One day in 2017, Chris told me that he was going to do something he had always thought about. Knowing that he is a committed golfer, I naturally assumed that it had to have something to do with golf. As he has mentioned on the blog, he was already trying to play the top 100 clubs in the world.
Boy was I wrong. Chris had decided that he was going to ride his bike across the country despite the fact that he didn’t currently ride a bike. On the other end of the phone, as you might expect my immediate reaction was probably like most. I asked him if he was crazy. I thought driving across the country would make more sense given that Chris loves his long distance trips in a car. It would certainly be safer, which would make Deirdre happy. However, if you know Chris you are probably not surprised by his choice. He is determined, and his enthusiasm for a challenge unwavering. So off he went to get himself ready for what you would have thought was just any old bike ride.
As the start drew closer, Chris never seemed worried whether he would be able to finish the ride. He was always positive and worked through the preparations one day at a time. He started to ride regularly, worked with a coach and of course figured out all of the gear that he would need. The last part was no doubt the most fun. To be honest, most people in his situation might have changed their mind or prepared themselves for not being able to ride every foot and inch of the journey but not Chris. He met the challenge one day at a time by doing what he does best, not worrying about the what ifs. In turn he has become quite the cyclist, developing the skills and understanding needed to make the ride his own.
I have always had a great relationship with Chris. From the first day I met him on a visit to the US to meet our family, I knew he was a keeper. He made Deirdre happy and to me that was most important. For many years, the visits were further apart given they lived in the UK and I in the US. However, whenever we were together it seemed like I had only seen him a few days ago. We chatted for hours, spent time with his mom Betty and his Uncle Jim, hung out with the kids, played the par 3, watched a few hallmark movies which Chris loves (just kidding), and always found time for a good Indian dinner. For me personally, Chris has always been supportive and willing to share his keen ability to keep perspective and not let the situation become bigger than what is in reality. He is one of the most supportive people you will meet, who has the kindest heart and is caring beyond measure.
He will no doubt have hundreds of stories to tell in addition to endless accounts of the people he has met and the places he has been. But as he nears the end of the ride having ridden every foot and inch, I now have a better appreciation for how impressive this journey has been. He has shown everyone that what the future holds in store is not always clear, but we should make the most of every day as there are no guarantees. When he finishes next Friday in Boston, I will be there to cheer him home and to celebrate his journey. While many can’t be there the best way to show your support is by donating to the Mayo in support of research into WM. It is easy to do and the best way to impact future care and treatment options for people like Chris. Donate at https://lifewithedge.com/donate/