Day 6: The Heart And Soul Of This Trip

The ride dedication today was for a friend of Phil, who passed away before his time. Sergio was diagnosed with leukemia while in middle school and passed away shortly after.

Before today, for myself at least, this group and this trip felt like a bike group with a cancer focus. However today I realized that we are truly a cancer group with a bike focus. After our quick ride of only 23 miles with slight rain into Rochester NY about half of our group had the opportunity to visit a Hope Lodge. These special places are a sector of the American Cancer Society’s outreach to allow those with financial need to have a place to stay during their cancer treatment for free.

One of the harsh realities of living with cancer, besides the obvious physical and mental strain, is the financial burden it places on its victims. The Hope Lodge today allowed the group to better understand why there is a need for these types of locations, and we learned that without them, many of these patients would otherwise sleep in their cars in hospital parking lots. While other organizations like Ronald McDonald House focus on the parents of children affected by cancer, Hope Lodges are geared toward adult patients and even allow them to have a caretaker with them during their stay. I was impressed with the nice amenities that the Lodge offered to its guests. The rooms looked similar to hotels and there were common areas with books and games.

After the tour the team was “surprised” (the surprised was accidentally spoiled for us by some well meaning hosts) with a police escort to meet the mayor of Rochester, Lovely Warren.  Due to our other recent brush with fame meeting mayor De Blasio, at this point I was starting to feel famous myself.  With five squad cars to block traffic for us we biked as a team to town hall. When we arrived, journalists and security guards led us to a private press conference where the mayor herself presented us with a proclamation slip, naming May 26, 2017 Illini 4000 day!

Although this one day proclamation will only be valid for this day on this year, it was still amazing to me that the team was able to get this type of press and access to officials. I4k continues to surprise me.

With two different city mayors, a day named after us, a police escort, and overwhelming community support from the towns we have visited in only the first week, the team agreed that no other summer in our lives will be able to top this one.

Only thing missing now is a red carpet.



Comments (3)
  • Paul Benson says:

    Good stuff! Working on red caroet for you. How is the chow?

  • Jeffry Stell says:

    Congratulations on another day of firsts and great memories. I have to apologise for letting the cat out of the bag about the visit to City Hall and meeting the Mayor. I didn’t know it was a secret. It was our distinct pleasure to host this year’s team in Palmyra. We count it an honor to have participated in such a life changing and life affirming tour. We continue to pray for you all. Be safe and enjoy each moment.

    Jeff Stell
    Elder, Fellowship Bible Church
    Palmyra, NY

  • Charles Su says:

    Thank you for the wonderful daily blog! To overcome long hills in heat, to picture girls singing in a rainy 60 plus mile ride, and to hear about your moments of fame by the communities you pass are all very moving. Rochester is special as I spent 9 year there as a graduate student starting my life in this country. Christina made sure she visited the UR campus and took some pictures for me. I am especially touched when one night she found time to call me and asked “Daddy are you lonely by yourself at home?” With daily challenges on the road she can still think about me! She reminded me often how appreciative she is meeting all the riders on the team. You guy are great ! When I broadcast your journey to relatives here or across the ocean, they are all so proud of you and what you do. Be safe and healthy on the road and see you in Chicago in June!

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