I first heard about the Trek Across Maine from my sister Wendy, who was fundraising and riding with the L.L. Bean team. Wendy was very enthusiastic about the event and talked about not only how much she enjoyed riding but what a great cause she thought it was. Her enthusiasm and encouragement led her sons and our extended family to get involved.

In 2019, my wife Diane and my brother's wife Jess were riders on the L.L. Bean team with Wendy. Then in 2020, I decided to join the Trek as a rider. Unfortunately, COVID-19 changed these plans, and we rode virtually, but I looked forward to taking part in the full live Trek Across Maine event with all the other riders and activities.

Late in 2020, Wendy called me and said she was feeling short of breath and decided to have it checked out. My immediate thought was that she had contracted COVID. But after a number of tests and doctor consultations, she learned it was stage 4 lung cancer. We were all shocked. Wendy had no known risk factors and no symptoms. She was active and lived a very healthy lifestyle while raising her family in Georgetown, Maine.

Wendy was fortunate to have an excellent team of doctors that she trusted, and they put together a plan to treat the very aggressive cancer that had spread from her lungs to other areas of her body, including tumors in her brain. The extraordinary support of her close family was so important, especially the love and care she received from her husband and sons. Wendy's attitude was tremendous given the circumstances. She continued to work at L.L. Bean and do the activities most important to her. These included gardening, taking care of her chickens, sailing and riding her cycling trainer on her porch. She even thought she might be able to ride the Trek Across Maine again.

Despite the remarkable efforts by the medical team and Wendy, things took a turn for the worse in late 2021. Wendy passed away in January of this year. As we mourned for Wendy's passing, and celebrated Wendy's life, I knew I would ride the Trek this year in her honor. Knowing how important the Trek was to Wendy, several other family members decided that they would also participate. She would be with us all at the Trek in spirit. Jess, Diane and I decided to once again ride on the L.L. Bean team. My brothers Jon and James, and Jon's son Ethan and daughter Verena joined us, making this their first Trek. They were there to make a difference, and we all thought of Wendy as we rode.

I can say this about taking part in this year's Trek: There is no place I would have rather been, and nothing I would have rather been doing. This is a great cause with so many wonderful people. I met lots of them and learned more about the American Lung Association efforts throughout the three-day ride, all supporting the work to protect our lungs and find cures for diseases like the one that took Wendy from us. I was so impressed by the kind and dedicated volunteers during the Trek weekend. In my view, they are what really made the Trek extra special. The ride was well organized, and I loved riding the back roads in Maine, especially the hills and amazing views. And I know that Wendy was smiling as she watched us Trek.

I am signed up for the 2023 Trek because I see the work being done by the American Lung Association, and I see the dedication of everyone involved with the Trek. I can’t think of a more fitting way to continue to honor my sister’s memory.

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