Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In with the New, Remembering the Old

As 2009 comes to a close many of us are prone to remember the year, or years, past. We are no different. 2009 marks five years that we have been participating in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Ride for a Cure. In that time Mary and I have collected over $35,000 in donations and the West Michigan team has accounted for almost $1,000,000 in research funds. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our effort.

Mary, age 4, on her first bike

While the long distance riding for a cause is a relatively new chapter in our lives, we've been riding bikes for a long time. Mary rode around Grandville on a daily basis when she was in high school. Her big trip was riding out to Holland with her friend Linda (Oegema) Milanowski. I grew up on a farm five miles north of Lowell. I would ride my 3 speed POS into town to play basketball for several hours and then ride home. (Which really was up hill all the way.)

When we got married we both had Schwinn 10 speeds. We'd pull the kids behind them in a Burley. Our biggest trip was probably the 8 mile ride around Mackinac Island. Colleen was on her own bike, I had a junior tandem with Jake, and Mary had Ian on the back in a kid carrier. Now we've moved up to fancy road bikes, mine is a black Cannondale SR500 and Mary rides a white Bianchi Brava. The 10 mile rides that used to knock us out for the rest of the weekend are now what we do for a warm-up. I've completed seven century rides plus a whole lot of 50 mile plus rides, including several metric centuries. The amazing thing to me is that I completed my first century ride on my 48th birthday. So much for slowing down as you get older.

Once again, thanks to everyone who has supported us either financially or with their thoughts and prayers. 2010 is going to be a great year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas greetings

By popular request this photo is back from last Christmas. It's our family rendered as Christmas Cookies.

From More Than 100 Miles...
Tom, looking like Mr. Bill. Mary, in a sparkly dress. Colleen, in her denim student-teacher jumper. Jake, dressed as Teddy Roosevelt. And Ian, in the Rockford orange and black.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A tough year

Our JDRF West Michigan Ride community lost another member last week. Don Milanowski passed away on the morning of November 21st of a sudden heart attack. Don rode with our team in Whitefish in 2007 and Death Valley in 2008. But more than a fellow rider he was a good friend. Mary and Don's wife Linda have been friends since high school. We are greatly saddened by this loss. I posted a longer message on our team blog which you can read by clicking here.

Don was the third JDRF person to pass away this year. In April, Bill Andro passed away due to diabetes complications. Bill was a former JDRF West Michigan board member. He was also the father of Ride Team members Sarah and Rob Andro. Then in July another former board member and Ride Team member, Rod Stephens, passed away due to cancer. These men will all be greatly missed for the contributions they brought to our program as well as the joy they brought into our lives.

Ride in Peace Bill, Rod and Don.