4th Annual Paul Fried Charity Ride

My dad, who is now 61 years old, has suffered from a severe case of Crohn’s disease since he was 20 years old. He’s been through numerous surgeries and endured endless health complications including a pulmonary embolism, numerous skin cancers, and a chronic history of kidney stones (over 100 to date!). My dad was in and out of hospitals during my childhood, yet my mom and dad did an amazing job of helping my sister and I deal with the struggles of having a parent with serious health issues. Through it all, he managed to build and maintain a successful accounting firm, and remain an incredible husband to my mom (they have been married 37 years), as well as a wonderful father to my older sister and I. My dad never let his disease define him, and always pushed himself to beat the odds. This was the case in 2007, when my dad heard about a three-day bicycle marathon to raise funds for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) being held in Seattle, Washington. My dad, who had not ridden a bicycle in over sixteen years, began training himself at home and took the trip where he successfully completed the 210 mile event. I will never forget picking him up from the airport and seeing him so overcome by emotion. It was another circumstance where my dad, who has faced limits because of his disease, achieved what everyone else thought was impossible. The following year, my dad vowed to travel to Seattle again in support of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, but this time his health risks were far too great and doctors refused to sign the forms allowing him to participate. My dad, never one to quit, decided to organize a local ride with a shorter distance that would allow him to still ride and also raise money for CCFA. The first annual Paul Fried Charity Ride for CCFA was held in August of 2008. Each consecutive year, the ride gained more participants and sponsors, and raised a greater amount of funds, with 100% of proceeds going to CCFA. Last year, the ride meant even more to our family. A week prior to the ride, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. My family and I were devastated that I would have to deal with an illness so similar to my dad’s, but my father encouraged me to think positively. I reminded myself that I was lucky to have such a great role model to help me understand and cope with my disease. On August 21, at the 3rd annual ride, my dad raised almost $10,000 and had 70 riders attend. Two days later, on August 23, the unthinkable happened. My dad, who was out riding his bike in our neighborhood with a friend, was in a bicycling accident. He had fallen from his bike after colliding with his friend. When he was taken to the hospital, we found out that he had broken his pelvis, collarbone, and seven ribs, cracked his spine, and that his lung had collapsed. He was transferred to the trauma center at Beaumont and placed in ICU. After my dad was moved from ICU to another area of the hospital, my dad’s fighting nature continued to shine through. Doctors told him he wouldn’t be able to even attempt to walk for at least six months, but when I came to visit and nurses left the room he would try to get himself out of bed and try to stand himself up. My dad was eventually transferred to a convalescent facility in West Bloomfield, and he shocked his physical therapists when he began using a walker in less than a month. He was finally brought home to our house in Farmington Hills where we had wheelchair accessible ramps installed in our garage and a hospital bed on the first floor. He used every opportunity to gain independence and strengthen his body. Three months after the accident, my dad was walking. You would never know that he had been in an accident. As 2011 approached, my dad began talking about riding and how much he missed it. This brought on arguments amongst our family members, as none of us were comfortable with him returning to the sport that had caused such physical damage to him and emotional strain on our family. As usual, my dad tried to find a way to make the situation work. He did research and spoke to friends he had met at biking events in different parts of the country. A few months ago, he traveled to Wisconsin where he purchased an unusual recumbent bike. I cannot put into words how proud and inspired I was when I watched my dad ride off the first day that bike arrived. He is holding the fourth annual Paul Fried Charity Ride for CCFA on August 20, 2011. My dream would be for it to be the most successful event yet. My dad works so hard in every aspect of his life, and he is such a remarkable, admirable, and strong individual. If there is any way you can help to make the 4th Annual Paul Fried Charity Ride ­­­­an immense success, it would be so kind of you to do so. No one deserves the support more than my dad. Information on the event can be found at the following website: http://online.ccfa.org/site/TR?fr_id=2950&pg=entry.

 Download a flyer here Paul Fried Charity Ride Info Packet and Flyer
Katie Fried

About Tom and Ann Gendich

Founders of Rochester Media. Looking to provide great local news to all people in and around Rochester and Rochester Hills. Send them a note at info@rochestermedia.com.

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