Friday, May 4, 2007

My first day of Ride for Life

Ride for Life Day 6 North Babylon to West Babylon

On Thursday morning we were greeted by the marching band and cheerleaders of North Babylon High School. Outside of the school was a huge sign “We remember Mrs. Murphy”. Mrs. Mary Murphy was Jeanellen’s mom, who died about a year and a half ago after a 13-month battle with ALS. Jeanellen’s whole family was there. They brought her wheelchair and hung the flag from Ride for Life with her name on the wheelchair. We were all in our wheelchairs with our name flags and there was Mary’s empty wheelchair with her name flag. You got the feeling Mary Murphy was there with us in spirit. Jeanellen made an emotional speech. And I looked over at Jeanellen’s dad and I saw that he was very emotional. He had met his wife when they were both teachers in the elementary school down the road.

The band played and the cheerleaders danced and then we set out for our ride into Babylon and then West Babylon, followed by 100 North Babylon High School students, bikers and walkers, including my aide Ellita and of course Jeanellen. As we passed the elementary and middle schools, the little ones were all outside, holding signs they had made in crayon with quotes such as “Ride for life -- stamp out ALS” and “We love you, ALS patients”. They were all so cute and so sincere.

I skipped today, which was Syosset to Oceanside because I could get a ride to the starting point but not home from the finishing point. Tomorrow I am meeting the ride in the afternoon for lunch in Corona and then riding to Roosevelt Island. Sunday is a big day. We start at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, go over the Brooklyn Bridge and over to Washington Square Park for lunch. Then we go up to East Harlem to the birthplace of Lou Gehrig and then over to the West Side for a ceremony at Columbia University and finally a prayer service at the chapel at Columbia. I am hoping I make it through that long, long day.

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