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August 11, 2011 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-08-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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At the Chelsea Fairgrounds finish,

Jared and his proud mom, Jan

make life extremely hard for Jared,
as he is completely aware of what
his deficiencies are. Jared, 21, watches
the kids he grew up with continue on
with their lives, driving and going to
college, having fun with friends, expe-
riencing the basic opportunities that
we so often take for granted. The loss
of these experiences keeps Jared apart
from his community, almost shunned
as people do not understand that he
has the same hopes and dreams as
everyone else and just wants to be
treated normally. Life for Jared can be
very lonely as he spends most of his
days by himself.
Alex Graham's wish was to make a
public service video to encourage oth-
ers to offer a smile to someone who
looks different rather than staring or
ignoring them.

Jared's Miracle
This is where the miracle of Make-
A-Wish, Team Alex and Alex Graham
touched Jared this year.
Gracious friends offered us a spare
tandem bike to try. Jared, who had
never been on a bike before, asked me
if he was able to ride on this tandem,
could he participate in the Make-
A-Wish ride, something he always
secretly wanted to do. Around three
weeks before the ride, we picked up
the tandem late one night with head
lamps on to guide our way and off we
rode together for the very first time.
Something so basic as the feeling
of the wind flowing past you while
rolling along on a bike was finally
enjoyed. We were able to stay upright,
although not too steady. We knew we
would sign up for the ride this year.
I had no idea if we would be able
to ride more than 20 or 30 miles
each day, let alone the 115-mile day
on our second day of the ride. We
only had three weeks to train and it

would take two of them before we
were ready to ride out of the neigh-
borhood and onto the road where
we would have to learn to navigate
the traffic, stop and starts and nar-
row roadways.
With excitement, anticipation
and some concern, we headed up
to Traverse City on a bus filled with
Team Alex members on July 28.
This is when our miracle really
began. Team Alex and the rest of the
Make-A-Wish people included Jared
as an equal and part of the team.
No questions were asked about his
abilities or lack of abilities; everyone
just accepted him as he is, showering
him with warmth, love and affection.
This allowed Jared's inner beauty to
shine, sharing his nonstop smile and
the kindness exposed through his
large brown eyes. The funny side of
his personality was shared, and most
of all, he kept up his strength in his
quiet and dignified way.
Not only did we ride the 30 miles
we had hoped, but Jared was able to
push through the entire first day of
100 miles (the first 50 all hills) and
the long second day, traveling 115
miles followed by the entire third
day of July 31, for the total ride of
310 miles. I never heard Jared com-
plain while riding on the back of
this older, way-too-heavy bike. Jared
offered a happy smile to everyone we
rode with and always told them he
was doing great.
This is an extremely difficult
endurance ride for those of us who
have been riding a bike all of our
lives and training for months before
the ride. For Jared to find the inner
strength to push through the entire
ride, all the while understanding that
this is really about giving back to the
community, makes him our hero.
Alex Graham, daughter of Susie and
Bill Graham, continues to give back
to the community. Team Alex, along
with the Make-A-Wish family, gave
Jared the gift of belonging to their
community without any preconceived
conditions. After the ride, our family
received about 30 emails saying how
inspired they were by Jared. For all
this, we are so very grateful.
Jared and I look forward to next
year's ride, raising lots of money and,
as Jared said, "Riding on a much
lighter tandem."
From our family to Team Alex and
the entire Make-A-Wish family, we
send our heartfelt thanks. I1

For Jared's 21st birthday, he completed a

tandem skydive. The Hymans live in West

Bloomfield. Rick and Jared raised close to

$3,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of

Michigan.

kv 43151 W. 10 Mile Rd.
Oak Park, MI 48237
PH (248) 546-4400

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August 11 2011

9

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