The jerseys arrived and the fundraiser was in motion. Staring at the box of jerseys, I wondered if this was going to work. Taking on something completely new can be exciting but also frightening. Safe to say I was both stoked and scared of how this would go. Within a few days, the support and enthusiasm towards the fundraiser were uplifting and it started to calm any fears or doubts I had about the fundraiser and to share my own and my father's recovery story. (There will be a separate story touching base on how starting this helped me in my grief).
Within a very short period of time, there were 4 to 5 key people who instantly wanted to support, and join the cause. Their enthusiasm towards this was instant, after telling them about what made me decide to do this. Mac, Scott, Colin, Abby, and Braeden were huge factors in the forward motion of WoodridgeMTB. Sometimes, just seeing other people's excitement toward something gets you fired up and motivated. This was 100% the case with these amazing people.
We had our first "official meeting" in April of 2021 and decided that a fundraising and riding team could help us reach a few fundraising goals and carry a strong message about what mountain biking/sports can do for mental health and recovery. Within the first week, we hit the goal I had originally planned to raise. Then we set a second goal and hit that within 3 weeks.
I was asked quite often how are you doing this? I typically responded with "it's a good story, at a time when one is needed and people enjoy an underdog story", which is true. For me, it was how passionate I was to do something with purpose, to finally give back to mountain biking and help people who are struggling as I once was. It was personal, and I was motivated. It is impossible for me to explain how many mistakes, regrets, and lost time with my family helped fuel me then and currently to carry on with this.
I tried explaining it once, but it never comes across the way I want it to. It is not an easy subject to talk openly about and explain to someone and have them understand fully unless they have experienced it themselves.
To Be Continued . . .
- James MacDonald