I asked Brian if I could introduce a special project he’s undertaking this week. I’m terribly proud of him, and I want to make sure he’s not too humble about it.
As often seems to happen in life, part of our motivation for having this awesome adventure in the Netherlands came from something tragic and awful: the loss of Brian’s mother, Barbara Dodds, to an aggressive brain tumour not even one year ago. Words cannot express what that short battle was like, but the experience marked us forever.
Mother’s Day is May 10 in Canada, and this year I’m thinking about my mom from across the world. But May 10 is also a terrible reminder that there’s a hole in the world where Barbara used to laugh and love and dance.
Last year we both participated in the Spring Sprint for the Brain Tumour Foundation, and Brian rode the 200 km Ride to Conquer Cancer. Now that we’re in the Netherlands, we’ve been thinking about how we can keep up this tradition of doing something positive. To us, it doesn’t necessarily mean raising money or increasing awareness, even those things are very important. This year, Brian is going to honour his mom’s memory and legacy through a meaningful and challenging journey around Ireland by bike.
I say meaningful because there is a family connection to Ireland, but also because the route Brian has planned out by himself incorporates dance-related landmarks as special recognition of the legacy Barbara left behind through the Sherwood Park School of Dance. And I say challenging because he has committed to riding 560 km over the course of a week, and by all accounts, it won’t be an easy ride. I’ll be cheering him on from home with Nougat and then meet up with him in Dublin.
I ask you to keep Brian in your thoughts as he undertakes this journey, and all those who have been touched by this terrible disease. It means a lot, sincerest thanks! Now, over to Brian to explain his vision:
My ride is for my mom and all people touched by traumatic events such as the one my family experienced last year. As a child of someone with a brain tumor who survived for a time with great suffering and eventually passed away, I have learned an important lesson. Actions speak much louder than words, and the smallest acts of kindness, like lunch or the offer to run an errand, can make a world of difference.
I hope that no one ever has to go through what my family went through. But unfortunately terrible diagnoses impact people, their caregivers and their families every single day. Daily life becomes incredibly stressful, scary and lonely. How can you help? Be kind, take the time to listen and take action in any small ways that you can. That's what I will be reflecting on and talking about with people during my bicycle journey in Ireland.
Ireland is renowned for conversation and beer and I hope to achieve many conversations over great beers and warm stews. I know my mom is proud. I will never forget the fond memory of cooking her homemade Irish stew last March.
I ride around Ireland for her from May 7-12, starting in Dublin at a monument called "Wind and Water" which has two dancers back to back representing harmony. And, on Mother's Day (May 10th) I will be visiting a dance monument called "Let the Dance Begin" in Strabane. We will be posting updates on my progress and experiences on our social media in days to come.
"Dance your way through life with happiness" - Barbara Ann Dodds 1958-2014
Please donate here to support my sister Amy and I in memory of our mom, and to help support those who are living with a brain tumour and their caregivers.
~ Brian ~ Erica