A healthy way to allow wishes to come true for those who need them

Jodi Davis

| 3 min read

Edward Gaines FORD Motor 2013
If I approached you with an idea that assisted in granting a terminally ill child their biggest wish, most likely you’d want to hear more about it. Once I informed you that the idea involved being taken to Traverse City, Michigan along with your bike and cycling all the way to Chelsea, Michigan … well, you may have the notion to refuse any participation. After all, that is a 300-mile-long trek and then to discover that it is to be done in three short days; most individuals that I know would surely decline. I would decline.
Not that I don’t enjoy helping wonderful organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation (MAWF), but the 300-mile distance seems just a bit overwhelming to me. I can only assume it seemed a bit overwhelming to Edward Gaines as well. But Ed didn’t allow that to stop him. He was interested in participating. You see, Ed, an employee at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, was given the idea by a fellow coworker named Allison. She mentioned the Wish-A-Mile (WAM) 300 Bicycle Tour ,which is a premier cycling event benefiting Make-A-Wish Foundation. Ed had a connection with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Back in 2001, his granddaughter, Lauren, needed a liver transplant and the MAWF allowed Lauren and her family to spend a week at Walt Disney World, a vacation which provided wonderful memories for all, including Ed.
So when Allison mentioned the upcoming 300-mile WAM bike tour, Ed wanted to know more about this Ride for Life that was taking place during the middle of summer. He knew what he needed to do, and he began training for this challenge he was about to embark upon. At that time Ed said he weighed close to 250 pounds. He began some spiritual preparation which included eating healthier; fruits and vegetables became part of Ed’s daily diet. He began to feel better as he trained continuously for several weeks.
Ed knew he could do it and stayed focused on his goal. He raised over $3,000 and after countless days of training, he was eager to begin the 300-mile ride. The eagerness intensified knowing that his MAWF hero was a youngster from Alaska, Samuel Jay, who was 12-years old and suffering from a spinal disease. He would especially ride for him.
As I viewed the DVD taken from video clips of Ed Gaines at the 2009 bicycle tour, I couldn’t help but notice that he was always smiling! He not only felt healthier from all the training for the 300-mile ride, but he felt good knowing he was helping terminally ill children by providing them hope and strength to carry on.
My eyes especially teared up when Ed mentioned that during the last two miles of the ride, he rode past numerous “star markers” which represented every child that had been a recipient of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. There were more than he could count. Wishes that were granted because of people like Ed Gaines.
How awesome. Striving for a healthier Michigan is a great goal for us all… striving to help others while doing so is even better! Edward Gaines, you are my hero. You inspire and motivate me to do more, not only for myself but for others as well. Thank you.
Does Ed inspire you to participate in an event such as the Wish-A-Mile Bicycle Tour? Please share your comments below; and if you are interested in the 2014 tour, please find the info you need here: The upcoming 27th annual WAM bicycling tour will be taking place July 24-27, 2014. The 2014 Wish-A-Mile event offers a three-day, 300-mile tour and a fabulous one-day, 50-mile ride also.

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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