October 23, 2011: Longing for the Dawn

I have said before that the nights are the hardest part for me.

I have lain awake countless times at around two or three in the morning, when my strength is gone and keeping the nightmares at bay is just too much.

Eventually, I give up on trying to get back to sleep and just “long for the dawn” as the Psalm (Tehillim 130) says.

On both a literal and figurative level, the battle with cancer is like one long night.

You long for the sun to come up because usually you feel a little more in control when the sun is shining.

You feel a little bit more hope with each new dawn. When Stella is up and we talk, I feel a bit more of a sense of normalcy and can often push the nightmares back into the box where they hide out.

But getting through the night gets harder and harder.

And I am getting really tired.

I’m tired of feeling helpless while Stella fights her courageous battle with the cancer that has turned our lives upside down. Demonstrating love and support and comfort are a given. Of course I do that as much as I can. But I need to do more.

So I have come up with an idea, and I hope you will join me.

On Thursday night, November 10, I plan to get on my bike at 6:30 in the evening. I plan to ride for twelve hours straight until 6:30 Friday morning. I am asking people to give a small amount of money (a shekel?, a dollar?) for every kilometer that I manage to ride in those twelve hours. (I am trying for 200.) This money will go to the Gush Etzion Foundation’s cancer fund that helps families like us meet medical expenses.

Cancer is horrible enough. But no one should have to worry about expenses while at the same time fighting this battle.

I am fully aware that this is a bit of a crazy idea. I know that around three in the morning, I will wonder if I can push through the pain and continue until the sun comes up.

But that’s exactly the point.

Stella has chemo every three weeks. Maybe, maybe, I can feel a fraction of the pain she is going through and can come up with better words of encouragement to support her in her struggle.

Or maybe I can’t and it’s just some way I can focus on something where my own effort will do some good.

I’m not asking for charity. I’m asking that you join me in trying to make a difference.

If you live in Neve Daniel and own a bike, please ride with me for an hour (or more or less.) The pace and terrain will both be moderate (within reason — I intend to ride at between 18 and 20 KPH.) If you have seen me gnashing my teeth, swaying the bike from side to side, and whipping past cars on one of my time trials, don’t worry. That’s not what this is about. It will be easy to keep up and since the course will be mostly within the Yishuv, you won’t have to worry about traffic or terrorists. (Do try and bring a light though.)

I plan to bring my GPS watch and my phone so I can keep everyone interested up to date on Facebook.

This is not a race nor a way to take in beautiful scenery. It is simply one man’s attempt to beat the night and feel that I am being useful in the struggle against cancer.

And for everyone else, please consider making a small contribution per kilometer or hour or a total amount. That way when things get tough, I will have motivation to keep going.

All the contributions are tax deductible in both the United States and Israel. Just click here and fill out the info. You can make a pledge per kilometer or hour or just make a total direct donation. After the ride, I will let those who pledged know how many kilometers/hours I rode for and you can make your donation through the Gush Foundation website. I will send the link.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to riding with you — in real life or in spirit.

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