I’d like to make something very clear: I’m not one of those people who wake up in the morning dying to go for a bike ride! It’s more of a sigh, I guess I should go ride my bike…
I first heard about Gears for Good from my friend, Diane. She told me about a 156-mile bicycle ride she was doing in the Washington, DC area to raise money for people and families that were struggling to pay bills because of the high cost of their bleeding disorder treatments. I thought, “Good for you!” Then my friend, Allie, started talking about it, followed by pictures of the group on the bike ride. I was a bit envious of the photos and thought about participating. However, since the ride takes place at the end of the year when I’m usually out of vacation time, Â I figured I was off the hook.
This all changed when HFA decided to have a regional ride in New England, specifically New Hampshire. The state I live in. Uh oh.
I pulled out my twenty-two year old red bike and got it tuned up. I started a fundraising page, bought a bike helmet, and started to ride. At some point I realized that the world looks very different from a bike than it does from a car or even from walking. I started to explore places I never knew existed.
My preparation for the ride didn’t go as planned. Just over a month before the ride I ended up hospitalized with a brain bleed and strict instructions not ride a bike, or do much of anything. But I had raised the money! I had a room and a roommate! It turned out that the organizers needed a support team and that I could go, only in a car with tasty snacks, and directions to the rest spots for the other riders.
I was so grateful to be a part of something so wonderful. I met new people, learned more about folks I already knew, but mostly I felt a part of something that I knew was helping people who face the dilemma of how to live with the high cost of our chronic illness.
Early this year, I was contacted by HFA and asked if I would help organize this year’s ride in Connecticut. I was honored and excited to be able to once again be part of Gears for Good. I was able to ride! I got the old red bike out again and started training. I spent several weekends in Connecticut, riding up and down the trail and getting in shape. I opened my fundraising page again and started asking friends to donate (well, it may have been more like harassing them.) Â And I did it! Although my bike broke down on Saturday, and I rode in the rain on Sunday on a rental bike, I did it!
I also learned something. I got an education in planning. I got to experience working with someone to make the ride a reality. I was able to be a part of a team of people who do this ride because they want to, not because it was their job or because someone made them feel guilty to do it. I found out even more about the Helping Hands program and the selfless ways everyone works together to donate to help others.
We did it. We came together as a team from many walks of life, jobs, abilities, and reasons and we did it. We laughed. We sweat. We ate. We got wet. We talked. We shared. Without the amazing commitment of so many people in this community there would be no Gears for Good. Without Helping Hands there would be more people in our community struggling to get by.
Thank you to those of you that make the commitment to get on your bikes and ride. Thank you for the selfless donation you make to help those in our community have a better quality of life.
I still don’t have the vacation time or money to get to the September ride that is happening on Friday in the DC area, and I still think I would struggle to keep up. But would I do it now if I could? In a heartbeat.
On Friday, riders from around the country will bike 156 miles from West Virginia to DC to raise vital funds for our Helpings Hands program!
When you donate just $15.60 to their efforts (that’s only 10Â¢ for each of the 156 miles), you will enter to win a FREE trip to our 2016 Symposium in Las Vegas! 100% of your donation will go to provide assistance to families experiencing financial hardships related to their â€ªâ€Žbleeding disorder.
Maryann and her 23-year-old son, Max, live in New Hampshire.
*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.