To make it easy, you can register or donate here 😉
The Kelly Brush Ride is my favorite day of the year. It’s stressful and a lot of work to plan. It’s exhausting and at times frustrating. (I’m really selling it, huh!). But each year at the end of the day I’m riding the biggest high.
It is flat out the most fun, most rewarding, most exhilarating thing I have ever been a part of! I see people I know from all different areas of my life, I meet new people every year, and there are grant recipients using their equipment that we helped them purchase. To know that these people are coming together to support me and what my family and I have committed so much of our lives to is both overwhelming and gratifying.
The Kelly Brush Ride started 11 years ago when, after my injury, the Middlebury Ski Team decided to ride 100 miles and raise money for me to be able to buy a monoski and get back on the mountain with them. They raised over $60,000 that year (more than 5x their goal)! The next year we opened the ride up to the public and all funds raised went to the Kelly Brush Foundation. While the size of the ride, the water stops, and the routes have changed over the years, the exhilaration hasn’t. Everyone is happy, upbeat, and excited about doing something hard but for a good cause.
When I send out my emails each year asking people to donate to my fundraising campaign, I always say that it’s the act of donating—not the size of the donation—that means so much to me. I think a lot of people don’t believe me when I say this but it is absolutely true! When people donate, come to the Ride, or volunteer it shows me that they care and they believe in what I’m doing with the Kelly Brush Foundation. There are people who have come to every Ride or volunteered at the same water stop every year, which is amazing! I love the dedication! But I also love meeting and hearing from people who come to the Ride for the first time. I remember talking to a gentleman last year, a friend had convinced him to come to the Ride and he had such a good time that he swore he’d be back every year! I love that!
One quick story about why the Kelly Brush Ride is important. There is a guy about my age from Vermont who was injured about 6 months after me. His dad followed my story because we had similar injuries, and he came to the Ride the first year it was opened to the public. His son tried adaptive sports one time after his injury but it wasn’t a good experience and never wanted to try anything else. He hasn’t done much since his injury but his dad continued to come to the Ride to support our mission and hoped that one day his son would get more involved. Well he finally convinced his son to come to the “Ride with Kelly” event we had in Burlington a couple weeks ago and try a handcycle. He loved it! We sent him home with my old handcycle so he can continue to ride, he’s planning on coming to the Kelly Brush Ride this year, and hopefully will be applying for an adaptive sports grant this fall. This story is exactly what the Kelly Brush Ride is about and why the Kelly Brush Ride is important!
I hope to see many old and new faces at the ride this year on September 10th and hope everyone is actively trying to raise money between now and then!
As always, I’ll give my quick Dylan update! Her fussiness has continued to settle down, which has been a big relief for Zeke and me. She is starting to sleep longer during the day and has had a few longer stretches overnight. Two nights in a row she slept until 6am (and again last night!), but most nights she will wakes up to feed around 2-3a and then again at 5-6a. I have stopped nursing her (which I’m really sad about) because she just screamed with each feed but would do much better with a bottle. So I’ve been pumping and giving her breastmilk in a bottle. Her weight gain is still slow (she’s 10lb 14oz at 4 months which is the 2nd percentile), so we will be seeing the GI specialist again to see if there is anything different we need to do. Otherwise though, she continues to develop in really fun ways! She has started to roll from her belly to her back and has once rolled from her back to her belly. She smiles all the time and loves to engage with people – she gets mad if we don’t play with her or play attention to her enough!