I want to personally thank each and every one of you for your continued support and interest in The Ride for Hope. It’s a blessing that we have made it to the 12th year already, and none of this would be possible without the continued support from each and every one of you!
Each of us has some kind of personal experience in one way or another with cancer. I will never forget when I learned what it was and how devastating it can be. When I was just 8 years old cancer claimed the life of my sweet grandmother at the age of 62. I can remember watching her fight so hard to just have one more day to be with her family. When she lost her battle after just a few months of being diagnosed it was devastating to me and my family. Then, five years later I witnessed the same thing again with my grandfather as he battled and lost his fight to cancer as well.
They did not have access to the facilities that we have here in Tallahassee today. There were no specialists they could go to nearby, or any cancer centers to help with treatment, nor did they have the means to travel hundreds if not thousands of miles to one of these locations. Had they had access to what we have here in Tallahassee today I truly believe they both would have lived a much longer life, and quite possibly would still be here today.
This will be my 7th year as part of The Ride for Hope family, but it feels like I’ve been part of this outstanding event since day one. I moved to Tallahassee from LaGrange, Georgia in October of 2009, and I happen to know the wonderful Tina Darnell, Ride Director at the time. Tina asked me if I would like to help out for this fantastic event that she volunteered for so I said sure. Little did I know that weekend in June of 2010 would have such a big impact on my life. After that weekend was over I went home, completely worn out, but I realized just how much fun I had. When the second year rolled around and Tina asked me if I wanted to be Volunteer Coordinator I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Over these 7 years I have gained so many wonderful friends, and heard so many inspiring stories of the brave people who are battling cancer or know someone who is. I’ve heard the stories of people who have lost the battle to cancer, and have seen their families continue to spread the message of Hope in their names. After all, that’s the most important thing in that battle. Faith and Hope!
The moment you learn what The Ride for Hope stands for and Lou Farrah’s story you’ll understand why this event is such a big success and why it continues to grow every year. I have personally never met Lou, but I have had the pleasure of knowing his wonderful family and hearing how strong and courageous he was during his battle with cancer. His family (wife Jenny, and sons Jason and Jeffrey) were there by his side the whole time, and despite being told he only had six months left Lou proved that he had the fight and was blessed with another two years.
Lou and his family decided to start a bike ride for the Tallahassee area to raise awareness for those families who struggle with cancer, and The Ride for Hope was born in their living room. Twelve years later the event has grown from a small gathering of riders in Celebration Baptist Church parking lot, to a two day long event at the North Florida Fairgrounds bringing in hundreds of riders and thousands of guests. This event’s growth is a testament of the spirit of those who fight cancer, whether it’s themselves, their family, friends, and even the doctors and staff that fight along with them.
The Ride for Hope has grown to be more than just a cycling event. It’s also an opportunity for families to come together, vendors to showcase their services, and a health fair to educate the community on healthy lifestyles. It’s a time for friends and family to come together and remember those we’ve lost, cheer on those who are fighting now, and spread the message of hope to Tallahassee, to North Florida, and beyond. This is what Lou envisioned for this community, and I stand as part of this event because I truly believe in the Farrah family’s vision of bringing hope to cancer patients, and their families and friends right here in Florida’s Big Bend. This vision is what makes it possible for the funds raised by The Ride for Hope to go towards the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center and the people it serves to bring cancer care right here in our hometown.
For me to be able to volunteer as the Ride Director is an honor and a true privilege to this event, community, and everything that The Ride for Hope stands for. I invite you to join our team and become part of our family, whether it’s through riding one of the many courses through the beautiful rolling hills of this area, volunteering in one of the many opportunities with the event, or just coming out to be a part of the crowd. Whatever capacity you serve is truly an inspiring testament to the many lives that cancer has touched. The proceeds from The Ride for Hope will make a huge difference in many lives and bring hope to those who need it the most.
If you are interested in participating in The Ride for Hope Vendor Expo on Friday night, June 9th or The Ride for Hope Health Fair on Saturday, June 10th, please contact Theresa Shannon at [email protected].
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Ashlee Evans our Volunteer Coordinator at [email protected].
Please feel free to contact any of us with questions, ideas, or suggestions. Anything that you can think of that will make this event even better is greatly appreciated. After all, that’s what continues to grow The Ride for Hope year after year. See you at The Ride for Hope 2017, and thank you for your support!
Don’t forget to register and join The Ride for Hope, sponsor and give Hope, and spread the word to your friends, family, colleagues, and communities to keep the Hope alive!