Story contributed by Luis Vieira, a long-time Ride for Sight supporter and High Miler.(Third from left), with Chair of the Northern Ontario planning committee Dave Ostrowski Gallant (far left), Sandra Vieira (Luis’s wife) and Committee Co-chair, Greg Simpson (right).
In 2002 I was asked by a group of friends if I would like to do a ride to Collingwood, Ontario. I had no idea what to expect or what the ride was all about but as a fairly new rider, I thought it would be an amazing experience. We rode to the International Centre and I was blown away by the amount of motorcycles in the parking lot.
“START YOUR ENGINES!” and I was hooked.
Away we went to Collingwood in a massive group. People were lined up on the side of the road holding signs that read “Thank you.” People were honking their horns and waving as we all went by and we had a police escort all the way which made for an exhilarating experience. My wife and small children, at the time, surprised me by showing up on the side of the road cheering me on my way. I was overwhelmed.
We spent the weekend watching amazingly talented bands play and having a great time meeting some awesome people. When I got home I called my buddy to better understand what the event was about. “Ride for Sight” he told me and I said to myself what a great cause……THE GIFT OF SIGHT.
I started doing this ride in 2002 and have only missed it twice since then.
While I’m not directly touched by retinal disease, I have a few friends with family members living with vision loss and their stories inspire and motivate me daily.
I don’t strive to be a High Miler, but the people that I have met and the stories that they’ve told, drive me to support the cause. I have introduced this event to many of my friends and after their first Ride for Sight they have all the encouragement they need to keep coming back.
My belief in Ride for Sight and the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) means I am always trying to find ways to offer my support. So, on special occasions, like birthdays, etc, I ask my friends and family to donate to FFB instead of giving me gifts. I have all that I need and their support can go so much further to advance vision research and restore hope and sight.
I couldn’t imagine losing my vision and knowing that I can play a role, even a small one, in giving someone else the gift of sight, is priceless and makes it all worth it to me.
Ride for Sight is a one-of-a-kind event. There is no other like it. Try it once and you’ll be hooked for life. Thank you to everyone who has not only donated to the cause, but also to the people that help make it all possible. Register for Ride for Sight now, you won’t regret it! I’ll be at the Northern Ontario Ride this year in Sault Ste. Marie, ON (July 8-10) and I hope to see some of you there and to read your amazing stories from the other Rides across the country.