The Samantha Years

Courage Diaries 2009

Our ride is 9 days away! A year ago we were training from the hospital. Here is our ‘Courage Diary Part I’ from 2009

There is No ‘I’ in Team…..But I Did Find Me.

July 14:

We are in Children’s Hospital; our unsought home away from home. I’m watching over my daughter, Samantha as I wait for my husband to deliver my bike. Two weeks and counting until the Courage Classic. I need a training ride.

I put my bike shoes on while watching Samantha’s heart monitor….what was I thinking in signing up for this ride? We have waaaaayyyy to much going on.


I signed up for the Courage Classic; three days on my bike, 156 miles in the mountains. It’s huge fundraiser for Children’s Hospital . My bike was propped sadly against a wall in the garage; dusty with two flat tires. I had a lot of work to do but I figured I had time. July was a very long, long way away, right?


Two hospitalizations for Samantha and more procrastination from me.


I realized I only had two months to get my butt in gear. Samantha’s team started to form. As people started to fundraise, I realized this was much more than a ride through the mountains. This was a ride for many personal causes. This was a chance for people to do something for my daughter, a chance to ride in herhonor. Samantha’s Grandpa Jim wrote a heartfelt testimonial on his fundraisersite.

“I ride so that someday my granddaughter Samantha can ride.”

Well crap, now I guess I’m committed.

Once again, family and friends have come along for our bumpy ride, for our crazy life parade. I often wonder if I would be as philanthropic as my community if this were happening to another family. Would I sign up for a 156 mile bike ride to support a friend? Would I opt out? Biking Vail pass is hard. I try to avoid hard things.

Ironically, hard things still tend to find us.


Samantha is hospitalized with a staph infection. The infection was dectected in her ear and bladder meaning that it has colonized throughout her body. She ison I.V. antibiotics. We have ten different speciality teams on our case.

Our Courage Classic Team has raised $4,000 for Children’s Hospital. But I amdoubting my decision to take on this ride. I’m sad to think that I would have todrop out because she was not doing well. Alas, another event we would have tocancel; another testament to our variable, uncertain life.

Au contraire, mon frere.

The longer we are in the hospital, the more my team grows. At home, myhusband packs up the essentials: clean underwear, meals and then loads up mybike, helmet, gloves, water bottles and drives down to Children’s Hospital. Ourmedical team encourages me to get out and asks about my training. They allreassure me that they can handle Samantha’s medical needs, on their own, while I go out and ride.

“Are you sure you’ll be okay? I’ll be gone about two hours” I tell a nurse

“Heather, this is a hospital.”

I learn to release my mama controls just a little bit.

Perhaps I needed to release the controls just a little bit

Because being in the hospital stinks.

Being in the hospital 80+ days out of your three-year old daughter’s life reallystinks. Even if Children’s is a state-of-the-art, best-of-the-best hospital with reallycool X-Box machines in every room, my heart still breaks every time we areadmitted.

July 14:

My husband steps into the room, he eyes my attire and laughs….bike shorts and jerseys just aren’t typical at the hospital.

“You’re itchin’ to get out aren’t you?”

“Feeding is at two, meds have been given and our nurses’ name is Kelly. I have my cell phone.”

“You won’t need it…..go”

I ride…I turn my back from the hospital. Ironically, I found someone during these rides. I found a woman who is strong, who likes the sound of her heart beating when she is doing a hard climb. A woman who loves her daughter dearly but also loves the feeling of clearing her head as she leaves the hospital for a long ride; a woman who can briefly shed oxygen tanks, feeding tubes and I.V. meds for a little while because she has a very, very good team.

I slow down at a curve and brake a little too suddenly. It’s alright. You can let go of the controls….just a little bit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s