My husband, Tony Prada, COO of USSelfStorageLocator.com and his son, Antonio (TJ) are avid cyclists; they ride all over Weston, Florida with their various riding groups. Tony has participated in many benefit rides including the “Tour de Broward” to benefit Jose DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. He and the entire team at USSelfStorageLocator.com believe that giving back to the community is essential for any company, “there is no better way to give back to the community you live and work in than doing something you love” said Tony. He has trained and participated in several triathlons, I have seen him train; swim, ride and run and know the kind of determination it takes.
But on Saturday, June 8, 2013, Tony and TJ, with a donation from USSelfStorageLocator.com to help Baby Jameson Davis, participated in a special ride sponsored by Hector Picard, a double amputee. I was amazed and inspired when Hector arrived at Markham Park on his bike from South Miami. What determination Hector must have to do what he does. Hector has competed in dozens of triathlons and 3 Ironman competitions. And now, Hector is on a journey from South Florida to Spokane, Washington, 3200 miles.
June 8th was the beginning of Hector’s 36 day journey to Washington. He is doing this ride which he calls: “Hands for Baby Jameson” to bring awareness and fund raise for Baby Jameson Davis, born April, 12, 2012. Baby Jameson is no ordinary baby; he was born with no hands and no forearms and has a tremendous zest for life. Since Jameson has no hands and forearms, he will need prosthetics, not just one, but a new set as he continues to grows. Just like how babies outgrow clothes, Baby Jameson will outgrow his prosthetics and prosthetics are very expensive: ranging from about $25,000 to upwards of $100,000.
Hector with kids at Markham Park
Not only was I inspired after seeing and meeting Hector and marveled at what his is doing for Jameson and what a role model he is for all kids. This day also bought me several revelations about cycling in general. I have seen Tony participate in several rides, but never on the open road outside our community in Weston with its dedicated bike lanes.
Upon leaving Markham Park after a short ride with bunches of kids and a short inspiring speech, the group of about 70 cyclists were escorted by several motorcycle police officers onto SR84 then a small stretch on I-75 until US 27. However, once on US 27, the police escort ended. Now, the cyclists only had Hector’s escort vehicle driven by his physician up in front. I in my car along with a couple other vehicles took up the rear with hazard lights blinking. From my vantage point behind the cyclist as semi trucks and speeding vehicles go zooming by, I realized just how dangerous cycling on the open road is and what a difficult journey Hector is facing. The cyclists cruising along at about 20 miles per hour paid no mind to the passing cars.
Hector Greeting Tony Prada upon his arrival to Markham Park in Sunrise, FL
It wasn’t long before the rain started with lightening off in the distance, not to be deterred, the group cycled on. The group converges at Subway in South Bay about 45 miles from Markham Park. After a quick lunch, many goodbyes and some pictures, Hector, Susan and Tony depart for Clewiston with only Hector’s pace vehicle and TJ and me taking up the rear. Although, only about 16 miles to Clewiston, this leg was more treacherous with only 3 riders and gives me more appreciation for what the athletes go through. And as I followed them, seeing them happily ride and chat, one can almost forget that Hector has no arms, but seeing him almost stumble when riding over the gravel quickly reminds one, just how amazing this man is.
Hector, Gail, Tony and Susan arrives in Clewiston: June 8, 2013
It’s comforting to know that Susan will be accompanying Hector and his Doctor throughout Florida and I am sure there will be others joining them at various stops across the country. But there is surely to be days especially during the work week that Hector will be going it alone with just his Physician behind him- hazard lights blinking. But as of Saturday, June 8, Hector has completed the first 100 miles or so on his way to Washington, Baby Jameson and his mission. By now, Hector has cycled his way into Georgia; follow Hector’s progress here and you can help by donating to “Hands for Baby Jameson”.
Below are some of the videos taken during the ride, enjoy them.
Hector Picard’s Hands for Jameson Speech at Markham Park: Sunrise Florida
Hector Picard’s ride with kids at Markham Park on June 8, 2013
Hector Picard’s group on State Road 84
Hector Picard’s group on US 27 June 8
Hector Picard’s group US 27-Rain