This last entry is to share the highlights of the trip and to thank everyone that made it possible.
It has been over a month since since I finished my ride. It has taken a while, but I finally finished my blog entries from the ride. I didn't want to rush it. I wanted to take my time, review my notes, and make sure that I gave a great account of my trip. It was a success on so many levels: making the donation goals, spreading my message, achieving most of my personal goals for the trip. This has been a life changing event for me, and I am so grateful that I had this opportunity.
The best place to start is the financial goals I made for Wake Up Narcolepsy and the National MS Society. Originally I thought if I could raise $2,500 each I would be happy. Theresa challenged me to set a bigger goal, so I settled on $5,000 each for a total of $10,000. I have to be honest I thought this would be hard, if not impossible, because I am so uncomfortable in asking people to donate. What I didn't understand was how much my message would resonate with friends, family, organizations, work colleagues, and my childhood home town. I am proud to say that we - and I do me WE, as in all of you that donated, far exceeded these goals:
Wake Up Narcolepsy: $7,477
MS Society: $6,925
Grand Total: $14,402
None of this could have happened without the support of many; especially my wife Theresa. She was so much more than making sure I had water and being at the camp site at night. She encouraged me to be on my bike training and in many cases pick up some of the home duties to make sure that happened. She was my editor-in-chief, proof-reading my blog posts and helping me articulate my message and feelings. She was also my publicist. It was her efforts that lead to over 12 newspaper articles, 4 in person interviews, and 3 television stories. Without this support I know I would have never realized these great numbers. And let's not forget putting up with a wedding anniversary at a Subway in Kane, PA. She was my rock!
Others in my family also played key roles. My daughter Allison offered me encouragement all along this journey. I am not sure if she realizes how important her support and being there means to me. She is someone that I love and admire more than anyone will ever know.
My sister Debi is Miss Dependable - always there, always proud, and always a great big sister. My brother Jeff passing along my story on his web-site and checking in with how it was going.
While no longer with us, the spirits of my dad and mom provided me with much needed strength. The bike I road is forever linked to my dad. My dad knew who important this ride was to me. I know that he is proud that I accomplished and the message shared through the ride. I only wish he and my mom could have been there when I rolled into Titusville.
Let's not forget about the real stars of this ride: my son Dylan and my sister Linda. I hope when they read my blog they understand just how important and inspirational they are to me. I have so much respect for how they handle their diseases. Like the rest of my family, I love them unconditionally.
I cannot begin to express how touched I was by the reception I received all along the way, but especially from the community of Titusville. Titusville has always been a part of how I am & I am very proud of that part. I am forever grateful to 3 of my class of 1977 classmates: Terri Finley, Rhonda Rhodes Schroeck, and Sue Brink Porcenaluk. These 3 incredible women heard about my ride and took it upon themselves to help me make a difference, and what a difference they made. I am so grateful to them and all of Titusville that gave support. You are all family to me!
At the end of the day, the 444 miles, nearly 25,000 feet of climbing, and the out pouring of support have changed me for the better. I can only hope that this ride had a positive impact on others, if only a little bit.