Loyalty, dedication, and persistence are scarce characteristics anymore…In fact, there is little trace of them.. If you’ve given up on humanity from everything we see in the news, I must admit that I can’t necessarily blame you. However, let me share with you my participation in the Wish-A-Mile. Maybe it will replenish your jar of hope as it did mine.
I participated in the full tour of WAM as an employee of Make-A-Wish Michigan (I didn’t bike. I worked it, helping out with social media and media relations). It was both incredible and arduous.. I watched over 900 cyclists pedal an excruciating 300-miles across the state of Michigan in just three days in cold, windy, and rainy weather. Why? To grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Together, they raised over $2 million!!
Remember those characteristics that are hard to find? I can attest they aren’t as dead as we think they are. I witnessed loyalty; it came in the form of comradery among team members. I witnessed dedication; it came in the form of cyclists refusing to take advantage of the support vehicles to carry them when they became exhausted. And I witnessed persistence; it came in the form of bikers withstanding the terrible weather conditions.
I met many cyclists and heard their background stories… each one came down to wanting to give back to Make-A-Wish. Many of them were former wish kids or wish parents. I met doctors biking to give show support for their patients. I even met a 6 month pregnant women who biked a majority of the race. But best of all, I met a founder of the race — Al Peterson (pictured above by Sarah and I). He has been riding for 26 years. I became emotionally invested in many cyclist’s 300-mile journey. As I watched them cross the finish line on the Michigan International Speedway to be awarded a medal by a wish hero (a wish kid), I got chills. I was overwhelmed by what I just witnessed over 900 people put themselves through.
It was a long weekend, but so worth it! I learned a lot and got so close to the mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Being surrounded by people who love this non-profit as much as I do, was both moving and motivating.
Good still exists. I can promise that after this weekend. It could be in the heart of your neighbor, your boss, your co-worker, your doctor, or that stranger you run into everyday getting your morning cup of coffee. Don’t give up.
Check out the photos from the event below. For more information on the Wish-A-Mile visit wishamile.org. For even more photos visit, http://www.facebook.com/wishmich.
(All photos were captured by Andrew Knapik)