Wednesday, July 15, 2009

If you have one true friend...


"If you have one true friend you have more than your share" - Thomas Fuller

A few months ago a friend of mine who had already overcome cancer and rode across Canada to raise money (almost a quarter of a million dollars) for the Childhood Cancer Foundation let me know his cancer was back and it was aggressive. As we are friends, it was a given that he had a great attitude about the whole process, and had faith in his abilities to win a second battle with cancer. As his friend, I told him I'd ride from Edmonton to Calgary in 1 day as a charity ride so he could pay his medical bills and groceries while neither he nor his wife were working.

The route I was approved for is a largely inconvenient 360km along secondary highways. In 10 days I take those 360kms on rain or shine, feeling great or feeling terrible.

Like any great fitness destination, and like any worthwhile undertaking in business or any other discipline, there are moments of self doubt, and times when you'd honestly rather not (like last weekend when I missed a wedding and a teambuilder because I was putting 9 hours in on my bike for training).

There are these struggles, and there is extra pressure on my wife and I regarding watching our son and dividing our time I've had to compromise while still managing time together so we still feed our relationship.

And then there are my friends - as Tim has myself riding for him and one of our training coaches Willie Williams shaving his famous dreadlocks for him (plus Kaitlyn, Anna, and Dale taking their time to drive and support the ride).

"A true friend is there for you when he'd rather be anywhere else" - Len Wein

My friends Chad & Sylvia Nunweiler are expecting their second child and his professional future is in limbo pending whether or not his employer is bought by foreign investors... yet they felt connected enough and are good enough friends to disadvantage themselves for someone else they've never met because they are friends to me, and donate to the cause.

Matt Young is flying out (at his expense) to ride Edmonton to Calgary with me on 1 good knee because he is a great friend and knows at hour 11 (and 12,13,14, etc) I might appreciate someone to draft behind and encourage me.

Other friends have understood that during summer, I won't be camping, parting with or possibly even seeing them for months while I take on something that requires a very high level of focus and discipline.

This ride that started out as going over and above I know realize is my duty - I have more blessing in my life than most people in the world, and as such I have an absolute obligation to give back.

Because to end on one final quote on friendship...
"In order to have friends, you must first be one" - Elbert Hubbard

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