Tag Archives: group rides

Breakfast & Bicycle Benefit Recap

It’s June 2013. June. This entire year has been lost to a void and yet filled to the brim with many-many experiences. At some point we need to stop blogging about Avery’s GBS, but it has consumed us. Everything we do all week long is in some way related to his recovery. Every time I leave my house, it is for him. The conversations turn from every angle, back to Avery. There is nothing on our calendar for the remainder of the summer that isn’t for Avery. Therapy, baseball, appointments. It’s not that we aren’t doing anything else, but all other doings are happening organically, as they arise.

Yesterday we were treated to breakfast and a community bike ride that raised more than $2200 for Avery’s expenses. It was intense. We were greeted by so many well wishes and by the time I finished saying thank you and catching up with a few tables, I missed several others who finished mopping their syrupy plates and were on their way off for the weekend. We caught back up to some during the ride, where children corralled around Erick, our neighborhood ice cream tricyclists. The energy was incredibly positive. Laughter, that perfect weather we have been able to enjoy this late into spring, a community of strong leaders, proud riders, and friends.

There were several people behind the scenes making yesterday’s benefit events possible. Thank you Cara and Thomas, Stacy and Matt, Byron and Lynn, Linda and her kitchen posse, John, Jaye, Tom and Bill, Joel, and anyone else I didn’t know about, but deserve a lot of extra credit. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

To those who joined in the festivities, it was the best party I have every attended. Neighbors and friends. Colleagues and crew. School family and acquaintances. All  dining or riding around town together. He-yah!

Speaking of parties, my 33 and 3/3rds birthday is approaching. We simply must celebrate. Hugs and high-fives for everyone!

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Community Benefit Events for Avery’s GBS Expenses

BikePancakeFundraiserSeveral of our friends and community members have worked together ¬†organizing two fundraisers to apply directly toward the medical expenses incurred during Avery’s GBS this year. There will be a pancake breakfast on Saturday morning at Our Lady of Fatima, followed by a bike ride at Ritter Park led by our Critical Mass organizer, Joel, and bicycle raffle drawing thanks to a donation from Huntington Cycle & Sport. The generousity of everyone ceases to amaze us. We are indebted in gratitute to everyone. Even if you haven’t said as much, I know you are thinking of us, I can feel it.

If you would like to participate tomorrow, June 8th, more information can be found below:

Saturday’s events follow two other fundraisers held while Avery was at Children’s Hospital. The first, a benefit concert at Marshall University was organized by Ella Clark and helped us with over $200 in transportation and lodging expenses. The second was a gaming marathon sponsored by the Marshall University gaming club that successfully raised enough money to present Avery with an Xbox Kinects system and several games to use as part of his home phsical and occupational therapy.

All of these compliment the many personal care packages, gift cards, meals, and child care provision provided by countless people while we were in the hospital. I think I have sent out 50 thank you cards to date, with so many more to go.

The feelings behind these gestures and sentiments fluctuate between embarrassment and heart pounding love. With so much need and travesty in the world all these people have chosen to spend their time and energy on us, on Avery, on our community. It’s inspiring and motivating and overwhelming. It’s also difficult to be on the receiving end of such gifts. Perhaps it’s just me, but I flush with embarrassment for being in this situation, some how feeling that perhaps a series of different choices would have avoided such hardships, hardships that in the “big picture” are nominal. Please know, as I have tried to convey with a lot of sincerity, that you may never know how much all of this touches us deeply and we are grateful. We hope we can continue to give back to you all with our work and our efforts within the community and amongst the world.

Avery is getting stronger every week. He continues 2.5hours of therapy twice a week at Milestones Physical Therapy in Hurricane, WV (30miles from our home). He gets to Challenger Baseball at the LL3 fields as often as we can take him. He does his home therapy as we can get it worked in, and he is enjoying a mostly typical summer break from school. Having missed almost half of Kindergarten didn’t set him back, thanks to having an onsite teacher at Children’s who worked with our school, his tutors, and his own resolve to stay on top of his work. Avery is walking with the help of his AFOs, and has some time out of them as well. He has some foot-drop issues, but we feel those things are slowly resolving as well. The EMG showed continued signal delay in his nerves at the end of May but ruled out his condition as being chronic. He is continuing to take 50mg of Lyrica twice a day for nerve pain.

We tell our children that we won’t give them a hand unless they are showing effort to help themselves. It’s not a hard and fast philosophy, but it works for many scenarios. I wanted to let you know some of the things we are doing to help ourselves through this year financially. Our emotional and physical efforts are another story.

To start, Brent took on a summer job with a company as a contract employee. His chair also helped him secure his summer class at Marshall, which pays above his regular teaching position. We also applied for financial aid at the hospital and other medical facilities that offered it. We are still waiting to hear back. We set up payment plans where we could and double check every EOB with every bill and call back to our insurance if we are in doubt about the coverage provided (or not provided). It’s messy, but overall our health care insurance has picked up a substantial portion of our costs. The Lyrica is only $150 month, they approved most of our Ohio doctors and stays as in-network, and they covered our wheel chair rental as well as other equipment costs so far. The tricky part is going to be when the fiscal year ends June 30th and we have to start over with our deductibles while continuing to go for follow ups and therapies. Yet, we did this in 2010, with a newborn, and we will do it again in 2013, with all of you at our side. Thank you.

Organizing the Friends of PATH

Good friends shape so much of who we are and who we become. They are a sounding board for ideas, a wealth of information and advice. Friends are the core of our community and those who help, encourage and influence. The Paul Ambrose Trail for Health (PATH) needs good friends.

As I understand the PATH currently, there are many agencies involved with the development, funding, construction, and maintenance of this multi-use network. One group works on planning, one on securing monies, one on retrieving bids, one on ground breaking, another for clearing and repairing. These groups work in conjunction with each other and for the common purpose of providing a friendly and functional recreation and commuting bicycle and pedestrian trail system. Several different agencies have hosted public surveys, meetings and forums to develop PATH to best meet the needs of the user.

Friends of PATH wants to take this idea further. We want to create a group of volunteers who consistently help shape the development and maintence of PATH. We want this to be a group designed by the user, for the user. It could become an advisory committee, or a volunteer maintence group, or a fundraising platform. This is a clean slate, the opening remarks remain to be made.

Join me, Breanna Shell (city planner), Bethany William (RTI representative), Stacy G. (the Tour de PATH chair), and Jody Perry (friend of PATH) tomorrow, Saturday January 19th, 2:00pm at Heritage Station, inside at the CVB. There will be a PATH update, maps, upcoming event information, and a lot of discussion to set the foundation for the Friends of PATH (FoP). We can all commiserate on our desires to be a great friend to PATH.

More information available in this press release.

While you are visiting Heritage Station, enjoy the Cash Mob at Brand Yourself and Art Walk.

Reminder: Critical Mass January Edition is tonight, 6:30pm from Ritter Park fountain. Bundle up, bring lights. Have fun.

 

 

Kidical Mass Jingle Bell Ride Wrap Up

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There was so much energy in the air and on the streets of the South Side neighborhood last night. We left our house with an hour of daylight left planning to meet up with a handful of friends who said they’d ride with us for a Jingle Bells & Holiday Lights Kidical Mass. The RSVP numbers were in the mid teens, with another dozen maybes, yet, I didn’t expect them all to show up. I was bouncing out of my saddle when I pulled into the park. I saw several folks unloading bikes, pumping tires, adjusting helmets in the parking lot. As I approached the fountain, the numbers multiplied. Dozens of cyclists not only made an appearance, they decorated their bikes! One middle schooler was elfishly dressed, with gift wrapped saddle and helmet. There was tinsel. Bows. Lights. Bells. Ribbon. Hats. Presents. Ho ho ho pants. The whole tri-state was represented, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia residents.

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(photo credit: Dennis Blevins)

I wasn’t able to get a photo of everyone before the ride, and I wished I could have. It was their creativity, their presence that made last night so wonderful. So much joy. Brent did capture a lot of video, please take a look. He got up very early to put this together for you.

Kidical Mass December 2012 from Brent Patterson on Vimeo.

Our group of 42 stretched a block. I’d be at a stop sign in the front and see Brent at the tail, just crossing an intersection. The traffic was light, so while we didn’t roll a group through stop signs, it was often possible for large portions of us to cross or turn together. It is important to teach the children where the signs and lights are, how to read them, and what is an appropriate and safe action. Several parents helped us turn right onto a four lane, then left at the next light onto a side street. Keeping the children to our right side as much as possible and behind the lead rider (moi) and in front of the sweep (Brent). When crossing back to the park we had to be a bit more aggressive by corking the crosswalk so everyone could return safely.

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Another factor I wasn’t planning, but played very well for my jingle, were the bumpy brick streets. It was akin to mogul skiing. The brick was sometimes bumpy, but the dips and mounds were amusing. My bells rung gayly.

(photo credit: Dennis Blevins)
(Photo credit: Dennis Blevins)

Holiday music would have pushed the ride up to the top notch. As it was, it was fantastic, but a little holly jolly holiday tuneage would have made it twinkle. Then again, no one would have been able to hear me give directions and check in with the children about cold toeses and runny noses.

ACE riders! (photo credit: Dennis Blevins)

The weather was amazing, and I do think that much of the success of the ride was because of the uncontrollable. We saw 50Fs during the day and they began to dip with sunset. I’d say it was still upper 40s when we arrived with a smidgen of light left and only lower 40s or high 30s when we embarked for home. The roads were dry, all the snow and ice from Friday nights Critical Mass having melted away. The winds dissipated and we rolled merrily along.

Every ride around the world has their own take on a Kidical Mass to meet the needs of their community. If you are inspired to plan your own Kidical Mass ride, and you have my full encouragement, please check out these links.

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iPhone panoramic view A of our Gino’s Pizza, post ride, dinner group. We filled the house!
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iPhone panoramic feature. One point of view of the dinner group. A group of ACE members joined us for the ride, sans children, which made their appearance even more special. I love that everyone felt comfortable and welcome to join us.
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We parked in the lot at Ginos Pizza after the ride, where more than half the riders joined us for dinner! I forgot to flip my Kidical Mass sign down for the ride (and press!) but did so for this photo (taken through the shop window).
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Musical bikes. Avery (6yo) rode with Oliver and I for the ride and with Brent for the to and from home portion. We packed extra everything. Good thing too, as Avery dunked his gloved hands into the icy fountain at the park.
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Oliver (3yo), bundled up in the PeanutShell on the Yuba. He insisted on the scarf, which doubled as a hand muff, as he wouldn’t wear his gloves. The windbreaker jacket, tied on backward around the seat, covered his pajama pants, which were a base layer under his daytime pants which he removed earlier. We choose our battles.

For more takes on this Jingle Bell ride, check out the gallery and article in the Herald Dispatch today.

Critical Mass December Edition Wrap Up

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Cold. Check. Dark. Check. Snow. Check. Wind. Oh yes.

Seems fall wandered out and winter blasted its way in. Brent joined 4 other gentlemen on a six-eight mile (who’s counting?) course for December Critical Mass last night. Low 30s, possibly upper 20s(F), grueling, finger numbing winds slowed the pack as they worked their way to Central City, but helped them sail back to Huntington on the return trip. Brent says it was slick, black icy and due to the dark and snow, they missed several pot holes, yet, all survived. I think he was actually bragging on his adventure, just a little. Feels good to get out there.

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Brent humored me by taking my decked out Yuba. What’s a snowy ride without tinsel and bells on the first day of winter?

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See you on January 18, 2013 for the January Edition, or maybe tomorrow December 23 for Kidical Mass. It’s forecasted to be mid 40s and clear. We meet at five, when there is just enough light left, but the house holiday lights are visible.

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