Why I NEED to Ride

Posted: May 5, 2013 in General

This weekend was one of highs and lows.  Michelle and I had planned to head to Rhode Island to help celebrate one of my car pool buddies getting married.  I got a text from Michelle on Tuesday afternoon saying that something awful had happened and that it was going to be a sad rest of the week at her school.  I knew instantly what had happened.  A fourth grader at the school had been fighting cancer for the past two-plus years and she passed away quietly at her home that morning.  The whole school had rallied around that little girl from day one of her diagnosis and they never looked back.  She was a rock star of a kid and made all of her classmates better people for knowing her.  The kids had  lemonade stands and pancake breakfasts to help raise money for the family’s expenses.  She was truly loved by the whole community.  As we sat at her funeral on Saturday morning, we listened to her mother tell us how positive she had been and how she was always thinking of others.  It was hard to watch her mother give the eulogy for her only daughter who was taken from her way too early in her life.  What was even harder was watching all of the kids that were there.  Kids from the fourth grade had come to say goodbye to their classmate and friend for the last time.  There was a slideshow of all the good times in the little girl’s life.  All the smiles and laughs.  All the parties and family gatherings.  There was a banner made by all her friends at school hung right at the front of the church.  A giant banner with little hand prints all over it with messages for her.  It was an extremely powerful visual.  After what was a lovely and moving ceremony we all went to the gravesite for the burial.  We were all given red roses as we arrived.  Red was her favorite color.  As the ceremony concluded, people began to place their roses on the casket.  The family went first and then a few of their close friends.  Then a swarm of children surrounded the casket and gently laid their flowers on top.  It was an overwhelming image.  No one should have to lose a family member or friend to cancer, especially when they are that young.  The strength of those kids to handle the situation the way they did gave me even more of a reason to ride the PMC.

Thank goodness the weekend was not over.  Michelle and I got in the car and drove to that wedding in Rhode Island.  The ride was quiet at times but as we got closer to the venue we relaxed a bit.  We met up with another colleague and her boyfriend, found our seats in the sun and watched a beautiful wedding ceremony.  Ceremony over we enjoyed drinks and appetizers and dinner and dancing.  The night was perfect and we had a great time.  As much fun as we had at the wedding, I never stopped thinking about that little girl and her friends.  She is the reason I ride the PMC.  Her friends are the reason that I ride the PMC.  No cancer is ever good.  But childhood cancer is just so unfair.  As I train for the 2013 PMC I will have my memories of my father fueling me and the wise words of that little girl that were on the prayer cards at her funeral pushing me, “I used to judge people by their appearance. If they walked funny or talked funny or looked different, I judged them. I DON’T DO THAT ANY MORE! After cancer, I know what it is like walking, talking and looking different.  The worst part of it is the pain.”

I will be wearing a red bandana under my helmet as I ride the PMC this year because red was her favorite color.  I hope that someday I will have the courage and honor that that little nine year old girl had.  She was amazing.Image

  1. pmblodgett says:

    Sometimes we find the greater strength in the youngest people. She certainly left her mark on this world. You will gain strength from the memories of your dad and from her.<3

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