July 4, 2008 (5th Annual Ryan Phua Memorial Kids’ Ride)
Ryan’s Ride came and went. (Our 5th time around). On the day of the event, I woke up at before dawn; looked at little Matthew sleeping soundly then reminded myself that Ryan’s Ride is here because my son died. I welled up in tears and pulled myself together and got ready for the day knowing that it would be a beautiful day.
Closed to 700 children showed up with their families. Last year, we rushed though putting the kids on the course because we were concerned about time and we finished the ride in record time. I felt so bad that something we planned so hard was done in a rush. So this year, I told the volunteers to stage the kids and please don’t rush through the whole process. It was beautiful as I watched and cheered each wave of kids pedaling down the road. I saw the smiles in many of them and I smiled. The smiles of these children truly brought me joy and were just priceless.
This year’s highlights: Our adorable 9-month niece Alana arrived from Hong Kong to participate in the Ride. I broke the rule and just wanted her to be a part of the personal family event. So we loaded her up in Ryan & Matthew’s Radio Flyer wagon and let her on the course too.
Then I met Lisa who is starting a branch of The Little Gym in Millbrae. Lisa’s generosity was just unbelievable to me. She offered her 2 full time employees to me to help me with the planning of Ryan’s Ride for two months.
Then there was Ines, whose determination and volunteer spirit truly shows me the meaning of kindness. She worked diligently to get lunches for our volunteers donated and offered to volunteer her time at the event along with her two sons.
Then of course, there were our friends who would be there year after year to help at Ryan’s Ride. (Daniela, Luca, Nadia, Ivania, Julie W, Doug, Junko, Yin Ping, Ron K., Ron S., Tiffany and her family, Cece, Shawna, Misa, Carmen, Carrie and her family, Michael, Mireille, Sarah, Donna & Hoa, Kelly, Lori, Joanna and her colleagues) I find this quote very appropriate: “A faithful friend is the medicine of life.” Thank you for being part of this journey with us. We truly are stronger as individuals because of your support.
Check out photos at www.ryansride.org and this slideshow created by Daniela Degrassi Photography.