March 10 - 11, 2017
Day 5, Sponsor Appreciation Day, began with cloudy skies and a pop up rain shower that quickly cleared to the sunny skies we have had the past 4 days. The ride from Augusta to Camp Swamp featured a local historic stop at the Alexander Hamilton Stephens Memorial Park. We enjoyed another fine lunch under blue skies hosted by the USO who, in their road warrior wisdom, even had cool travel kits for the riders: the folks from the USO think of everything, which is why we love them so much! Under the gaze of the statue of Alexander Hamilton Stephens and beneath the spire of the beautiful Crawfordsville Baptist Church, built in 1889, the tranquil setting was the perfect place for a break on our 79 mile route.
Since our partnership began with the VA last year, we have been able to embed VA mental health clinicians into our programs to better help serve those at risk to suicide. Our riders with this Challenge are Cheri Deligo from the Huntington VA. Robert has been cycling for just over two years and is enjoying his first Challenge Series.
“Project Hero is a great program and I am excited to get other veterans involved. I’m already recruiting for the Memorial challenge! It’s what happens between the miles that matters,” stated Robert. Cheri added, “this event has an amazing talent for finding those in need who are in their darkest places, bringing them out and helping them heal.”
Today was Women's Day, saluting the service of females in the military. One of our most inspirational veterans is Andrea Graham. Andrea is from Fayetteville, NC and rode her first challenge in March of 2015. “I didn’t know what the hell I was getting into!” she said. She has done eight challenges and is among our most beloved riders. “I have definitely graduated up from that first experience,” she said.
Andrea has faced some adversity personally. “This one is challenging for me because I have had been on an increased chemo regiment after a relapse in 2016. Project Hero has helped me accept my disability and deal with it,” she said. “I have to deal with cancer and I’m not going to stop doing what I do. I’m going to control cancer and not let cancer control me.”
Andrea is an inspiration to all of us, a great rider and one of the outstanding supporters of Project Hero always ready and willing to lend a hand to get things done. “We are only limited by the challenges we face each day and through cycling we can recover and heal together.” She is planning to ride the Texas Challenge next and is looking forward to it. “Project Hero has brought so much to my life,” she said. “It’s allowed me to accept my disability and continue to live a prosperous, healthy, happy life.” When asked about her philosophy of life she said, “That’s easy: live, love, laugh!”
Tomorrow the ride finishes into the peach tree city of Atlanta.
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