It is time to swim?
It is and that is swell, I shall stroke to the beat of my heart.
Has the tide come in?
It has, than I shall mount my mechanical steed and peddle, faster than the clock turns, for time I do not crave.
Has the road ended?
It has, than I shall dismount and run, run till my breadth runs out.
Matthew Davids “Triathlon”
As time passes we change what we do, even if in the most unnoticeable of ways. We could get up every day and try to live exactly the same, but age is unforgivable, unrelenting, even if as slow as a dripping faucet. We cannot replicate yesterday nor should we. Our cells have changed, our muscles moved, time has come and taken what it always does.
In January of 2014 Kelly and I participated in our first Cycle for Survival event. Something new, a change. Kelly had given much of her time before to different philanthropic endeavors, including having worked for the united way. I had done my share of philanthropy in high school and continued some in college, but as time passed after my graduation, I had found less and less time for it.
On Monday, September 28th, I found myself in the middle of Times Square, on a spinning bike at my 8th Cycle for Survival event. The change from last year to this is obvious and inconspicuous. The obvious being that Kelly does not ride next to me. However the familiar faces of family and friends do, including Kelly’s gracious oncologist Dr. Diane Reidy Lagunes and Cycle for Survival’s inspirational co-founder, David Linn. These people, this situation, it reminds me of Kelly in such a positive way as it invokes the memory of how strong she was and the memory of her smile, a smile that would crush you with warmth. The inconspicuous change though I think is best described by the word responsibility.
Last year I didn’t have what I would call responsibility when it came to Cycle for Survival. Kelly’s and I’s involvement was purely as participants. My only concern was that she had a good time and felt like part of the movement, because being part of a community like Cycle for Survival, it just feels good and if there was something I wanted most for Kelly, it was happiness.
As I spent my 50 minutes Monday night working up what some would call a sweat and others a flooding, the realization of how much different this year would be struck me. This year I would be responsible. Last year, in the wake of Kelly’s passing so many of you, so many friends, family and strangers, rallied around Ginger Strong and more so Kelly. You participated, donated and help raise money on a level Kelly and I never could have imagined and in a blink of an eye, Ginger Strong had grown so large, but not once did I feel responsible for its success or better said, that it needed me to succeed. But this year, I feel the weight of that. This is Kelly’s legacy and given how much it bloomed last year, I don’t want to see if falter or take what I would consider a step back. I want her family and friends to continue to be part of this experience that feels bigger than us all, to look back and continue to have new memories of Kelly that coincide with new heights. I want to, selfishly, be a participant myself, to step back and enjoy Cycle for Survival much in the same way Kelly and I first did when we traveled to San Francisco. I know it’s not possible, at least not all the time, but I found some moments Monday night where I was able to put myself in that place. I truly believe my adventure this summer is what allowed me to do that, to separate my mind from all the things it wants to think about and just enjoy a moment, even if brief.
I know that I am not alone, my older brother is already ten steps ahead of where we were last year, taking initiative in an incredible way. Our other team captains are doing the same and so there should be nothing to worry about, but if there is one thing I take pride in, one thing I hope Kelly looks back at and smiles about, it this.
So here is to our 2016 season, to all you that "Ginger Strong" with us. It’s going to be another special year, a bigger year and one day soon we are all going to look back and know that we helped find cures for cancer, that we helped save the life of a loved one and many others.
Miss you Muppet
PS. Check out the photo section of the website soon for more photos and videos from the event.