I became involved in Team Will watching my husband ride in the 2006 cross-country event. In '08, I went to my first hospital visit, as John’s team came through my hometown, Dayton, OH. I went from understanding the theory of why this matters, to seeing it first hand, and I was hooked. Meeting the children in the hospital, watching their parents try to be strong as the kids bravely underwent treatment, hearing from the nursing staff that one of the two teenage boys we just met wasn't going to make it.... It became real, and I had to make a difference.
In 2010, I was a driver, taking an amazing team of Intel friends and family across the country. Seeing the cyclists put themselves out there day after day, being their support staff, helping the cause—it was life-changing. I will be doing it again this year because I want to Go the Distance for Braeden and his family (Superbub: “forever almost 4”) and all our Team Will heroes, so we can reach that day when we cure childhood cancer.
My heroes this year are Braeden Burgess & Sam Keziah. These are my 2010 heroes and will be forever in my heart. Sam lost his battle at 4, and Braeden 3--two fair haired little boys the same ages my sons were when I went on my first Team Will journey. I could not imagine watching my little guys struggle & lose their precious little lives to a heartless disease when they were so full of life. Seeing Braeden's Current Health Status on his Hero application as "Healed in Heaven" sent me into tears that day and still does now.
One tiny bright light I can offer in this mess of sadness and suffering is a thank you to Braeden and his family for helping me treasure key moments with my boys. The fall my son Connor was almost four, I stopped each night to cherish the feeling of his arms wrapped around my neck. I memorized every last little boy hug, thinking of Dawn and how she no longer received Braeden’s embraces. I will forever treasure those 3-year-old hugs from my baby. And am thankful each day for the gift of 4 year old hugs, as well.
“Go the Distance 2012” is set for June 24 - July 3, 2012. This time riding from San Francisco, CA to Boston, MA, in 10 days, Team Will plans to cross 14 states, visit 18 hospitals and participate in 7 community rallies with a goal of raising $125,000 for family support services and childhood cancer research. For more information, please visit: www.team-will.org