Just wanted to give anybody who checked out our charity event an update. We all had an incredible time, and 17 people drove up to Atlanta from SW Florida to see my brother Gary and participate in the event!
The 30-year-old classic fire truck made the 1,200 mile round-trip with no problems. Man, that truck is LOUD. It also has no radio, and of course no air-conditioning. Seven hard-core firefighters made the drive up and back in the truck, I only rode in it for a total of an hour, and that was about long enough for me. I think I might have actually been more comfortable on the unicycle I was riding.
Unfortunately, my brother had to go to the hospital right before everyone came into town, so he didn't get to go to the before or after party with us. He also didn't get to ride in the fire truck and follow me on the unicycle journey like everyone else did.
We decided to change our plans on the event day to include stopping at the hospital so everyone could visit with Gary. They let him come outside the hospital for a few hours, so he got to see the decked-out fire truck and all of his supportive friends.
The only drawback was that I lost over four hours of riding time, so I didn't reach my 100 mile goal that day. To make up for that, I am doing a fresh 100 mile ride tomorrow, Friday Oct. 29th. This time it will be on a bike path with no fire truck escort. The event overall raised a good amount of funds to go towards a newer handicap accessible van that my brother will be able to drive. He was always a very independent guy, so getting this van for him is going to be a big part of giving him his life back the way he wants to live it. He will always be paralyzed from the chest down, but there are still a lot of things that he can do.
The Gainesville Times did a nice newspaper article covering the event, and it was great to see a few donations from people who had never even met Gary. Here is a link to the article if anyone wants to check it out. http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/section/6/article/40135/
The website at www.rideforgary.com
is going to stay up for quite some time, because we are still going to be working on raising funds to meet the goal. I even plan on doing a Spring Motorcycle Charity Ride when it gets warmer here in Georgia again, probably in May of 2011. Gary gave me his old 1985 Goldwing Interstate after his accident, and he now has a guy named Ray with a company called Redneck Trikes working on a special trike for him. Ray is doing the whole project very inexpensively, and so far has made a lot of progress. I can't wait to go for a ride with my brother again.
Thanks to all of you that took the time to read these posts and especially if you shared the link to the website. I know times are hard for a lot of us right now, but sometimes just sharing the link ends up bringing in a donation from someone who is in a position to donate. I've gotten comments from some donors that they wanted to donate because of the fact that Gary was a firefighter for over 20 years. They really do have their own brotherhood, stronger than many real brother relationships that I know of.