Well, its days later, actually over a week and I am finally sitting down to write about the extraordinary event I was so very privileged to participate in, The Pan Mass Challenge. Probably what has kept me from writing anything about it, first, it means it is over and done, second and more to the truth is my emotions and thoughts can not be gathered in black and white, put in order and kept short and precise to entice anyone to take time to read it.
Maybe and probably that is why it is so magical. It hits so deep with such strength yet appears to sneak up from nowhere.
I have been choked up with tears off and on from pulling in to Sturbridge on Friday to a sea of people and bikes, all with one purpose yet different reasons. It is both celebratory and somber, inspiring and sobering all the while quite intimidating.
At once you are part of “a movement” (that is what Lance Armstrong called it) though it very personal and specific to each individual. The weekend seems neither about the money raised or the miles to ride.
Over 5,000 riders and 2,500 volunteers participate in memory or in honor of someone as do the thousands of people whom stand on the route to thank and support us all.
One mother with her survivor 6 year old daughter followed the route to thank each rider individually over and over, a bagpiper played all morning at the top of a steep hill (and if that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes!), a lone man sat in his front yard with a handmade sign thanking us for the extra years he had with his wife, a teenage girl held up a sign thanking us for her life, an entire street, Cherry Street, ties ribbons and signs around the trees thanking each of us, at most intersections along with an officer to help us along people gather cheering, thanking and ringing bells. This is just a minute sampling of the magnificent participation. All the while I carry a picture of my dad on my back and my cancer scare on my front.
It is more than enough to nourish me, encourage me and to make me commit for another year. The swirl of goodwill, devotion, appreciation and love is crazy beautiful so much so that the word sublime comes to mind.
My oncologist, Dr Andrew Wagner. Somehow in the sea of 5,000 riders we run into each other, furthering the comfort of him always being there for me. He is what is so good and true about Dana Farber
and if you have sometime and you want more inspiration watch this, or just skim it. Lance is good, Tym Rouke a father of a young cancer survivor is great and of course, the president of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Dr Edward Benz Jr.
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