October 28, 2011: The Ride of Hope

First, if you are new to this blog, let me catch you up.

My name is Yarden Frankl and six years ago I moved from Potomac, Maryland to Neve Daniel, Israel with my wife Stella and our four kids. For six years we have had an amazing life filled with equal loads of satisfaction and pride for our choice to make Aliyah, as well as a whole bunch of fun. As a hobby, I started riding bikes and running really far. Everything was really as good as could be, until…

At the beginning of the Summer, Stella felt a pain in her stomach. A few days later, our worst nightmare became our reality when she was diagnosed with late stage stomach cancer. Since then, our lives have been turned upside down as Stella struggles with cycle after cycle of chemotherapy.

While Stella battles the illness and the chemo as best as she can, I have been left sitting helpless while I watch from the sidelines. Wanting to get up and do something, and also concerned about medical expenses, I decided that I would ride my bike through the night and raise money for the Gush Etzion Foundation’s fund for families like ours struggling with serious illness. More on my decision if you read this post.

So now, what began as a late night thought, as turned into a major campaign. People from all over are pledging their support, and Stella and I cannot thank you enough. Really, we see every pledge that comes in, from close friends to those we have never met. It is extremely moving and even if I said THANK YOU a million times over, it would not be enough. I wrote a form thank you letter but it really cannot describe how moved we are each and every time we see a pledge.

Now, with the ride less than two weeks away, it is time to plan the details.

So here are some of them:

I will begin the ride in Neve Daniel, riding laps around a two kilometer section at the center of the Yishuv. I encourage friends and neighbors to come out and walk, run, or bike that evening. I would love to see people as I embark on this quest. One word of caution is that riding a bike at night along streets that are open to traffic is not without a bit of danger. So please be careful if you want to ride with me. Please wear a helmet. Bike helmets have saved my life more than once. This is a ride of hope to get someone well so having someone else go to the hospital because of the ride kinda defeats the purpose, don’t ya think?

After about three or four hours of riding in the Yishuv, I will start my tour of the Gush. I plan to ride through Allon Shvut, Rosh Tzurim, Kfar Etzion, and Efrat….. a couple of times. I will have a support car driving behind me with friends providing real time Facebook updates and videos during the ride. If you live in Efrat or anywhere else in the Gush and want to ride with me at some point in the night, friend me on Facebook so you will know our status.

Sometime around 2:00 A.M. I will return to Neve Daniel. Yes, climbing that hill is not something that I am excited about, but it has to be done. I will finish the ride with more Neve Daniel laps, riding behind some friends who will be pacing me. If all goes according to plan, I will finish 200 kilometers by about 6:20 at the bike park next to the Makolet.

During the ride, I will have several GPS devices to record my progress and will be checking e-mails and Facebook. I will not be able to respond since I have experimented and found that trying to type and ride at the same time is harder and more dangerous than peeing from a bike.

Throughout the night, I will be using a variety of products for hydration and fuel. The car will hold spare clothing, bike parts, and even a bike or two just in case, along with a large amount of diaper rash cream.

That’s all for now. If you have not done so, please consider joining me with a pledge either per kilometer, hour, or a total sum. My goals are 200 kilometers and twelve hours. There is no chance I will ride more than twelve hours. If I ride more than 200 km, I will only expect you to donate up to the 200 mark unless you are o.k. doing the total mileage. It’s all up to you.

Cancer affects millions of people. It terrorizes those it strikes and the ones who love them.

On our own, we may feel powerless.

But together…for just one night, let’s do something crazy and show that cancer will not break our spirit.

Join me as we…

Fight like Hell and Ride like the Wind.

(although I really hope there won’t be much of the famous Neve Daniel wind that night.)


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