Team Michigang rider Patty Brown shares her inspiring story for completing her first POHR event in 2012, and why she’ll be back again this year.
My story begins with my mom. My mom loved pigs, she collected all kinds. Growing up, our house was full of them from the pig mailbox outside, pig towels in the bathroom to the pig spatula set in the kitchen. They were everywhere!
I was very close with my mom. I was fortunate enough to take the summer off of work the year she died. I did everything that I could for her and I can honestly say I have no regrets.
My mom died November 19, 2009 after fighting colon cancer for about 18 months. She was 66.
That day changed my life. My son was ten and my daughter was seven at the time, and their lives were forever changed as well. Grandma wouldn’t be there to see them grow up, or do all of the special grandma things she did for them. Our hearts were broken.
I vowed I would do something, help someone, make a difference in at least one persons life.
Fast forward a couple of years…
Day one of the ride last year, I don’t remember at what point, but I started talking to my mom. I talk to her all of the time anyway, but this was a little different. I asked her to give me the strength to do this ride and to finish it! I asked her to be the wind at my back, help me peddle up the impossible hills. I asked her to be with me the whole time, that I needed her. And I also asked her to send me a sign. A sign to let me know she was here with me. (Although I did keep a laminated photo of her in my pocket.)
As each day passed, I just kept on talking to her. Not really noticing any signs and nothing significant happened. Until the final day. As we all gathered at the park at the top of Cincinnati, I signed the banner that read “Who are you riding for?” I then went to the edge of the park that overlooked the city; it was an awe inspiring scene. Emotion overwhelmed me…I really did it! As I stood there, I told her I did it for her.
As we all lined up and rode down the city streets of Cincinnati toward the finish line, it was an exhilarating feeling of accomplishment. We all were so very excited to finally get to the end!
As we turned a corner, I looked up and in front of a building stood a large statue of a pig. Not just any pig, it was an angel pig with a halo and wings!!! Tears instantly flowed and I screamed “THANK YOU MOM, I LOVE YOU!”
I know that was her, telling me she was in fact with me the whole time.
I am so very thankful for all of the things she has taught me: strength, courage, devotion, and most of all love. I will keep doing this ride, for her. For every family that has to go through what mine has. I will make my mom proud, I will make a difference!!
Patty is already looking forward to the 2013 Pan Ohio Hope Ride and offered this advice for new riders: “This is a very mentally challenging ride. Your mind has to be just as prepared as your body.”