[Note: This article appeared in the Late Fall 2013 Newsletter. The full newsletter can be viewed in this pdf document]

No doubt most athletic fundraisers have their hidden stories of triumph over adversity, of difficult goals quietly reached. Certainly, those of us who plan and run the Maine Lighthouse Ride have heard or overheard a few of these stories over the years. We are grateful to be able to share one such story with you. Patrick Joyce, who rode the century in the 2013 MLR, found himself facing surgery that might have discouraged others from riding again. Patrick had another plan. Here, in his words, is his story:

“I had ridden in the MLR in 2012 and 2011, but my story is a about how the 2013 ride became so important to me.”

“In January 2013, doctors discovered a benign tumor in the lining of my brain that would need to be surgically removed. The tumor was located in the area of the brain that controls motor function. It was successfully removed but left me with significant neurological weakness in my right leg. I was not able move my right leg at all. The doctors believed it was a temporary condition, but I was worried.”

“I needed to establish in my mind that no matter what the long-term outcome, I would return to my normal life. My normal life included riding my bike. The day after surgery, I set a goal that I would ride the 100-mile Maine Lighthouse Ride as I had done in 2012 even if I had to do it with only one functional leg. Fortunately, I began to get some movement back after 48 hours, but full function was a still a long way off.”

“The goal of riding the MLR was a great incentive. It did two things. First, it gave me a a measurement of full recovery. Second, it gave me long time line – seven months to prepare. This was extremely important for me. I am not a patient patient, as witnessed in my first PT session when the therapist talked about fitting me with an ankle brace I commented, ‘How long is this going to take?’ ”

“After two months of PT, I started riding again. Leg movement was normal but neurological weakness remained. I began work-ing with a trainer to develop my affected leg.”

“When the MLR came around in September, I was well prepared. I think this year’s ride was easier for me than it was in 2012.”

“When I crossed the finish line at SMCC, I had fulfilled a goal set in a bed at Maine Medical Center. I had tangible proof that I was again fully functional.”

“I will do MLR’s century ride in the future, but it will never mean as much as it did in 2013.”

Thank you, Patrick. We look forward to seeing you at the 2014 MLR.


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