This week is the 4th annual HFA Gears for Good bike ride, which means it’s also been one year since I did my first Gears for Good ride in DC. As I look back on those three days, I’m flooded with many different emotions. I am not a cyclist. When the ride was about to start on Friday afternoon, I felt like Julia Roberts and I almost pulled a runaway bride! Thankfully, I didn’t. If I had, I would have missed out on one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
I started the ride only knowing a handful of people – and those that I knew – I didn’t know very well. I traveled to DC by myself and was going to spend three days with relative strangers. On top of that, I was sharing a hotel room with someone I had never met before. Not even taking into account the actual bike ride – I was way out of my comfort zone.
We’ve all probably heard some version of this saying: The magic happens once you step outside of your comfort zone. This statement could not be any more truthful than in this particular experience. Magic really happened over those three days.
A funny thing happens when you’re riding a bike through the woods with someone for six or seven hours in a day. You share your stories. In my case,I found out while riding with other mothers that we really have similar stories. We’re raising a child with hemophilia, but at the same time, everybody’s story is different. The path we each took that led to climbing on that bike in Paw Paw, West Virginia is so different. But the love we have for our children is the same.
What still amazes me, a year later, is that I started the ride basically with a group of strangers and I left the ride on Sunday feeling as though that group was my family. At the end of the day, you’re so exhausted that it’s really not a big deal that you’re rooming with a stranger –because you both just rode your bike for 60 miles!
As difficult as 156 miles on a bike is, the ride itself is really the easy part. The reason that we’re all there is the hard part. We’re there because we have a bleeding disorder, we’re a caregiver for someone with vWD, or because we love someone with a bleeding disorder. That really is the hard part! Because the reality is that a bleeding disorder is not easy. You endure bleeding episodes yourself or you watch your loved one go through pain. For three days, on a bike in the woods, I thought about how much my son has endured so far over his short life. All without complaint! That’s what kept me going when the ride got tough.
If I can ride my bike for 156 miles and raise money for Helping Hands to help those affected by a bleeding disorder, that’s really the least I can do. The hard part is having a child with a bleeding disorder and, due to circumstances out of your control, you are unable to pay your bills and have a financial hardship. Helping Hands is there to help. It’s a resource for those that really have nowhere else to turn.
I urge you all to consider riding this weekend in honor of the Gears for Good taking place this weekend, registering for next year’s ride, or making a donation. All donations raised by the riders go directly to Helping Hands, which then goes directly to help a family affected by a bleeding disorder. Make a donation in honor of yourself or your loved one. No amount of money is too small. Remember: The magic happens once you step outside of your comfort zone.
Tracy, her husband, Lance, and son Nick, (11 years old) live in Virginia. [/glossary_exclude]
*Note: “Infusing Love: A Mom’s View,” is a blog collection of personal opinions and a representation of individuals experiences. While extensive efforts are made to ensure accuracy of the content, the blog entries do not represent HFA or its Board of Directors. The blog is also not intended to be construed as medical advice or the official opinion/position of HFA, its staff, or its Board of Directors. Readers are strongly encouraged to discuss their own medical treatment with their healthcare providers.