Breath is so automatic we take it for granted until we or someone we love can't breathe. Then we understand how precious each breath is and how quickly life changes when breathing becomes a struggle.
I had that discovery moment six years ago when my mother died from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). She'd never been a smoker. She had always been a singer, an avid talker, and an enthusiastic laugher. Breath came easily to her and she shared it generously. So when COPD shrank her ability to sing, talk, and laugh, her joy in being here also diminished.
The inaugural Reach The Beach Washington ride sponsored by the American Lung Association came in 2017, eleven months after my mother died. Along with thousands of other cyclists, I rode in the event that year to honor my mom. Last year, the event came on her birthday, so I rode it again.
Now I'm participating in the Reach The Beach Washington ride for the third time. It's always a good reminder of the gifts Mom shared for 91 years with those she loved. And it's a good reminder to me to cherish each breath that's given to me. I carry that thought with me when I ride the 100 miles from Lacey to Westport, Washington; and when I ride the thousands of miles I cycle each year for the joy of being outdoors and living in a healthy body. Not everyone has that simple luxury.
And so I ride for them.
Will you join with me by making a donation in support of my Reach The Beach ride? Together we can bring life-giving and joy-restoring breath to those who can't take something as basic as breath for granted.
Thank you for your support!