Last summer, I was asked to show my support, along with other MDA families, at the finish line of the 2012 MDA Trans-NH Firefighter's bike ride. When it was announced at the end of the ride that the 2013 ride would be dedicated to me, two things raced through my mind. The first thing I thought of is how cool it would be to thank the MDA for their continued efforts in working with FARA to find a cure, and the second was that firefighters are usually good looking!
As the ride grew near, I was asked to give a speech at their banquet on the first night of the ride. I was excited; until I found out I was expected to speak for 15 minutes! I had no idea where to even begin. I have only spoken or been seen as a representative at FARA fundraisers and events, so I was out of my comfort zone.
When the day of my speech approached, I had a short list of notes to help me during the banquet; I was very nervous and felt unprepared. I was afraid to spend too much time talking about FARA because that is what I'm used to :) When I was introduced and handed the microphone, I looked out at all of the sweaty and tired riders and suddenly I wasn't so nervous and the words started to flow.
I talked about what life was like having a neuromuscular disease, I talked specifically about FA, and about FARA. I also spoke about the importance of fundraising because research requires a great deal of funds. I addressed how hopefully finding a treatment for one form of Muscular Dystrophy will lead to treatments for others, and how important it is for all organizations to collaborate and work together.
When all was said and done, I had riders approaching me and telling me what a good job i had done explaining everything! I think it helped them to know what they were riding for and to put a face on it. It also encouraged me , because I had been so nervous to speak beforehand.
Overall the ride was a success, the weather held out for the riders, and no major injuries occurred during the 3 day ride.