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My cycling buddy & Achilles teammate Jeff – otherwise known as Iraq Veteran USMC Jeff Chaffin – is going to ride 200 miles in 24 hours on his handcycle this weekend!  Why?

JeffHandcycle

He’s raising money to purchase a boy with Brittle Bone Disease a handcycle of his very own.

EthanJeff

I’ll be joining Jeff on my recumbent trike when he begins his ride of Mayhem on Friday evening (8:30PM) at Memorial Park.  We’ve ridden together before but Jeff always leaves me in his dust, so my hope is that he’ll start out with a slightly easier pace this time – especially given how far & long he’s going to be riding.  Please, Jeff, have mercy on me 🙂

Jeff & Denise-1

Jeff is what I’d call a No Opportunity Wasted kind of guy, and nothing proves it more than his devotion to Ethan.  They only just met, but that didn’t stop Jeff from vowing to make a difference in Ethan’s life.  It happened like this.

Jeff was coming home to Houston from a race event with Team RBW (Red, White & Blue) in Philidelphia. When the flight he was supposed to be on was delayed he had a chance encounter with Ethan & his family in the airport terminal.  Ethan & Jeff swapped stories.  Which is to say, they made a connection.

Jeff knows better than most what it’s like to not be able to move through the day-to-day with the ease of the able-bodied, without limitations or the concern for safety.  He also knows what it’s like to lose the sensations of feeling powerful, independent & free with regard to one’s body & motion.  Which is to say, Jeff recognized something of himself in young Ethan.  He saw a boy who desperately desired a way to be (safely) active & a-part-of, a way to play with other kids his age.  Jeff saw a kid who wanted to M-O-V-E; to feel strong; to go fast.  Yeah, Jeff certainly knows about all of that.

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So he conceived a plan.  And then he took action.

Actions>Words

He established the Ethan Yamashita Handcycling Fund.  Riding a handcycle has transformed Jeff’s life; now he’s determined to give that same gift of transformation to seven-year-old Ethan.  Hence, 200 miles in 24 hours on a handcycle.  Like I said, he’s a No Opportunity Wasted kind of guy.

What are you doing this weekend?  I can’t think of a better way to start off your weekend than bearing witness to someone in the act of making the world a better, safer, more joy-filled place for a child in need.

 EthanYamashita

If you ride or run, come out tomorrow evening (Friday, July 12th) & Saturday, do a lap or two with us.  Come out & clap your hands, wave a sign or a pom-pom, Whoop! & Holler.  As the miles start to really add up, energy flags & the thermometer begins to rise, encouragement will make all the difference to reaching his goal.

The cycling loop at Memorial Park begins/ends right there by the water fountains/bathrooms on Picnic Ln (park near the sand volleyball courts).  There will be folks in Achilles T-shirts,

AchillesHoustonR

the good people of Bike Barn, the handsome & uber-talented photography dude from Dog Star Pics (AKA my husband Gary), balloons, bikes, recumbent trikes, wheelchairs & handcycles – and a fluffy golden service dog

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– you can’t miss us!  I reached out to the wild-n-crazy three (cycling) amigos from the Click2Houston news team (local 2 KPRC) – Anthony Yanez, Andy Cerotta & Owen Conflenti

AndyAnthonyOwenMS150-jpg

– whom I met on the Lone Star Bike MS 150 this year.  I also invited my friend Don Teague from My Fox Houston (local Fox news) – who interviewed me last year (& later adopted our foster horse dog Elvis).  So I’m really hoping these cycle-lovin’ guys accept my invitation to ride with us (or at least cheer us on) for a little while.  Who knows, maybe there’ll be a news team cycling face-off? :0)

Please, consider donating to this fabulous endeavor.  Because, seriously, what could possibly be more rewarding than being a part of the manifestation of a child’s dream?

Here’s the great story that local Fox News did on Jeff & Ethan.

Here’s directions:
From 45
Take the ramp on the left onto I-45 N –  23.8 mi
Take exit 47B for Memorial Dr –  0.4 mi
Merge onto Houston Ave –  151 ft
Turn left onto N Memorial Way –  0.1 mi
Take the ramp on the left onto Memorial Dr –  0.2 mi
Slight left to stay on Memorial Dr –  1.1 mi
Slight left to stay on Memorial Dr –  2.8 mi
Turn left onto Picnic Ln –  459 ft

Arrive at: N Picnic Ln & park across from the sand volleyball courts, closest to the bathrooms & picnic loop.

From 610, exit Woodway or Memorial, you’ll be coming onto Memorial Dr from the opposite direction & taking a right onto Picnic Ln

From 59, exit Shepard (or take Kirby to Shepard) & then turn left onto Memorial Dr & left onto Picnic Ln

From I-10, exit Shepard & turn right onto Memorial Dr & left onto Picnic Ln

~            ~            ~

PS

I’m training for the SanDiego Tri Challenge!  Can you believe it?  This will be my first triathlon since MS came-a-vistin’ to my life.  I’m raising funds & awareness for Challenged Athletes Foundation, an organization devoted to making a difference in the lives of folks with illness & disability who need our help to enjoy a more active, independent, wild-&-wonderful life.  Like this guy, JJ.

CAFkiddo

Wanna make a difference?  You could pass on my story & donation page:  email, Tweet, Facebook post – anything you can think of to spread the word would be an enormous to help to me.  And, more importantly, to CAF :0)

Here’s where you can donate to my San Diego Tri Challenge adventure.  And you may read more about my motivation for this ride & the marvelous Challenged Athletes Foundation in my previous blog post.

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