Ninamary Maginnis

 This will be my fourth year riding for the American Lung Association! The first was in 2003. My oldest son, Karol John ("KJ"), saw the poster at a local restaurant. He spoke of an interest. Me? I hate fundraising -- it is not a strong suit. However, KJ was under the age of 18 and needed a parent or guardian to attend in order for him to participate. We both signed up and joined the fight against lung disease. It was tough raising funds, but we really enjoyed the ride. The people who dedicate their time and effort to this endeavor are some of the nicest people we  have ever met. Having the honor of meeting the bike trekkers that year made the entire experience worthwhile.

Because I am one to avoid the fundraising, we didn't ride the next year -- or the next. However, I did promise my youngest son, Tyler, that I would ride with him when he turned 16. (We thought he was too young at 12 in 2003.) He never forgot. In 2007, Tyler turned 16. We signed up and -- much to our surprise -- had a wonderful time fundraising! We brought in more than $3,000.00 between us -- close to $4,000.00! However, Tyler broke his arm in late August 2007. He was unable to ride, but did volunteer that weekend to furnish energy snacks and beverages for us riders.

Tyler did want an opportunity to ride, so in 2008 we signed up again. Our fundraising experience was very positive. We enjoyed the ride last fall, mostly because the riders themselves are a great group of people. We all join forces each year to bring the Lung Association much needed funds to do its good works.

Although I didn't say it above, our family has been touched personally by lung disease. My Dad was a heavy smoker and just couldn't quit. Smoking killed him. My Uncle Peter walked around with an oxygen tank in his later years because he suffered emphysemia. His ailment was caused by guess what??? Smoking.

I was born and raised in Massachusetts. I now live in a tobacco state -- a state whose claim to fame is the farming of a crop that  helped harm my loved ones. What better challenge than to raise money for a worthy cause when the climate for such fundraising has to be extremely difficult!

This year, Tyler will be away at college. So, my husband Thomas agreed to ride with me this year -- on his birthday -- September 19th. The Maginnis family continues its tradition of raising money for a worthy cause while enjoying the camaradie of like-minded people who happen to be the kindest, most-giving and compassionate people we have been blessed to meet.

Let's keep on trekking!