I was almost sixteen when my dad told me he was diagnosed with MS. I was already pretty ripe for rebelliousness at the time, so the announcement paved the way for me to react in typical teenage fashion. I got mad at God and earth and everyone on it. I was too young and immature to communicate why I was so angry. It has taken me nearly fifteen years to realize that I was really just scared of so many variables which were beyond my control.
You see, in most situations you get a flight or fight response. Except I don’t have any flight response in me. I’m 5 foot 2 inches of pure fight. Sometimes that is a good thing, other times it is regrettable. What I hate the most about MS is that it doesn’t even give you a chance to fight. There aren’t any attack plans or aggressive strategies. There’s only waiting while wondering how long or how bad. The unknowns far exceed the certainties.
In the fifteen years since dad was diagnosed I’ve let go of much of my anger. I’ve made peace with God and I do my best not to act like a bratty teenager. The change of heart has mostly come from watching my dad. He’s still the same caring and wonderful man he’s always been. MS hasn’t taken away his one of a kind laugh, legendary mustache, or the corny sense of humor everyone loves him for. He’s still more concerned with how everyone else around him is doing than himself. He will always be the person I admire the most.
I have a friend who often reminds me to ride my own ride. Meaning I should quit worrying about all the things I can’t control and just do my personal best with my situation. Participating in the MS 150 ride gives me a chance to do just that. I am learning that you can’t fight every battle, but that doesn’t mean you must run away. Sometimes you just have to face the really rotten things in life and accept them for what they are. You can’t stop the headwind, but you can ride into the uncertainty and the tough times and just keep on pedaling.
I’ve raised $1,875 of my $3,500 fundraising goal. I am overwhelmed by all the support I have received. The money that my family and friends have so generously donated will go to help others somewhere on down the road. I hope it will make their ride through this disease a little easier. If you would like to contribute, just click this link. Anything you can give is greatly appreciated. Donations are being accepted through April 30.