We've now been out here doing this thing for 3 months and 3 days, and I am still amazed every day. First of all, even though I am getting used to it happening, the kindness of the people we meet never fails to amaze me. Meeting small town folks, talking about Alex and organ donation, listening to their stories and heading on down the road leaves me with much to think about as I silently pedal for hours and hours. I feel a gentleness towards the people I meet. I feel compassion for what they have endured. And I feel a sense of connection to them as we share our most intimate details about loss and recovery from loss with one another. Just today we went in to talk to the local newspaper about doing a story and learned that the lady who runs the paper's husband was a heart recipient. His daughter also worked there and told us that her dad had 10 more years of life after his transplant and that he had just passed away last August. We also met Cali, the dog that used to be this man's constant companion and now spends her days at the newspaper office with the girls. Meeting real people with stories like this makes me feel so grateful that others have chosen to give their organs. And it feels good to know that the ripple of my daughter's decision to give her organs continues on, and that by doing this ride other people who would have died will have a chance to live. I want to help people feel that. And by getting people to sign up as donors, I get to. Meeting people like we did today, hearing about how donation gives people more years to be with their loved ones, it gives me inspiration to pedal, pedal, pedal.
I was not prepared to meet so many people who have been affected by organ donation and I have collected many great stories. I'd like to share one of my favorites with you now. It's a funny one about a father and son I was talking to in a gas station one day. The father was a gruff type and the son (about 18) was explaining to him why he was going to sign up to be a donor. I chimed in and said, "And not only does it help the recipients of whoever gets your organs, it also makes those you leave behind so proud of you." A bit confused, the man looked at his son who then said, "In other words, Dad, you can be a real s.o.b your whole life but if you donate your organs when you die, you're a g.d. hero." At this the man laughed, patted his son on the back, and said, "Well, hell, sign me up then!"
In just a few days we will cross the Colorado state line and we will be in the state where I lost my daughter, and where Dillon got his new heart. Please keep us all in your prayers as we near this exciting part of our journey.
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Thanks to all of you for reading my blog.