Giving back. To a cause - any worthy cause is the greatest gift one can give to his brothers and sisters. And, in some strangely selfish way, one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself.
You might wonder why, I certainly did. It was about a year ago that I was in final preparations for a life changing experience. That experience was the Palmetto Peleton Project's Challenge to Conquer Cancer. Last year was the 2nd annual, so of course this year it is the 3rd annual.
Because of other personal commitments, I opted out of the experience this year, but many of my friends have dedicated themselves to the cause. They have worked tirelessly to raise awareness as well as funds to meet their individual goals. The riders - the ones with the easy job - had to raise $5000 each while the Team Managers (a much more fitting name than 'support' as they have been called in the past) had to raise $2500.
I have missed many of the training rides for the C3 team this year, participating in only a few. It is amazing to me that so many people of such different backgrounds can gel as completely as this group of incredible individuals. It shouldn't be, as I've seen it first hand.
Riding with them a few weeks ago, I could feel the sense of purpose they had. Each individual is motivated in different ways, but each individual has been affected in some way by cancer. Some are warriors themselves - currently battling the disease. Others are survivors - those who had their major battles years ago and came back as a stronger and more determined self. Others have lost loved ones - maybe a relative, maybe a friend, but always someone for whom they cared deeply. All of them now working together with a common goal, a true sense of purpose.
It's that sense of purpose that brings all of them so close. They are a family already - the training, the fundraisers, the meetings have done that for them. As they depart on this awesome journey, those bonds will form into an unbreakable chain. They will forever be linked together by their shared experience and passion.
Its funny how things work out that way. You can try many things over many years to find that sense of belonging. You don't find it in individual pursuits - things that most likely benefit only yourself. You find it when you take yourself out of the spotlight and bring that worthy cause to the forefront.
This is the strangely selfish part of giving back. A group of individuals came together with a common purpose to give everything they can to knock out cancer. What they gain is a tremendous family. A family that will welcome them and love them for the remainder of their years.
So I have to ask then, what better gift can you give to yourself than to join in giving back to a cause for which you have great passion?
Follow along on the C3 ride at www.ridetoaustin.com
Don't forget, if your hectic schedule doesn't allow time for participation, you can participate by making a donation. Pick a rider or just give to the general fund. It's a great cause, and you'll become part of the team.
I couldn't close this post without wishing that family (my family too!) all the best for their upcoming voyage. All of you are an incredible inspiration. You'll be in my every waking thought until you are safely returned to your homes. Enjoy the experience and PLEASE write about it. I'll be living vicariously through you! Safe travels to each of you.
Pausing to remember a cyclist
10 months ago