By Dana Bean
My very best AngelRide memory did not happen on the bike, or at a rest stop, or a finish line. It happened at about 8:30 PM on Saturday night May 26th 2012 at camp, when a man stood up.
A digression is in order.
From 2009 to 2011 (and for some years previously), AngelRide had an official photographer. Ed Dean could be seen everywhere at AngelRide. He would be hard to miss, actually. Tall and lanky, festooned with cameras, generally in a t-shirt, shorts and sandals – snapping photos of virtually every rider, hanging out the passenger side of his Mini, making sure everyone – riders and volunteers alike, was captured in action. He worked tirelessly to document every happy second of Saturday and Sunday.
About a month before AngelRide 2012, Ed has a terrible mountain bike accident. Lynn sent a flash e-mail to the entire AngelRide community. One of our family members was down. Initially, it seemed that Ed might be completely paralyzed. We were very sad and very concerned, the AngelRide family mobilized.
When AngelRide started on Saturday, it just didn’t quite seem the same. There was a small platoon of volunteer photog’s snapping away, but there was no Mini with Ed’s lanky frame hanging out the window, coaxing everyone to smile as they plugged up the hills. Ed was sorely missed.
At the camp theatre that evening, we had our usual wonderful presentation, with laughs and stories, and a slide show of the photos from the day. The pictures were very good, but we all missed Ed. Then as we were winding up the night, a new slide and video show came up on the screen. It was Ed! Ed, lying in a hospital bed, Ed surrounded by AngelRiders and by HOP specialists, showing the thumbs up. Ed, in a short video clip from a physical therapy session, another clip of Ed (standing!) and then walking – with assistance and support between parallel bars. Then. . . I get chills. . . a live feed from the Rehab Hospital. Ed, seated in a wheelchair and waving, smiling and talking. He told us how the support from the AngelRide and HOP community had helped him, and how much it meant to him. Then he had a surprise for us. The camera pulled back, and Ed stood up from the wheelchair ON HIS OWN! He gave us a thumbs-up, and PANDEMONIUM erupted in the camp theatre. My legs were sore as hell – up until that moment – when I and every person there leapt from chairs, fists pumping as we cheered, hooted and “YES’d!” at the top of our lungs, as tears welled up in virtually every eye. As we filed out of the theatre to head for our beds, we couldn’t stop smiling.
That is the best AngelRide moment I can think of. When our community erupted with joy because a man stood up.