Many of you ask how I stay so very optimistic in the face of the kinds of circumstances that fill my work. And those of you who attended my keynote at the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association Conference or the conference for counselors in North Dakota all know – biking is one of the major stress reducers in my life. So we’re doing it again ~ Linda Shoemaker (counselor from Lancaster county, PA) and I are gearing up for the Seattle-to-Portland bike ride on July 12-13 (that’s 204 miles from [duh] Seattle, WA to Portland, OR) and then (drum roll, please) (here’s where you come in…) we are also once again raising funds for research to fight Multiple Sclerosis and will do the City to Shore MS Fundraiser Ride in September. I have to raise $250 to be allowed to ride. As riders, we both pay a registration fee (I did that on faith!) and then have to raise the $250.

Last year we rode in tribute to the life of Myron Godfrey, the father of Linda’s principal, Andy Godfrey. Andy was moved that we would do his and, in fact, his family contributed to my fundraising efforts. This year, Andy and two other fellows from the Lampter-Strausburg School District are joining with Linda and me and the good news is that we’re a team! We’re the Pioneer Peddlers (their school team name being the Pioneers). The bad news is that all of Andy’s family who will contribute will now contribute to his fundraising efforts, so I’m on my own this year.

We each have a web page for the fundraising, and they’re kind of fun to read whether you want to contribute or not. I ride because I love to ride, and even more, because as my joints age, it is the “use it or lose it” syndrome! But for the MS ride, I also find great inspiration as we ride for 150 miles and sprinkled along the path are people who are in camp chairs to wheel chairs with signs like, “I have MS. Thank you for riding.” They are in all different levels of disability with the disease, and I’m sure that many who are flagging us through intersections also have MS but are physically fit enough to be helping. Others fix us PB&Js and hand out treats at the rest stops. They think they’re inspired to see us ride, but it is really the other way around. It is amazing to me that in the midst of their struggles, they show up the show appreciation. The other absolutely delightful inspiration is the 85-year-old Asian woman who has done this ride (remember, we’re talking 150 miles here) for almost 25 years, always in high heels and a nice little skirt. (No kidding!)

So! Take a look here to see my MS Ride web page. And if you know of someone whose loved one has MS and you think they might want to contribute toward research, please feel free to forward this link to them as well.