Ever find yourself having to pause for a moment from whatever you are doing to really look at and breathe in the beauty of the sun slipping behind a group of pine trees, slowly casting shades of pinks, purples and oranges across the lake? I find myself doing that from time to time – being completely stopped by a beautiful moment that has come and will quickly go. No matter how many times I witness it, each sunset is incredibly unique, uniquely colorful, colorfully memorable. With my sister, Amber: South Carolina, our last night in Myrtle Beach, the sun setting as we walked through the sand searching for shells. California, on our way to the Santa Monica Pier after we had walked what felt like fifty miles to get guacamole, Amber laughing the whole – well, most of the way. Minnesota, Clear Lake, somewhere near her new home, she was smiling as we walked along the shore both of us excited for our first CAM’s (Cruisin’ for Autism in Minnesota) Ride the next morning.
Amber — sisters, like sunsets, have their own daily journey; their own cherishable moments and challenging times; their own path. No two are ever exactly the same. And while sisters and sunsets are never exactly the same, both are magical and both are a blessing. In its eighth year having raised more than $80,000 for autism, CAM’s Ride, too, is a blessing. As a sister I will never know autism in the way you as a parent of an autistic child know it, but I will always take the walk with you, go along for the ride, and embrace the unforgettable and special moments. CAM’s Ride 2014 with my sister: pausing a moment to breathe it all in.
There is a joy that comes from hearing the thunder of a hundred motorcycles humming down the road. There is a freedom that accompanies the wind whipping around my body, through my hair and across my face. To smell the grass and the trees and the fresh light rain. To feel the curvature of the earth. To be beside my sister. The camaraderie, the sense of being a part of something bigger . . . for community . . . for hope, love and support. There’s something to be said for the people who rally and rev up to raise awareness about and funds for autism during the annual CAM’s Ride. Mostly it’s thanks for being a part of something wonderfully memorable and to some, life-changing.
What I love most is what my sister Amber had to say regarding what she enjoyed about CAM’s Ride: “You are reminded that you are not alone. The power of community, family and friends can help you overcome and conquer anything just like the love and support we offer our children with autism. ANYTHING is possible.”
A special thanks to Brenda Karpen of Halfbreed Custom Motorcycles and Sadie Llama Designs for all the hard work in coordinating and putting together a magnificent ride, Dawn Brasch and her son Jake for working hard to share AuSM with others and starting my CAM’s Ride experience with a warm welcome, and, Cody for being an excellent driver and taking me on as a passenger moments after he met me.
For more information about CAM’s Ride please visit and like The Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) and CAM’s Ride Facebook pages. Information may also be found online at camsride.com and The Autism Society of Minnesota.