Today I ride for the 2020 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.
An Aggressive Goal Set
The goal I set this year was $10,000. A tough goal given the state of things in 2020. Today, we are well past that goal; a testament to my community, my family, my friends. A testament to the small businesses and my employer who, despite the pressures of an uncertain future, did everything they could to help.
It’s a pretty amazing feeling to have this level and kind of support. The cause is important and we have done an amazing job.
Why I Do This
I suppose I found my way to The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride as a result of the moustache and motorcycle that have been a big part of my life for the past decade. It just seemed a natural fit. I’ve told of the genesis of my handlebar moustache previously; during a Tough Mudder run with initial fundraising going to Movember. I am not sure as you read this whether my beard or moustache survived the fundraising – I offered them up and the highest collective vote will, as of this writing, see me clean shaven for the first time in many years. Unless some unexpected push happened in the 11th hour then my chin and cheeks will be sun-kissed today as I ride.
More on the why though.
I came to realize that there are a lot of fundraising efforts throughout the year, but I found September to be especially crowded with many worthy charities working hard towards their respective causes. For me, it was a matter of committing to one for which I could offer more than just a donation. I felt I was best able to participate, contribute, promote and encourage others to join me in supporting The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, and therefore, decided to get fully involved. This isn’t to suggest that I committed to the ride arbitrarily.
Prostate cancer and men’s mental health have touched me. Navigating this world, the fast pace of the 21st century, and life during pandemic, war, and social upheaval is not easy. The path is not clear. The challenges are many, each of us with our own version to contend. Cancer seems to be everywhere, and in so many forms; it is hard to know where best to focus one’s efforts. In the past I’ve supported the Terry Fox Foundation’s work, Breast Cancer initiatives, Brain Cancer and others. However, as a male in his autumn years, prostate cancer is a real and relevant concern, and one from which I have known several friends and acquaintances to have suffered.
I lost my first friend to suicide when I was 16. Before I was eighteen I would lose another, and another still in a teammate from the football team. There have been other suicides throughout my life. Not all men. However, suicide has been an issue I’ve had to confront throughout my life.
Life’s tough, and you never know what another is going through. I am trying with the Gentleman’s Ride to do my part to help, but in the end, it doesn’t have to be a monetary donation, nor to a formal charity that one gives. Sometimes just an ear or shoulder is enough. To take the time to listen and be present for others. Of course, simple kindness and respect go a long way too.
Many have already donated. I am grateful. It’s okay not to. Much like my focus on this charity effort, many have others they focus on, donate to, and participate with. Perfect. That stated, if you could share my efforts and this year’s accomplishment with someone you might know would be interested in supporting me, getting involved, or perhaps has had prostate cancer or mental health affect their lives, please let them know of my effort; donations are accepted until mid-October.
This effort is, for me, one of the ways I find purpose and meaning, and help myself to stave off the demons and ailments of a world seemingly gone haywire.
I would ask also, just generally, that you take the time to be present for those in your life, because you never know whom needs help. It is not always obvious. Be kind and extend respect; it may be the line or bridge someone needs to pull themselves off a precipice you don’t even know exists.
There is a link in this text to my donation page, or likewise, on my Home page.