, the bikes, that’s all well and good and needs to be sorted out, but it’s not really the point. It’s just the means to the end, and the ends in our case is to do whatever we can to help those with cancer triumph over the disease. To show those who are in that fight that there are people actively trying to research and fund different ways to help them. To show them, perhaps most importantly, that there’s a motley group of (soon to be) sun tanned, sweaty, but enthusiastic college students who care.

Last week my mom’s uncle passed away after a long battle with cancer, and his funeral was this weekend. With school, I4k things, and other obligations, I couldn’t make it up to the services, but as I sit here at 4 am, read Sean’s post, think about Uncle Rich, and plan for the coming summer, it’s necessary to take a moment to just think about what it is we do, and who we do it for. I had a list in my head the first time I did the ride of all the people I knew who had gone up against cancer, whether themselves or through a loved one. And as I gear up to do the ride again, that list (that entirely too long of a list), is still in my head. The problem is, it keeps getting longer.

So I guess you could say our work is cut out for us in a number of different ways, just as it is for all those who participate in ways to combat the disease. But as we prepare for another summer of doing our part in the effort, there’s always the hope that maybe one day the fight will be won, and we won’t have to anymore.

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