When he was 9 a brain tumor almost took him from the world. At 17 he continues to be present, to do and to be all that he can. Life can be a challenge. Balance. Memory. Attention span are sometimes affected.
What isn’t affected is this young man’s spirit. He lives in the key of life.
Earlier this year, he heard about The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. And he decided he was going to do it. Raise the money. Raise awareness. And Ride. He’s raised the prerequisite, and over, $2600. He’s done the money part. It’s the riding part that’s the challenge.
Riding a bike in a large crowd, 100 km a day for 2 days, connecting to a large community, being part of a big event — all of these things are new to this young man with such incredible spirit. Crowds are challenging. Traffic distracting.
How will he do it? How will he train in enough time to be able to take part in the ride?
Determined. Committed. Convinced he will, he plans for his trip. He’s got the goal down. It’s the ‘how am I going to do it part’ that’s missing.
Enter his next door neighbour.
AJ is an avid mountain biker/rider. He’s completed many epic bike rides including the gruelling seven-day BC Bike Race from Vancouver to Vancouver Island to Whistler. AJ rides.
AJ won’t be riding in the Ride to Conquer Cancer this year. He and his wife CS will be hiking Mont Blanc. (Though they have thought about rescheduling their trip, it’s a logistical and expensive challenge.) While he may not be physically present, AJs heart will be on the ride. His heart will be with a 17-year-old rider who wants to give back to fight a disease that did not beat him down. AJ has been training with this young man for several months now. He’s even built a bike just for him. Created a ‘new bike’ out of old parts to give Shay a fighting chance at completing the race.
I hear this story and I wonder, does he know how amazing he is?
Because he is. Amazing. Just hearing about his guts, his determination, his conviction inspires me. Just hearing about his parents commitment to help him reach his goal makes me want to ride beside him and cheer him on. He doesn’t see limitations. He only sees possibility.
And hearing about how a bike, a race and a goal have connected a young man and his neighbour inspires me.
It is in all of us to make a difference, to connect to people around us in ways we never thought possible to help them reach their dreams. Like AJ and the training program he and Shea, the young man, have created together. It doesn’t matter what the conditions outside, they stick to their schedule. If it’s raining, AJ will set the bikes up in the garage. And if it’s sunny, he’ll ride alongside of him ensuring he stays focused on the road.”
Like life, climbing onto a bike and setting a goal to ride the distance can be hard for all of us.
But no matter the challenges, Shea is determined to reach his goal. He always gets on his bike and rides. He has a dream and he’s riding towards it.
May we all ride like this young man. May we all know what it means to have a dream, and be committed to seeing it through to the finish line.
I heard a story last night about a young boy with courage, about parents whose love is expanding the possibilities for their son and a man with heart.
And in its telling, I was made different. In its telling I was moved and inspired. In its telling I was reminded of the capacity of the human spirit to be great, to be magnificent, to shine.
Thank you Shea for shining so brightly. Thank you everyone for keeping the dream of a young man alive and reminding us all it isn’t important how we ride, what matters most is that we ride.