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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hope Center

Hello from Central Florida! I just wanted to share with you a bit about yesterdays visit to the Hope Center, part of The Central Florida Cancer Institute.  It was a beautiful day in Central Florida for a bicycle ride.  I love riding bike in warm, sunny temperatures and there is nothing better than knowing you will bring a smile to someone at the end of the ride. 

The day started with a few adjustments to the bicycle, can't go for a bike ride without making sure all equipment is in order.  I had directions in the map holder and off I went.  I thought I was prepared for an easy day of bike riding.  I would soon find a few hitches in that bike ride.

The first would be my directions, I had gotten the directions from Google maps for cyclists.  The first two roads were accurate.  The road I was on changed names, Google failed to mention that.  Then the next road listed, didn't exist.  That made things interesting.  I followed my instincts and knew that I was okay where I was.

I decided to use the map function on my phone to see if it would any more use for this bicycle trip.  I got directions from my current location, all seemed well until I looked for the second road I was told to turn on.  I rode quite a ways before thinking it can't possibly be this far and turning around.  It was then that I discovered the road I was told to take only existed to the right, it had a different name in the direction I was told to  Now the bike ride had to be back on track.  Right?

The street names and directions from here were more accurate, not quite what you would want but I was able to figure them out.  Now I was able to enjoy the ride, maybe.  Okay, not completely, most of the roads had no shoulder and some inconsiderate drivers.  I have learned to expect that so I do not let that bother me, I just ride the bike with extreme caution. 

Half way to my destination the most amazing birds walked out in front of me.  I have since been told they are Sandhill Cranes.  Thank you Jessica and Lisa for the education.  At first there was one on each side of the road, as I stopped to watch, it was like a dance in friendship as the slowly made their way toward each other.  They seemed not to be bothered by me at all.  They walked gracefully, side by side, occasionally stopping to dig in the dirt.  They didn't move much until a tiny white Chihuahua came prancing down the sidewalk.  Apparently they aren't fond of what an awful noise.  A few pictures and I moved on.

Not much further down the road, I can see I am coming up on a school, the sounds of happy children are in the air and then the sound of a not so happy dog.  Now I find myself being chased down the road by a dog who came darting under the fence and across the road to let me know she didn't like me.  Okay so the bike ride is now a race so as to not get bit.  I won!

The rest of my ride to Hope Center was beautiful and uneventful.  I arrived feeling great, parked the bike just outside the entrance and went inside.  The only person in the waiting area at that time was a pharmaceutical rep.  Soon a receptionist appeared to talk with him.  She disappeared to get someone to help him and I introduced myself.  It turns out he had seen me riding on the back road to the center.  We had a great conversation, he wished me well and I went to speak to the receptionist.  I gave her my card as she informed me everyone was in a meeting.  I told her to please give them a thank you for me.  It was now time to share a smile with some survivors.  I walked outside to find a couple who were just getting ready to enter.  I introduced myself and asked would they mind taking the picture you see of me.  We chatted for a bit, she was a breast cancer survivor and her husband was heading for his mapping for treatment of prostate cancer.  Another great time of sharing, smiles and joy.  This is what this trip is all about and I must say the bike ride back was amazing and without incident.

Please take the time to offer someone a smile today!