I just have to share the excitement, the fun and the over abundance of love that I experience every year in June when the big Chad Smith Ride for Life event takes place. As a long time resident of the beautiful community of St. Michael, I could not help but to hop on board to take part of this very eventful day.
I personally never had the honor of meeting Chad but somebody had mentioned to me of a fundraiser that was going to happen for Chad and donations were needed. Ironically I had just received in the mail a painting from a friend of mine who is a Minnesota artist. I knew instantly exactly where that painting needed to go. So I donated it for the auction that year, I was later told that it was a high bidder that took that painting home. I thought to myself, “boy next year I am getting in on this if it happens again by donating something”. It just simply made my heart fill with happiness to know that in a very small effort I was so to speak…paying it forward.
When it was announced that the Ride for Life Organization was doing the benefit for Luke Letellier, I scheduled everything in my life right around that ride. Luke’s Dad, Rob had been a personal acquaintance of my Mum’s. And Rob has done so many grateful things for her since the passing of my Dad (Joe Papa) who lost his battle to lung cancer in April of 1998. How could I not show my support to the Letellier family?
I was up at the crack of dawn that morning, filled with complete excitement to watch the bikes take off from Dittos and in the same sense completely saddened that yet another person from my home town community was hit by cancer, such a young and vibrate young boy.
I wasn’t able to ride that year but I did take part in all of the festivities that occurred in the morning. I said a prayer that everybody would be safe as the riders mounted their bikes and raised their kick stands for Luke. I raced over to Kaiser Circle with my video camera in hand.
As the bikes began to enter the cul-de-sac, my heart filled with emotions I had never experienced before. Some of those emotions are only felt one day out of the year…the Ride for Life day. Emotions of excitement, well because that is what seeing that many bikes does to a gal and then the emotions of complete sadness set in. As I continued to film, the tears rolled down my cheeks for Jenny, Rob and the entire family. Such a gracious, humbling family.
I was completely hooked! I was completely hooked on all of the greatness that the Ride for Life Organization does. I knew instantly that I would never in my life, miss this yearly event. I would move mountains if I had to, to be there and support this Organization and more importantly the Ride’s recipient.
I have stayed true my words…I have not missed another Ride for Life event since. I haven’t had to move mountains so to speak but I have had to drive 10 hours from Mohall, ND to St. Michael to take part of this event for the last 2 years. We relocated to the oil patch a week after Maddy’s ride. And I am excited to say I have not missed a ride yet!
As I begin to gear up to make that long trek home to support Scott and his family for this ride on June 21st, I have reflected on the previous years of being a part of the Chad Smith Ride for Life. I have thought of my own family members who have passed from this dreadful monster. My own Mum is a 3 time cancer Warrior, winning her last battle in March of 2013 to lung cancer at the tender age of 75. So it was inevitable that I would, without question support this Organization.
I am so grateful for the folks who have pulled off this wonderful event for the people of my hometown community. These people have the biggest hearts on the planet. They became friends, and before I knew they were all a part of my family.
Jody Lynch doesn’t know it, but I hold a very special spot for her in my heart. No parent should ever have to bury a child, no matter what the age. She endured so much sorrow when she lost Chad and the months that followed. But she prevailed! Knowing that Chad will never be forgotten and will live forever in the hearts of the friends, family & recipient who gather in June every year to carry on Chad’s wishes must just make her heart completely over joyed. She is somebody I look up to for sharing her story of a loving Mama and her son.
So I am sending a huge SHOUT OUT to the Ride for Life crew! Words can never truly express the gratefulness that I have in my heart for what you guys do. I can never thank you enough. You guys completely ROCK! Thank you for carrying out Chad’s dreams. I know that he smiles down on all of us on that very eventful day.
And to Scott, I look forward to meeting you and your family. You don’t know it yet but I am your biggest fan in North Dakota, well…unless you have family here. And if that is the case, I claim the title of your biggest fan from Mohall, ND. Keep your chin up Scott, this will be the best ride of your life! And your family just got 600 times bigger!
Ride Safe & Ride for Life!