In 1991, Angie Montoya, my stepmother, had her first MS attack. She wasn't officially diagnosed until 1998. I won't pretend to know everything they've gone through. In truth, except for a couple weekend visits a month, Thanskgiving and Christmas, I wasn't really around much during those years. But as I've grown older, gotten married, bought a house, owned a business, they have been living with MS. And as time passes, as it takes it's toll, I've become more aware.
Angie has worked at Huguley Memorial Hospital for 35 years, 17 as the Director of the Emergency Department, and even though she needs the help of a motorized wheelchair to get around, despite being offered the opportunity to work from home, she continues to go to work at the hospital as Director of Quality and Outcomes. My father, a retired Ft. Worth Police Officer, has taken a job as a mechanical engineer at the hospital. This allows him to be a phone call away.
I know it's tough, but they keep going. Every day, every trial, every obstacle, is tackled together, and they do it with courage, grace and dignity. Recently they both joined a choir, and for Easter weekend performed 4 two hour long presentations of Handel's Messiah. I got to catch one of them with my wife Kristen, and we were both nearly moved to tears.
They are both, together, and individually, a great inspiration to me, both for my own marriage, and in my life. Faced with a challenge such as MS, I could only hope to handle it with a fraction of the grace and courage that Angie does each and every day. And as for their love and dedication to each other, it makes the quibbles and arguments of day to day married life seem so trivial and insignificant, I struggle to find the words. It shines a light on what it means to be married.
As I sat in bed this morning looking at the weather in Houston, thinking about the 15-20 Mph headwinds, the unseasonable cold front blowing in from the North, and the rain, trying to talk myself out of it, to postpone, till next weekend, or next year, as I thought about my fundraising goals, of which I haven't raised a single dollar, my thoughts turned to them.
So on this 31st anniversary of their wedding, I'm committing to riding in the MS150. Im riding in honor of Angie, and the millions of other brave individuals who battle MS every day. I'm riding in honor of my dad, and the millions of others who have loved ones with MS, and I'm riding to say thanks for the Bike.
This will be my first post on my new blog, "Bespoke and Wheel", Eventually it will be something completely different. But today, it's to tell you why I ride, and to ask you to donate towards my fundraising goals. Please click here to donate whatever you can. Thank you in advance.