I am dedicating my ride in El Tour to Jim Smith, a good friend of mine, who died this past summer after a two year bout with a brain tumor. I worked with Jim, but then we became friends and really got to know each other. He was a brother in Christ, a loving husband and father and loved by so many people. During his final two years, we would meet at the hospital, rehab center, Starbucks and even at his office, when he was feeling better. He was always positive, always smiling and confident. Even when he knew that he was up against it and might not survive this, he just chose to find the upside and spend the rest of his days showing love and encouragement to all around him. You just felt better around him, this big smiling, happy guy who was tolerant, smart and kind to everyone. His favorite word was "AWESOME", which he used in just about every other sentence. This was his way of expressing his own upbeat attitude and giving encouragement to anyone near him.
I could not stop crying at his funeral. He was too good to lose and we all knew it. I cry when I think of him now. I started this blog because I know that I am not very disciplined, not athletic and would need encouragement, even from strangers. Thankfully, I have received that already. I know that if Jim is able to watch from Heaven, he is encouraging me now.
Recently, I learned that his four boys are benefitting from Tu Nidito, a Tucson-based organization that helps children who have lost a parent. So, now I am raising funds for Tu Nidito, which is affiliated with El Tour.
As I train and race in El Tour, I will think of Jimmy, his wife and boys and dedicate my efforts to him.