Friday, October 29, 2010

Beyond the 11th Bike Ride

September 11 I was a volunteer at the Bike Ride for Beyond the 11th. I will never forget where I was on the morning of September 11 2001 and how the day progressed with the tragedies that took place in New York, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon. Our country was paralyzed by the events that took place and we were all changed forever. In August I was in my car driving to work when I heard an interview on Kiss 108 with one of the founders of Beyond the 1th. I was so intrigued and immediately sent an e-mail when I was able to get to it to be a part of the event in whatever way I could.
Beyond the 11th is an organization that was founded by Patti Quigley and Susan Retik. Both women lost their husbands in the September 11 attacks, and they were both pregnant during this time and had to move on with the rest of their lives and their families without their husbands. What started out the biggest loss of their lives has turned into helping women across the world who have experienced a similar loss to them. They collaborated in 2003 to start Beyond the 11th to help the widows of Afghanistan. In 2006 both women travelled to Afghanistan to meet with these women and their journey was filmed for the documentary Beyond Belief. They continue to raise awareness and funds through this incredible organization built on strength and honor. The funds raised go toward educating these women to be able to generate their own income and to provide for themselves and their families. Recently Susan was awarded the Citizens Medal by President Obama for commitment to empowering women touched by personal tragedy.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Susan and her family and was so touched by all the support form friends, volunteers, and organizations that support this cause. In the morning I came to help with setup and registration. I had the opportunity to listen to Susan welcome the riders and talk about what this day means to her in the memory of her husband David. She shared the time speaking with her current husband and children. Susan, her husband, her son, and the rest of the bikers were off on a 36 mile bike ride. Susan's mother-in-law was talking with me and asking me how I got involved. She asked if I could come back with my little girl as she loved children. I did go home and came back with my husband and daughter, and we felt so welcomed by a group of people we had never met prior to this day. The bikers came in one by one, and everyone cheered them on as each pulled up to the house again. We also had the opportunity to speak with some exchange students here from Afghanistan and learned about their culture and families and how they were finding their time her in the United States. It was an amazing oppoerunity and I am so excited to further get involved with Beyond the 11th.

To learn more about this incredible organization and how you can be a part of it or how to purchase a DVD of Beyond Belief, please visit:

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