Local realtor relates first-hand experience
On June 4, Karen Spence, a realtor with Colonial Real Estate, Inc. of Sevierville, set out to participate in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Team in Training” 100-mile bicycle ride.
The following is a description of her experience, in her own words.
“In February, I challenged myself to a 100 mile bicycle marathon to raise money for Leukemia; a challenge few people thought I would complete.
“I had just four short months to get my body ready for one of the toughest rides in America and to raise $3,700.00. We gathered in the hotel lobby at 5:30 a.m. getting ready for the ride and fighting down the butterflies in our stomachs.
“At 6:15 a.m. the Tennessee team was called to start. Off we went, too late to quit, the challenge is ahead! I had two names on the handlebars of my bike, hero patients that have leukemia or lymphoma. There’s a reason they pair you with a hero patient. You look at that name many times during the ride and draw strength from it, thinking that if they can go through chemotherapy and the pain of the disease, then who are you to complain and about a little pain.
“The support along the way was heart touching. People lined up all along the 100-mile route cheering us on and telling us how great we were doing. Strangers making sure you had plenty to eat and drink. Riders from across the country joining together as one team, cheering for each other. Even the pro riders got caught up in the spirit. They would come back down the hills and ride up again with those of us who were beginners, just to cheer us on. What an inspiration!
“Then at the finish line 11 hours later they lined up and cheered as we rode through. I learned a lot about myself on this challenge. I learned a lot about mankind also. I learned that we do still care about each other and that we do still pull together, even when we don’t know each other’s names. I learned that together we can make a difference in this world and in each other’s lives. I also learned that I can do anything I set out to do if I just don’t quit!”