Monday, August 15, 2016

Bike MS 2016


Many of you have already received a similar version of this.  Over the next few weeks, many more will.  In case my outreach doesn’t extend as far as I wish, I’m sharing my message here.

On August 6-7 I rode.  For the 14th consecutive year, my resolve and commitment in this fight against multiple sclerosis peaked in a glorious Bike MS weekend.  My takeaways were plentiful.  Most important, however, was the single driving message I learned so long ago: Never Stop… Never Quit…

Please review this event report, covering some of my most precious highlights.  Afterward, please consider a strong donation of support for my 2016 fundraising efforts: main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/EMBK.

After final preparations on Friday, I trekked down to Monmouth, OR to greet the arriving members of Team Amulet. 25 riders joined Brie, Eleanor, and me this year on our team.  Though a bit smaller than some past years, the mix still blended every aspect of our lives: friends, family, neighbors, co-workers (both old and new), as well as new found connections. After site set-up and some short Friday celebrations, I settled for the night in preparation of a long day Saturday.

I Rode
Definitely the most important claim to stake was the fact that I pushed, dragged, and cursed my failing body out on Saturday morning to tackle the course.  I had more than my fair share of support getting me out, from my fellow rider helping me wrap a bike glove over my cramped and knotted left hand, to Brie strapping my bike shoes, to the group of fellow riders helping me ease my body down into my recumbent trike.  It’s humbling to need such support for basic tasks, but he fact that I never even have to ask is a most amazing thing.  My friends know my limitations, even better than I do or will admit, and they are there waiting to help…

I lifted my leg to lock my shoe into its clip, effectively strapping down a limb that provides little pedal power these days.  I finally felt ‘at home’.  There are few places my body feels completely at ease these days, but this is one.  The only close comparison I can share is that elation I felt every time I climbed into a helicopter seat (way back when).  Just being there make everything better; pain, cramping, numbness, and tingling symptoms, normally ever-present, seem to drift away when I ease into my trike.  I know they’ll return, but just not now.  Maybe that’s one reason I enjoy these moments even more!

All my body was able do this day was the short, flat route of 18 miles.  I rode with fellow-Amulets Brie, Sue, and Tommi on the course.  Like an energetic little puppy, I’d often burst ahead a bit, then slow down to circle back and rejoin my team.  On occasion I would have grand thoughts of extending my course or tackling some hills of the longer routes. That wasn’t going to happen this year.  A few seasons ago, I rode the 100-mile ‘century route’ and tackled the 4,500’+ of elevation.  The satisfaction of 18 miles and 150’+ of elevation would have to suffice this year.  Strangely enough…it was still truly exhilarating!

Highlight #1
The greatest part of Saturday was near the end. After an incredible ride, relaxation, and celebration with our 600+ Bike MS family, we were treated to an outdoor movie showing in the early evening.  To kick off the night’s theatre, all the children in attendance gathered up front, where I read them the story of My MS and E

As I read our story, Eleanor flipped through the pages for the huddled group.  The story is kind of like memorization of West Point Plebe Knowledge by now, as I can easily recite the tale backwards and forwards on command!  That gave me the chance instead to stare into all the young faces present and relish in their wonderment.  All I could thing was “Here I am reading a story to this adorable group of children, my words echoing across the campground to the whole group in attendance.  I’m telling a story that’s a tale of my own personal fears and struggles; a story that I’ve now published for all the world to read!”  That’s a world away from anything I’ve ever experienced before.  Nothing compares to that moment.  I never expected to ever feel this level of emotion reading a simple children’s story.

Highlight #2
Sunday morning threatened to take the wind out of my sails as a building pain in my knees added to my standard array of ailments.  I wasn’t looking forward to the ‘Victory Ride’ either.  The day’s events started out with a 1-mile loop around the camp perimeter road, completed by 57 riders this year who battle MS.  The I Ride With MS stage is a thank you to all supporters, as well as a motivation to us fighting. 

Writing is easy for me, as I can hide behind my keyboard and share my emotions, thoughts, feelings, and fears. This short ride puts me out in front of everyone.  I fear the display and often considered passing on the moment.  I’m so glad I did not!

I rode with Bonnie Iglesias and Michael Braem for the loop.  If you ever need to find inspiration and motivation, look no further than Bonnie and Michael.  When I met them, some 9 years ago, neither could ride.  Walking was a chore barely experienced, yet they continue to fight.  They never let obstacles hinder the effort to gain and do more.  As we rode, I watched them.  I reminded myself over and over: if Bonnie and Michael can make such an effort to do this, I owe it to them, my family, my supporters, and me to try…to work just as hard.

Every once in a while, I need my own series of reminders as to why I fight and why I need to push further.  Bike MS reminds me that the fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.

I will do my best to put my fight into words, and share the need, value, losses, and victories of life with MS.  Your support and donations will help us find that cure.  Please support my fight.  main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/EMBK

Thank You!

Love,
Kevin

The fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.
It will never stop…nor will we
It will never quit…nor will we
This is why we ride…write…fight!

Never Stop… Never Quit…®

Kevin Byrne
Portland, OR

 Never Stop... Never Quit... Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Bike MS 2016 - Holding out for a Hero


please support my fight with a donation and share my message past my reach!


I normally spend a lot of time reaching out to my army of donors and supporters. I must apologize for this year.  Typing, of all things, has become difficult.  My consolidated words end up in a forum from which they can reach the furthest.  This is why I write!

As part of my fight against multiple sclerosis, I’m riding for the 14th year with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This year’s ride is August 6-7 in Monmouth, OR (Bike MS: Willamette Valley 2016).

This past year has been especially challenging. For that reason, my ever-looming message is more valuable today. It’s time to ride. It’s time to move. I know what I need to do. I’m asking for your help again to make that a reality.

My body is failing
That’s no secret to people who see me every day, but the damage is indeed mounting.
Five years ago I climbed Mount Rainier. A few weeks later my body broke down once again. I struggled, but I mostly recovered.
Four years ago I rode the STP (Seattle to Portland) ride on my recumbent trike. Soon after my body failed worse; my healing was slower; my recovery less complete.
Three years ago, we left our beloved neighborhood to a one-level house in a flat part of town. The realization that stairs were not part of my daily routine became all too apparent.
Two years ago, I climbed Angel’s Rest for what I fear will be my final time, my body a shell of its prior self.
Today, with much difficulty, I can barely climb a flight of stairs. My body continues to break down, damage cuts deeper, my recoveries lessen. Will I stabilize? Will my condition worsen? How bad will it get? I don’t know.

There are no treatments currently available that can successfully fight the progression of my MS. My only salvation will come from the development of a new treatment, a treatment that will only come through funding meaningful research.

This is what I’ll do. I will aide in the development of the treatment that will save my life and, forever more, save future generations from hearing that fateful phrase, “You have MS.” Last summer’s words from Eleanor define this fight: “we raise money to Break That Spell on Daddy!”

My fight will have no expiration. I am not going to get better, maybe never but definitely not anytime soon. My MS, in fact, is going to get worse. The damage to my body will increase to the point I am restricted to a wheelchair soon or further limited in other varied factors. None of that matters. There is still a need for me to fight. More important, there are still people out there who need my motivation, my leadership, and my support as they wage their own fight. While I still have the resources and capability, I surely have the motivation to go on.

I need to raise money to fund essential research, testing, and development. 
I will be the voice needed to rally support.
I need your help and donation to spark my salvation.

Unlike the rest of my body, my words are stronger than ever. I will use them to paint the world a picture of:
  • What MS does to a body, once healthy and strong, as it unleashes its relentless assault.
  • What a body and mind experiences, as I continue to fight back.
  • The loss, and the love, family and friends experience as they watch me stumble. The joy they experience in my small victories!
  • The elation we all experience when I fight and win, whatever that win looks like down the road.


I will continue to paint that picture with my words, as I fight harder and harder. Your support donation is what I ask for in return.

Love,
Kevin

The fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.
It will never stop…nor will we
It will never quit…nor will we
This is why we ride…write…fight!

Never Stop… Never Quit…®
Kevin Byrne
Portland, OR

* Inspiration: Frou Frou – Holding Out For A Hero, DreamWorks Records, 2004

For the full selection of Ellie's 2016 BikeMS mix, go to: https://open.spotify.com/user/22cq6yaewkxyysepfxm5pb7hy/playlist/0JxHvtzx2weHhcqVLagbOc
 Never Stop... Never Quit... Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.

 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bike MS 2016 - Whiskey in the Jar


It takes a village

My MS and E is a work inspired by a lifetime of support and inspiration. I’d like to thank just a few of the many who made this story a reality:

The Cast
  • E – It goes without saying, but it still must be said that Eleanor is truly my inspiration. She is the reason I fight so hard. She teaches me new lessons every day, reminders of why I need to fight. My Little Love
  • Mama – Brie plays a lot of roles in our lives, always steering, carrying, and providing the essential support needed when life goes awry. My life… My love…
  • a colonel – Colonel Terry Walters, U. S. Army (Retired), West Point Class of 1980.  Doctor Walters made quite an impression on me back in September of 1999. Her accomplishments don’t quite receive the justice they deserve when I try to share my gratitude in my stories but, trust me, I am forever in debt!http://neverstopneverquit.blogspot.com/2013/12/laugh-until-it-hurts.html
    http://neverstopneverquit.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-corps.html
  • this bride and that groom – Leah and Ryan Goudie. Thank you for setting the stage and creating magic to last a lifetime. Congratulations!
  • the Irish band – The Haggis Brothers (http://www.seattleparties.com/the-haggis-brothers). From the moment they started until the wedding tunes ceased, all E wanted to do was twirl! Inspiration personified.
  • GO ARMY! – Captain Tyler Hash, U.S. Army, West Point Class of 2012. When I first wrote the story, Eleanor refused to read it with me unless there were pictures. While flipping through some Go Army! Beat Navy! shots she fell in love with this picture of then-Cadet Hash. I haven’t quite had the heart to tell her that he is engaged… Beef Gravy, Ty!


The Support – as much as I might like to pretend I made this happen by myself, the artistic and technical expertise supporting this effort truly brought My MS and E to life. Thank you! If you have professional requirements in these areas, look no further:
  • Illustration and Layout – Nate Jensen. Ellie twirling across the cover of the book says it all. What an outstanding artist!
  • Editing – Michael J. Haas. Reigning in my content and context is definitely one monumental challenge. Editing my meter and rhyme in a children’s story was quite the herculean task. Mike, I apologize for making you read those first few drafts!
  • Publishing – BookLocker.  Publishing your first book is hard. Your first children’s picture book?...for minimal cost as a non-profit venture?…expecting national/global outreach?...fast? Well, if that’s what you expect then you’d better just stop looking. Email Angela. Nate and Mike made my story sellable, Angela made it a book!
  • Final Layout – Gwen Gades. Final polishing of our work, now ready for press!
  • Plus, the Army of proofreaders, content editors, and reviewers who tweak the final product.

It takes a village, indeed! Thank you all so much for making this dream a reality.

It’s easy to create a story when you have already watched it play out before your eyes as I did that weekend. My favorite aspect of the book is the fact that, quite simply, every bit of this tale is real. The conversations E and I have. Her energy and excitement over all things she comes in contact with. Twirling. It was her twirling at the wedding which inspired my words. While watching Ellie dance, as I was trying to enjoy this a moment or two, I snapped this photo:

I watched in amazement as she twirled and she twirled and she twirled and she twirled, like there’s no other need for this girl! For the entire wedding, the trip home, and most of the month afterwards, it seemed like all she could talk about was “twirling”. Viola, the story that wrote itself!

I do have to give non sequitur credit to one more inspiration. Metallica, a long time source of motivation for me, is the final piece for My MS and E. Like this year, the inspiration for all my blogs in 2015 came on the music I chose for my ride. Unlike this year, my music selection was the music I use to exploit the raw energy and motivation feeling my emotions (http://neverstopneverquit.blogspot.com/2015/07/bikems-2015-hit-lights.html). When The Haggis Brothers broke out into a fine Irish version of “Whiskey in the Jar”, I had my theme. Watching Eleanor twirl just forced the rhyme.

The hard part as just begun: marketing the book, selling as many copies as possible in support of my fight, and fighting. Whenever my mind wanders to the fear of what will still come in this fight against MS, all have to do is reflect on the book that my daughter and I wrote together:


The fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.
It will never stop…nor will we
It will never quit…nor will we
This is why we fight!

Never Stop… Never Quit…®


* Inspiration: The Dubliners - Whiskey in the Jar, Major Minor Records, 1967

For the full selection of Ellie's 2016 BikeMS mix, go to: https://open.spotify.com/user/22cq6yaewkxyysepfxm5pb7hy/playlist/0JxHvtzx2weHhcqVLagbOc
 Never Stop... Never Quit... Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bike MS 2016 – Let's Go Crazy

Bike MS 2016 – Let's Go Crazy


Inspiration. It takes many forms, often delivering the most unexpected of results. As we kickoff our fundraising push for 2016, inspiration comes, of all things, as memes.

This post falls under the category of either:
·         let’s have a little bit of fun
·         apparently I have way too much free time on my hands
·         I have to do this because I have no idea what Pokémon Go is, eliminating that option

Enjoy these takes of how I find humor in my MS. Afterwards, please take this survey tell me which one is your favorite! 
Survey is here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9XY6N3R
                


The fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.
It will never stop…nor will we
It will never quit…nor will we
This is why we fight!

Never Stop… Never Quit…®
Kevin Byrne
Portland, OR
* Inspiration: Prince and The Revolution, “Let's Go Crazy”, Warner Bros., 1984

For the full selection of Ellie's 2016 BikeMS mix, go to: https://open.spotify.com/user/22cq6yaewkxyysepfxm5pb7hy/playlist/0JxHvtzx2weHhcqVLagbOc

 Never Stop... Never Quit... Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bike MS 2016 – Little Dreamer

Running.

I watch Eleanor and dream of running.  All I see is some figure poised at the ready.
I see visions of her sprinting as hard and as fast as one can. The only goal is more. Legs starting out crouched, muscles compressed as they wait to explode. There is that final moment when everything is calm. Quiet. Peaceful. Suddenly and violently, every muscle snaps in an organized fashion. One set of quadriceps extending, as the leg is brought forward into the air, then contracting, bringing its foot down to pavement, jettisoning my body forward even more. Every other muscle in the leg is working with one sole purpose: support that explosion. Toes and the ankle are constantly making minor adjustments to keep the body stable. Hamstrings and calves compress as an army of thigh muscles raise the leg in support of the quads’ next explosion.  Each set of muscles working opposite to the body’s other side, together in perfect unison with the frame. Left leg. Right leg. Left leg.

The rest of my muscles work towards the same goal of balancing and guiding, keeping this mass in sync with the rhythmic propulsion these legs are generating. The heart, diaphragm, and intercostal muscles all work together in their chest, pulling in oxygen to push the limits of every muscle.

Finally, she stops, but it will still be some time before the muscles can rest easy. Her heart still beats rapidly to feed the body more needed blood. Balance, guidance, and sync are still very much a priority. Long after all the other muscles calm, quadriceps still twitch. They’ll continue to do so until the whole body is finally at ease or until she gives them what they really want, which is to run again.

But she won’t do that now, nor will I, as there is nothing more left in us. At least not today.

I read somewhere that you are a writer if you can tell your story; you’re a good writer if you can tell someone else’s; a great writer can make the reader feel a story that never existed before. There is also the time those three worlds come together. The reader can’t tell whose reality this is. Neither can the writer.

As I watch Eleanor, I know this dream isn’t an image of her. She is an amazing little girl, but she is also just six years old. That fire, that focus, isn’t there yet. There’s still too much in the world to see to waste time with such a fixation.

Nor is this story mine. I don’t remember what it feels like to run. I’ve seen pictures and videos of me, but those images remain foreign. As I’m barely able to stand up straight and walk, I can’t remember what those muscles felt like during that contraction and explosion. With the constant numbness, tingling, and spasms, imagining those muscles twitching in anticipation of another round is beyond me.

I can only dream… and wait… and pray.

This scene I’m visioning belongs to no one in particular. My dream is someday Ellie and I will make this ours together. She’ll get there. Her gross motor function continues to develop at an alarming pace. If we are going to run together like that again, all the work is on me.

The last time Eleanor and I raced was March 1, 2014. We were on a trip to Disneyland with family friends. After a long, fun day in the park, we paused for a moment to rest our legs and refill our bellies. Everyone was in fine spirits as we walked back to the park entrance. Though already weakened by the onslaught of secondary progressive MS, my legs felt surprisingly good that afternoon. As we continued to walk, giggling and laughing, Ellie surprised me by blurting out, “ONE, TWO, THREE, GO!” She took off and, purely on instinct, I ran after her. The race only lasted about 50 feet, or so, but I’m proud to say I smoked that kid.  I probably beat her by at least two strides! Ellie doesn’t like to lose, especially to her Daddy on his lumbering legs. She broke down crying.  All I could say was, “Hey! It’s okay. Daddy just felt strong for a bit. That’s a good thing. Besides, I did look pretty good out there, huh? Right, Brie? Pre-tt-y darn good!” Ellie smiled and all was right in the world again.

Since that day, Eleanor has developed faster and stronger. I have grown slower and weaker. My mind still holds out for that day we race again.

For both Eleanor and me, that’s our dream.  I want to win.  She wants to see me try.



The fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.
It will never stop…nor will we
It will never quit…nor will we
This is why we fight!

Never Stop… Never Quit…®
Kevin Byrne
Portland, OR
* Inspiration: Van Halen, “Little Dreamer”, Warner Bros., 1978

For the full selection of Ellie's 2016 BikeMS mix, go to: https://open.spotify.com/user/22cq6yaewkxyysepfxm5pb7hy/playlist/0JxHvtzx2weHhcqVLagbOc

 Never Stop... Never Quit... Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Bike MS 2016 - Stand By You

“Did that hurt, Daddy?”
“Yeah, that one hurt a bit.”
I stated a fact there was no possibility of hiding, as I was already outed by the grimacing look on my face.

“I’m sorry” was Ellie’s subdued response as she slowly withdrew the syringe from my leg.
“It’s not your fault at all, Sweetie! Some just shots hurt more than others. It’s how the needle goes in through the skin, that’s all. What you did was perfect! You did another awesome job.”

“Cause I’m your little nursemaid!”

I watched how Ellie wanted to reach in for a hug so badly and I marveled at her restraint. She knows, no hugs yet, not until she’s finished. Clip and dispose of the needle. Put a bandage on my leg. Clean up all trash. Break down and put away the injector kit. One final sweep of the area. Wash hands. Then hugs!

My little nursemaid has assumed a new title in our home: caregiver.

Curiosity comes in steady streams for any six-year-old. Children of the chronically ill add another dimension to a world of already fascinating wonderments to see: medication. Early on, my goal was to relieve Ellie’s curiosity and subdue any impulse to explore my medications on her own. I welcomed her anytime I filled medicine bins or took my shots, explaining in as much detail as I could articulate and answering every question as honestly as possible.

“Why do you have so much medicine?”
“Well, I have a lot of different needs.”
I went on to explain the purpose of each medicine and supplement, the dosing differences, and the tracking I use throughout the day.

“Will they get you better?”
“Right now, there isn’t anything that will make me better. Some, like this one here, help ease my symptoms so I can walk and move a bit better. But, no, there’s yet nothing to completely heal me. That’s why Mommy and Daddy do all that stuff to support more research.”

“Like Bike MS?”
“That’s right, like Bike MS.”

“Will you die without your medicine?”
“I could get worse if I don’t take them, or if I take the wrong amounts. I need to be careful. That’s a big reason why you have your medicines and I have mine. We never take each other’s medicine, and we only take the amounts the doctor tells us to.”
Ellie remembers every lesson. She’s eager to ‘educate’ others with her vast knowledge of medicine’s efficacy and safety protocols.

My objective was successful: Ellie understands the diligence needed around medication. She’s not curious about touching or tasting any of them, and she knows the dangers associated with all drugs. Eleanor developed understanding and a strong respect for my medications.

But My Little Love soon developed an even greater quality: compassion.

She wanted to help me fill my pill dispensers, so we do it together. I count out the weekly dosing, Ellie fills the bins. Two of the big yellow pills in every bin; two of the little pink ones in the evenings; one of the little round ones in the mornings; and so on. Eventually, colors and shapes gave way to names and dosages.

“Why is the fish oil a 1,000 milligram pill but the Baclofen only 10 milligrams? They’re just about the same size?”
“The dosage just tells you how much medicine is in there. Some just have more filler, to help help you digest them easier.”

Curiosity was the precursor to her desire to “help make Daddy better”. We still do everything together, but her “helping me out” quickly gave way to actually helping me out! Her dexterous fingers work so much quicker than my numb,   feeble digits. With so many combinations of pills, two sets of eyes are always better than one. Every week, in every way, Ellie helps make me better.

I have been self-injecting medicines since my diagnosis in 1999, with my shot total now in the thousands. When I was first diagnosed, I was approved to remain stationed overseas in Korea. The Army ordered my medicine. When it arrived at the Yongsan Army Garrison hospital in Seoul, I took a 3-hour drive from my base camp. There, the medical team gave me a 6-month supply of Avonex and a videotape on how to inject myself. From Day 1 (December 3, 1999) until May 8, 2016 no one but me has ever given me one of my injections. Together, we slowly we broke that barrier.

Ellie started by watching my give my injection, always curious.

“Why do you wipe your leg like that?”
“It’s an antiseptic wipe, to clean any germs off my leg that could cause an infection.”

“What do you do with that thingy?”
“It’s an injector gun. It’s makes it easier and less painful to take the shot by pushing the needle in straight and swift. It still hurts, but not as much or for as long.”

 “Can I wipe your leg?”
“Sure”

After weeks of careful observation, Ellie jumped into the caregiver role. Over the next few injections, that role increased.

“Can I charge the gun?”
“Sure”

 “Do you always take the shot in your leg?”
“No. You just need to take it in a large muscle area. Sometimes I take it in my butt.”
“You said butt!”
We both chuckled a bit on that one. Butt.

Ellie’s diligence and care grew with every injection, taking on more and more responsibility with each new shot.

“Can I press the button (on the injector)?” ~May 8th
“Sure”

 “Can I clip the needle?”
“Sure”
For safety and convenience, my used needles are disposed of using a eedle lipping & storage device.

Eleanor is truly a caregiver in every sense of the term:
* From her tracking of my regimen: “Daddy, today is shot day.”
* To her management of my medicines: “Daddy, you are almost out of your Ampyra. You need to get more.”
* To her assistance: “Daddy, I can do that. Just let me get a band aid first, then I will clean it all up.”
* To her emotional support: “Daddy, I love you and I want you to get healthy. Thank you for taking your medicine!“

Caregivers play a role of immeasurable value, often at a personal cost best described as “not fair”. The VA healthcare system recognizes the value Family Caregivers provide to veterans (http://www.caregiver.va.gov), compiling information on a variety of topics related to being a caregiver, as well the support and assistance they need to care for their loved one and themselves. I may have to push for an amendment there, as recognition and reward of the littlest caregivers desperately needs to be added to the list!

There are a lot of emotions surfacing as I write this story.  Thanks is at the forefront of them all. Thanks for having a daughter who holds such an amazing capacity for compassion, care, safety, and focus. I don’t know what Brie and I did to deserve such a treasure, but we sure do value our gift! Emotions of pride, wonderment, entertainment, and appreciation fill me every time we share our special moments.

My greatest moment of pride and appreciation came on a day when I did nothing at all.
“Daddy, is today shot day?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Can I get the shot for you?”
“Ellie, how about this. How about you do everything today?”
Eyes wide open, “Everything? Yeah. I can do that.”
“Daddy, I’m ready. Where are you taking the shot today?”
“In the butt”
“Hee Hee! You said ‘in the butt’!”


The fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.
It will never stop…nor will we
It will never quit…nor will we
This is why we fight!

Never Stop… Never Quit…®
Kevin Byrne
Portland, OR
* Inspiration: Rachel Platten, “Stand By You”, Columbia, 2015
I'll be your eyes 'til yours can shine
And I'll be your arms, I'll be your steady satellite
And when you can't rise, well, I'll crawl with you on hands and knees
'Cause I... I'm gonna stand by you



For the full selection of Ellie's 2016 BikeMS mix, go to: https://open.spotify.com/user/22cq6yaewkxyysepfxm5pb7hy/playlist/0JxHvtzx2weHhcqVLagbOc


Never Stop... Never Quit... Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Bike MS 2016 - Shut Up and Dance

Eleanor.

This adorable six-year-old girl is the only reason I can possibly think of as to why I’d ever change my mantra. The simple truth is SHE is why I fight. More accurately stated, Eleanor is a constant reminder of everything I hold dear. Through my darkest days when, to borrow a phrase familiar to my West Point family, “hope becomes forlorn", Eleanor is my rallying point. She reminds me of what I need to do: fight.

Please accept my loving apologies, Brie.  In am sorry if this disappoints you, Mom.  Eleanor’s influence is more powerful than any other woman’s hold on me. She is beautifully comfortable in worlds where I am her Daddy and idol, where we struggle together through emotional growing pains, where she is my compassionate caregiver, and in the days where we are truly two peas in a pod!

As we move into this year’s Bike MS season, I’ll use my blog as a podium from which I will shout her praises, hopefully offering some insight into the impact My Little Love has on my survival.

As I did for the 2015 season, the themes of my stories come from the music chosen for my ride.  This year’s playlist belongs as much to Eleanor as it does me.  Every song is reviewed and enjoyed by us both yet approved solely by her. Some choices may be obvious; others have the most obscure rationale behind them.  My stories may help explain why you may hear me rock out on the road to Pitch Perfect’s “Run the World (Girls)” one mile, then abruptly mix into the 82nd Airborne Chorus’ “Blood Upon the Riser”.  Then again, they may not…

Please join me for this 2016 Bike MS adventure.  Listen along as our choices grow (the mix is a work in process).  Enjoy the sounds and emotions Eleanor and I celebrate with daily.

Without further ado, in tune with the ever-looming demand from Ellie, Shut Up and Dance!

The fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.
It will never stop…nor will we
It will never quit…nor will we
This is why we fight!

Never Stop… Never Quit…®
Kevin Byrne
Portland, OR

* Inspiration: WALK THE MOON, "Shut Up And Dance", RCA, 2014
Ellie definitely take my arm and leads me through some tough struggles.  Listen to this song, every line and every emotion, and try to capture a glimpse of my adoration, infatuation, and love for this girl.

For the full selection of Ellie's 2016 BikeMS mix, go to: https://open.spotify.com/user/22cq6yaewkxyysepfxm5pb7hy/playlist/0JxHvtzx2weHhcqVLagbOc


Never Stop... Never Quit... Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.