27 08 2008

To Everyone,

  In September of 2006 my mother Sandy Schulte, passed away from the disease ALS.  In her two years of struggling with the progressive limitations of the disease, despite the loss of her mobility and physical control, my mother’s strength continued to grow; her compassion, her love, her wisdom, and her determination to accept and live life everyday continued to build.  It was her profound wish that her family and friends continue to pursue the lives that will allow them to grow and explore their passions, that the suffering of everyone who has been touched by this illness have an chance to hope.

    As I have struggled with the loss of my mother, her wishes have been in the forefront of my mind, and a path to help those who suffer from this disease has opened to me.  I am a cyclist, an artist, an escrimador; my mother was happy to celebrate these passions in me.  I have before me an opportunity to share my strength and gifts to try and raise hope and awareness for those that suffer from this debilitating disease. 

   In September of 2007 I began a quest to deepen the fight against ALS by participating in the Tri State Trek, a 270 mile ride from Boston, MA to White Plains, NY, to benefit ALSTDI a therapy development institute devoted to finding a medical solution to the disease.  I cannot stress the impact such an environmental challenge made on my relationship to cycling,  nor can I give appropriate words to the effect of being able to witness and participate in such an event with so many devoted to finding an end to ALS.  The positive and passionate actions of so many devoted people, made distinctly visible by 300 riders, crossing 3 states in 3 days, sharing their stories, supporting each other, and making pelotons of strangers, who would become friends in so short a time over such a cause, was inspiring. 

   Upon my return to Ohio, I decided to try and bring such an energy and passion to the people of my state, to the communities I already knew and already cared about, to try and bring hope to those closest to home. 

   The ALS association’s Central & Southern Ohio chapter supported my family through my mother’s terrible fight.  They brought services and information, support and compassion, and provided an anchor to my family when we barely knew how to begin.  Up until my mother was diagnosed I had little knowledge of Lou Gehrig’s disease, its effects on families, its impact on communities or individuals.  I had no knowledge of the efforts of so many each year, of the acts of charity or hospice given to so many.  It wasn’t until the night of my mother’s death, that I was even aware of the Walk to Defeat ALS that was to happen just 2 days later on September 16th, 2 days after my mother’s death, one day after what would have been her 56th birthday.  My sister, in her efforts to fight and keep the hope alive, brought a flyer to the defeat walks home, where it was misplaced in all the chaos of our mother’s last weeks.  On the night of our mother’s passing, she brought the defeat walk to our family’s attention and over the next day, we managed to summon as many friends and family as we could and we walked down the street to the Central Ohio chapters Defeat walk at Beekman park.

    Up until that walk, I had never participated in any charity event.  It is quite likely that, like many, I was aware and concerned about what so many were suffering from and that there were people out taking action to take the fight to cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, AIDS, and so many other diseases, illnesses, and causes.  Yet, it wasn’t until that walk that I was made truly aware of the importance of being involved, of fighting and striving to bring action and hope to those that suffered.  I wasn’t aware of the healing that could take place by being involved and of the nurturing nature that taking such action can have.  As my family and friends took steps around that track, walking side by side with others who were taking a stand, who were supporting loved ones, who were remembering with each step the privilege that we have, as survivors, as friends, family, lovers, as people who are capable of taking a step and making a difference, that we have a responsibility, as able and compassionate members of our community, to never forget and never lay down when making a difference is so clearly in our hands.  With that walk I was involved.

   Each Autumn, the ALS’s Central & Southern Ohio Chapter put on 3 walks in 3 cities: Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati.  They are simple to participate in and are non-competitive.  It requires no training and is walked at your pace and routes are usually simple 5K or 3.1 mile paved walks in local parks.  The walks this year are:

Dayton, Ohio

Schedule: Registration: 10:00 am ~ Walk: 11:00 am

Date: Sunday, September 21, 2008

Location:

Fairborn Community Park
691 E Dayton Yellow Springs Road
Fairborn, OH  45324-3965

 

Columbus, Ohio

Schedule: Registration: 10:00 am ~ Walk: 11:00 am

Date: Sunday, September 28, 2008

Location:

Fred Beekman Park
1048 Carmack Road
Columbus, OH  43210-1002

 

Cincinnati, Ohio

Schedule: Registration: 10:00 am ~ Walk: 11:00 am

Date: Sunday, October 5, 2008

Location:

Winton Woods Metro Park – Harper Meadows
10245 Winton Road
Cincinnati, OH 45231-2626

 

   Last year, in an effort to participate in all of the Defeat walks sponsored by the Central and Southern Ohio ALS chapter, I decided to use my experience as a lifestyle cyclist and attempt to ride to each of the walks via bicycle, participate in the walks, and return to my home in Columbus. 

   I built routes using maps from The Columbus Outdoor Pursuits maps of “the Cental Ohio Bicycle route guide”, mapmyride.com, and bike route toaster.  Primarily using the Ohio to Erie trail and the Little Miami trail, I managed to put together a safe and bike friendly route, that at the time I had no idea existed or would be as beautiful or as rewarding to travel and experience. 

   Last year the first ride was to Cincinnati: 124 miles each way and the longest ride I had ever done in a single day.  On my ride from Columbus to Cincinnati I began developing ideas for what I would later begin to call the “Tri City Challenge”, a 3 city bike ride linking the Defeat Walks in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus.  In total it would ask riders from Columbus to ride 124 miles to Cincinnati, travel in Columbus to Beekman park at the corner of Lane Ave and Kenny Rd., and from Columbus to Dayton to Yellow Springs (around 75 miles) and to have all the riders walk and participate in the ALS Defeat walks in those towns.   

   This Blog is an ongoing attempt to give life to this project!

I will be posting information to those who might be interested in participating, whether as a walker, rider, sponsor, donational supporter, rider support partner, or any other kind of fighter against this disease. 

I am calling out to those who know of anyone who has been touched by this disease or who might have an interest in the ride, please forward the link and even forward my email.  This is the start of a journey.  I plan to take back every footstep that my mother lost to this disease and to take a step for all who continue in this fight, to bring voices and energy, and to show that there are people out there willing to fight to give others hope.

 

Thank you,

Shawn Schulte

alswarrior@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One response

4 09 2008
a

You were there for my first 30 miler, 50 miler, and soon to be 75 miler…next summer a little 270er?
Your site looks better every day!

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