Wednesday, April 29, 2020

My Priorities

Two weeks ago, I rode my recumbent trike for the first time in over a year. Infections, reactions from my medications, kept me off the road for Bike MS last year. For the sake of safety, I cannot be out on the road by myself — my training and conditioning is usually focused at the gym. Effective March 14th, COVID-19 but a temporary halt to my training program, just one of countless interruptions in this strange new world. Walks around the neighborhood were not meeting my needs.

In a few weeks, I had my trike set up on a fluid bike trainer in the garage. With a few modifications and some creative jerry-rigging, I was set up for some intense workouts. If I stop pedaling at the highest pace I can reach, my trike will “coast” for approximately two tire rotations!

Saturday was my first true training ride in preparation for the 2020 Bike MS. 50 miles. Uphill training – all the way – all the time. Sunday was 25 miles. My goal for May is at least one century ride.

I started thinking about Bike MS. Late April or early May is usually around the time I share my first message about the upcoming season, laying the groundwork for several months of fundraising outreach messages. The funny part is that usually around this time at least two or three of my sponsors will reach out and ask me how my prep is going - when they will get the donation links! It is comforting to know my supporters, family, and friends share concern for my priorities.

I started thinking. Will my supporters be concerned about my fundraising this year? Should they? For that matter, what is my concern about my fundraising for 2020? What is my priority?

Never Stop
Never Quit

I made the decision not to directly solicit donations for my 2020 Bike MS campaign. My donors have supported our fight for the past 17 years. Family, friends, and incredible communities supported me personally for the past 21 years. In this period of turmoil and crisis for so many, the last thing I want to do is ask you to prioritize my fight again. This is my chance to show you what your donations have bought, your love has nourished, and what has been built atop the pillars of your support.

[When the fight is over, will you stop?]
[If the fight ends, will you quit?]
[Prove it.]

To steal a phrase from a not-so-famous-yet author – while we wait “in abeyance” for life to resume, I am going to take the opportunity and share with you the life I will lead when there is no more fear. My stories will be those of success, victories, and perseverance. I don’t quite know what my limitations have become, but they are just a fraction of what they were in the past. I want to boast about my energy and capabilities. I want to celebrate the life we all helped reenergize. I want to paint the picture of a man happily frustrated, even as he moves faster and faster, doing more and more because he wants even more…to go even faster. My Inside Voice will mock me for the failures I experience, not because I have multiple sclerosis, but because I am a 48-year-old man who thinks he just became a teenager again.

Instead of asking for more money, I want to spend this year showing you what your money has already paid for: my treatments, my care, my comfort, and my motivation.
[But you will not turn down donations.]
But I will not turn down donations. My fundraising links are always active. Donations to the National MS Society in support of Eleanor’s 2020 Bike MS campaign or to the NEVER STOP NEVER QUIT private charitable foundation are still very much needed and lovingly appreciated.

We are not there yet. The fight is not over, and it won’t be over until a cure is found. Much like life in this pandemic, my mind has grown tired of fear.

This is not about what my life will be like when the fight is over.
I will never stop
I will never quit
This is my story

100% of the royalties earned from my books go to the National MS Society, to support our fight:

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

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

No comments:

Post a Comment