By Gregory Scallan – Contributing Writer
When I suggested to my teenage son that we ride 520 miles across New York State together, I saw both excitement and trepidation in his eyes. When I told him that for this specific ride we would be raising funds for cancer research, he immediately committed.
We did not know what to expect, but we knew together it would be something special.
Terry Bourgeois is spearheading the Empire State Ride. Learn more and donate at empirestateride.com. He asked a fellow rider to write this blog post.
The first two days of rides were the most incredible we had ever been on. From Central Park, through Times Square, crossing the Hudson River and then climbing Bear Mountain, you could not ask for a more scenic tour of the state.
As we rode through Day 3, we both started realizing the magnitude of not only what we were achieving, but what all the cancer warriors who could not be here with us were also achieving.
What we were doing was hard, what they were going through was harder.
Many of our donors had sent us private notes sharing their own personal experiences with cancer as they committed to us not only financially, but spiritually as well.
With Day 4, we reflected upon all the stories of our fellow riders, some survivors, each touched deeply by cancer. It was then we realized this ride is so much than just a weeklong supported bike ride.
It’s important, and these people are important.
As we rode through Day 5 on Thursday, we were both physically and emotionally exhausted. I looked at my son and suggested he shorten the day’s ride. He glared at me as someone who had just been insulted, and followed that with “no way, I’m finishing today and every other day.”
When we made it back to camp, I saw not an exhausted teenage son, but an excited man, talking to his fellow riders, continuing to learn about their own experiences.
Day 5 was about respect: not only our respect for the ride, the cause and the survivors, but my own respect for my son.