There are times in life when you are offered an unexpected gift. These gifts hold the opportunity for unlimited potential and hold no monetary value, but as the saying goes they are "priceless".
Over the past four years, I have had the opportunity to sit on the edge of a group of people and observe their comings and goings. There have been stories shared about their travels, each one a layer of wrapping paper and ribbon surrounding the true gift inside.
They are the members of Team Alex and they work to spread awareness and support about an organization known as Make-A-Wish.
Without truly understanding the contents of the gift they offer, I previously raised money for the event and rode on the 50 mile ride.
I knew that I was doing a good thing by participating and I felt a level of satisfaction for it, but I hadn't honestly taken the time to understand who Team Alex is and what their history means.
Last weekend, I spent time with some of the veteran riders and the new "greener" riders. There were introductions by the veteran riders and then the parents of Alex Graham spoke a few words about the ride and about their daughter.
It touched me on so many different levels that I still don't feel like I can capture what I felt after I drove away from their warm and loving home.
That night I sat down and read from the book they wrote about Alex, "When One Door Closes". Halfway through their story I stopped and placed the book down on my night stand.
When I was a teen, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and was thrown into a series of doctors appointments, followed by surgery and complicated dietary restrictions while receiving treatments of radioactive iodine.
I have previously discussed this here and won't delve further into it but to say that it was a scary time for my family and filled with many unknowns.
The brunt of this fell upon the shoulders of my parents because as a teen, I knew what was happening but did not have the capacity to understand and see the hundred different potential outcomes that a parent can.
It is because of this history that my beliefs are solidified that what Make-A-Wish does is so important and significant. That is why I want to be apart of this team and this event. If, for one moment, granting a wish can relieve the fear, pain and unknown a family may be feeling, I want to be a part of that.
I will forever be grateful that I know the powerful words spoken by Alex Graham. Her wish was geared towards making this world a kinder place and to share a smile with those that need it most.
She gave us all a gift that truly keeps on giving.
Thank you Alex.