Team Mellow Yellow - after we arrived in Austin, TX
How can I sum up this experience of riding a relay from Greenville, SC to Austin, TX? All week we slept very little, drove hours to transitions points, and then geared up for our six hour shifts. We weathered below freezing temps, rain, and lots of darkness (most of our shifts were at night). Funny how the hours of being upside down were filled with so much laughter, hugs, and memories I will carry with me long after I am now back at home. We met so many individuals that were either fighting cancer or knew someone very close that was. Our support vehicle was covered in magnets by the time we got to Austin. Add in police escorts through a town at midnight to Burger King opening up just to feed another team before their shift and you have a small insight of the gifts of appreciation for what we were doing were endless.
Thursday our team’s ride would greet us by rain…cold rain….lots of rain. With no where to eat breakfast we ate a fabulous pb&j and began our shift in the dark at 6am. Not even 2 hours into the ride I was bonking and with that all of this week’s emotions brought tears and just could not be stopped. I cried.. a lot… as I thought about all of those that helped make this possible. I did not want to let anyone down and just like that my team pulled me back in and with their love and support I pushed forward.
Later I would learn that my Aunt, who was currently in hospice fighting a fight with cancer, would pass away during this ride. She had told me that she had a “mean” kind of cancer and that it would take a miracle to cure it. I want to be a part of that miracle and riding in her honor and memory only drives me more.
Before the trip was over I would sit in the bathroom floor and hold my friend while we cut off the rest of her hair (now her second battle with breast cancer) and we just cried. I thought about the strength that a person has and finds to get themselves through each day. She is a true hero to me!
Saying I am blessed by this experience does not even come close! The words seem to small. This past week was not about the bike or the miles. The gift of loving one another and holding a person when they need it most is more powerful than any medicine. I cycled hours, slept very little, but gained a family that I will hold close to my heart forever.
It takes no money to make a difference… do what you can…just do something.