Often times, I think back to the days where my Mom would come to me in tears telling me she no longer wanted to live. As a young girl, this pained me seeing my mother’s health diminish before my eyes... after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, my mother’s initial reaction was sadness - not because of her life ending, but for the fear of being absent from mine and my sister’s as we grew up. As her cognitive skills weakened, Mom would often seek comfort from me, telling me that she was ready for the pain to be over and to be in heaven.
As a 10 year old girl, I did not take these words lightly. Attempting to make light out of a dark situation, I searched directions to heaven on google maps, printed them and then organized a trip to our mountain house.. “We’re going to heaven,” I said, “pack your bags!” By the time, we had made it to her favorite spot, she had forgotten about her sad wishes for the day.
I share this private story with hopes to encourage others to not take advantage of the “little” luxuries we are given.. our health, our loved ones.. it is truly a GIFT to have these irreplaceable blessings. On my worst days, I am thankful for good health, for supportive family and the precious friends who I am lucky to surround myself with. And this alone is enough for me to make it through.
Like mentioned before, I was 10 years old when my Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My older sister was 12 and our mom was 52. She fought her fight for 10 long years and passed away in 2014. To celebrate her life, my family and I decided go on a big biking trip in Chile. It was an incredibly challenging trip, physically and mentally. Little did I know that, it would open up a new chapter for me through cycling. It brought me a feeling of gratitude for being able to pedal my feet.. the more often I did it the stronger I felt. Very soon after this, I discovered cyclebar in Greenville. And it then became my outlet. The classes not only led me to shedding 25 pounds of weight (that I had put on throughout the process of losing my Mom), but it also lifted my spirits and led me to form many genuine friendships.
CycleBar encouraged me to take a negative experience and turn it into a positive. On a surface level, I was taking fun spin classes with my friends. There was upbeat music, bright lights and electric cycle star instructors who all became their riders best friends. What others didn’t see, is that through cyclebar I reclaimed my health and my happiness in these walls and on these bikes. After training here for a couple years, My family and I decided to take on a 252 mile bike ride from Greenville, SC to Charleston, SC for an event called the “Ride to Remember.” This past year we raised $600,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association (with a little help from a couple charity classes donated by cyclebar along the way.) We plan to ride our third year this July. Our team name is “Riding for Mamas”. We ride for all of the moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, etc.
My hope is that these tiny efforts will bring awareness to Alzheimer’s in being apart of ending this cruel disease, so that future generations will not have to lose these luxuries that we so often take advantage of.