We spent the summer "training" together. EB riding her bike, walking hills, and building endurance...me, watching my friend transform and blossom before my eyes.
You see, although not diagnosed with MS, EB has had her share of recent life tragedies...painful losses that hardly compare to the bumps in the road my MS brings. This was HER summer, HER Ride of Passage, HER transformation, not mine. My MS was merely a catalyst in the grand scheme of things.
At 64 years old and still recovering from major life traumas, my friend mounted her bicycle on a crisp, Saturday morning, and rode off into a sea of nearly TWO THOUSAND cyclists...all riding in unity to support the cause of MS...all believing this noble feat can and would make a difference, help to find a cure, or provide "hope".
She didn't know tears fell from my eyes as I watched her silhouette become smaller and smaller and eventually fade out of sight that cool, Saturday morning as she raced away from the starting line. She didn't know the tears that were cascading from my eyes were for her, for me, and for the thousands of others diagnosed with MS I will never meet. She didn't know the heart-felt honor and grateful humility that overcame me as I watched her return from her ride, full of life and exuberance. She didn't know in that blessed moment of her return, pedaling across a long awaited finish line and bringing months and years of her life full circle that she was and would forever be my MS CHAMP and my HERO.
Perhaps now, she does.
And to all of the riders of the MS storm, I say this to you:
Run until you can run no more.
Walk until your legs no longer carry you.
Sing even after the music begins to fade.
And HOPE until your heart aches.