When I moved back to Pittsburgh in July 2010, my mom was healthy. By November of that year she started experiencing really discomforting pains, that we all believed was likely a urinary tract infection. A month later we were sitting in the dining room for Christmas Eve dinner digesting the news that there was a tumor in her bladder. And the bladder had to come out. She had to start chemotherapy. It felt like it was one thing after another after another. Each day there was more news that wasn't horrible, but it also wasn't good. And then, on a late July afternoon just over a year since my return, I got the messages from my dad to call right away.
"I have horrible news."
Right after my mom died, I spent a lot of time taking very long bike rides. They cleared my head and gave me some time to be on my own. I would listen to music that made me feel better (and sometimes it made me feel worse) and ride up and down the trails all morning, afternoon, or evenings after work. If I was having a bad day, I rode my bike. It was my way of trying to cope with the loss. Since then, riding my bike is my best time for thinking. And it's when I thought of this.
At the beginning of the year I decided I would log every mile I biked throughout the year. I was mostly interested in seeing just how far I could do. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to find a way to do something broader and better with the project. So, with my mom's memory in mind, I'd like to introduce to you Pedal for Pennies.
It's simple. I bike. You pledge pennies per mile.
At the end of the year, your pennies will go to a wonderfully worthy organization with a local chapter in Pittsburgh:
- Named for beloved comedian Gilda Radner, we opened in the city’s Strip District in June 2006.
- Since that time over 1,400 members have participated in our free program of social and emotional support for anyone touched by cancer—men, women, teens, children—and their families and friends.
- All activities offered in the clubhouse and the community—support and networking groups, workshops, educational programs, arts/crafts, and social activities—are free of charge.
- All monies raised by Gilda’s Club Western PA stays here to support our programming.
If you'd like to learn more about Pedal for Pennies (or perhaps make a pledge!), visit the Pedal for Pennies project blog - where you can track my progress, see dorky pictures of my bike throughout Pittsburgh, and read my ramblings on biking.
My goal is 3,000 miles. You do the math.