This was the 10th year that Spokes of Hope was invited to Valley Preferred Velodrome in Trexlertown, Pa. In previous years, we had childhood cancer survivors “take a lap” against cancer sometime during the evening races.
We were the pee-wee football team that gets to play on the big field for five minutes of the half-time of an NFL game. Or the midget hockey team that gets five minutes between periods at an NHL game. There is also some down-time between races at the velodrome and Spokes of Hope filled the gap by introducing the childhood cancer survivors.
But it was always a blast for us. For Cindi Hart, she just glowed when she could teach the young kids how to ride on the track even if it was the flat ground-level apron. But that would not happen this year.
In the past it has never been smooth. We usually didn’t find out until an hour or so before the program when we would go on. But riding the track was only half of it. Spokes of Hope loaded up a trailer and brought a full display and store from Indiana to sell at the velodrome. And some of the mission was just support for people coming by.
Call it a miscommunication, but we arrived only to be told that we would not be riding on the track. Uh-oh. No worries. We still had the tent plus there was an entire evening of bike races.
My cousins from New Jersey, Stacey Gravina and her family, always come over to see me. That always makes it special. Stacey was the mother of Jake “The Hero” Grecco, one of our heroes.
But this year was especially hard. I had hoped that my cousin, Kay Walborn, would join us as a cancer warrior. Instead, her name was the latest to be added to the Spokes of Hope banner that Cindi carries with her on rides. Kay lost her battle five days earlier.
One of the people that came through was young Lexi. She was diagnosed with Acute lymphocytic leukemia (A.L.L.) in February, 2015, finished treatment May, 2017, and relapsed December, 2017. Lexi – we ride for you!
If Friday is all work, especially if we don’t get to ride), then Saturday is all play. Each year we meet for a group ride out to Topton and back. We meet at The Market Cafe which is quite a neat place situated right next to two train tracks. Unless you’re a railfan, which I am, you probably don’t want to be sipping on a cold drink when a train rumbles by.
The ride is truly one of my favorite rides of the year. It is just fun. But it is also a ride with other warriors – a brotherhood, and sisterhood, that can’t be explained and we don’t want others to join. But if you are diagnosed then we welcome you.
We had another great Saturday morning ride. Weather was perfect. Company was superb. I love my Spokes of Hope family.