Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why Shaine Wynsma Rides [a "How are you healthy?" special feature]

Does riding 200-miles in two-days make you a healthier person? Perhaps. Does riding 200-miles in two-days to improve someone else’s life make you a healthier person? Maybe. Health is so much more than physical. Mental, spiritual, and emotional health is a part of staying “healthy”.  The choices we make in our lives contribute to the overall health and happiness we experience. Below is one of several stories from participants of an annual event called the Ride for AIDS Chicago. The Ride for AIDS Chicago is a two-day, 200-mile charity cycling event that raises money for Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN) and partner agencies. TPAN and the partner agencies that benefit from the Ride for AIDS Chicago provide direct service to those living with HIV and help prevent the spread of the virus through information dissemination, HIV testing, and education.

It started with a Life List.

One of the items on that list I put down was to do a ride or marathon. I am not much of a runner, but I love, love, love to bike. So a ride it had to be. I had only heard about the ride in California and that is what I had set my sights on. I was at the doctors for a routine check up and my doctor told me about the TPAN ride and said that I would have no problem doing it.
I got a bike from Ebay. Raised some money and learned more about TPAN and their programs. The Ride at that time was roughly 180 miles. I managed to do it with no clips, on a heavy mountain bike. I don’t even think I had padded shorts.
“All you have to do is pedal,” is what I kept on telling myself. 
Mile after mile, hill after hill and the second I crossed the finish line, I wanted to do it again.

A couple of months before that ride, I found out a really good friend of mine, Greg Fanning, had passed away. He was found in his apartment alone. Greg had a great soul, provided lots of laughs and had an amazing talent of rehabbing wood furniture.
He had his share of demons he was dealing with. He wasn’t very familiar with TPAN's support programs for those dealing with HIV. I was one of a few people that he could relate too. From then on, there was/is an additional element to the Ride, other than the personal and physical challenge.

I can’t help to wonder that if Greg was more aware of TPAN and what they could have provided him, if he would still be around today, making me laugh uncontrollably and amazing me with his ability to magically turn an old rocking chair or nicked up table into a stunning piece of art. For that year, 2007, I rode in his name.

That is why Shaine rides, to make sure the doors stay open at TPAN and people are aware of the programs there, so the art and laughter stay alive, which is tops on my Life List.

-- Shaine Wynsma

How are you healthy?
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Tell us HERE. Send a pic to the same place.
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