Kind Profile: Shelley M.

Kind Profiles
The Story of Those Who Ride and Support

Our Kind Bikes team has been lucky to have met so many amazing individuals who are truly champions for their causes. These individuals – event volunteers, ride participants, charity advocates, and cycling enthusiasts – dedicate their time and energy to making positive impacts for the causes they care so much about. To honor them, we have created “Kind Profiles: The Story of Those Who Ride and Support,” short narratives highlighting those who have made a lasting impact for their cause.

Kind Profile: Shelley M.

They say that first impressions are the most lasting. And with Shelley M. that definitely is the truth! From the moment we received her Kind Bikes rental application, we knew that she was truly passionate about Camp Twin Lakes and supporting the cause. After meeting her in person at Spin For Kids, we quickly realized that describing her as passionate didn’t do her justice. In fact, Shelley is a the embodiment of a true champion for the cause! And with that said, it is our pleasure to share with you the personal testimony of Shelley M.

Kind Bikes rider, kind profile
Shelley about to take off from the start line at Spin for Kids on October 16, 2016. 

25,000 people, 5 summers, 1 fellowship, 3 conferences, 3 rooms on the porch, 2 duplexes, 101 weeks of camp, 10,000 swim checks, a million churros, 3 pairs of Chacos, 55 cabins, 8 one-price swim suits, … and 1 changed life

Camp Twin Lakes (CTL) works with over 60 different organizations to provide places and paths for children with serious illnesses or other life challenges to experience the joys of childhood and grow in their confidence and capabilities. Their mission is to provide year-round camping experiences to bring people together and form supportive and loving communities of acceptance where differences are celebrated. I participated in this year’s Spin For Kids (Camp Twin Lake’s charity cycling event) because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of CTL campers.

During just one day at CTL, a camper could climb the rock wall for the first time, share a hidden talent at a talent show, learn about healthy eating through a fun cooking class, and make new friends who understand what it’s like to take medicine every day or spend time in the hospital. Camp gives kids an opportunity to build their confidence and capabilities without worrying about their extraordinary day to day challenges. I have spent the last five summers working as program staff and I have seen challenges truly become triumphs. I rode 15 miles for these campers, for campers like Brian and Brayden.

Brian is a 16 year old boy who battled and beat cancer. I met him during a canoe and kayak session three years ago. Brian was quiet and didn’t talk very often. However, the first words I heard from him were extremely loud: “Help! My kayak flipped! Help!” Within moments of being loaded into his kayak, Brian had flipped. I immediately jumped in, swam to him, and held his hands on the top of his upside-down kayak. He was wearing a life jacket, so my first priority was to calm him down before we moved back to the dock. While I was trying to calm him down, Brian said to me”My leg. I’m worried about my leg.” You may ask,”Why was he worried about his leg?” Brian was worried because prior to coming to camp,he had his leg amputated and his brand-new prosthetic, that isn’t supposed to get wet, was now in the water.

While this story seems really sad at this point, I can promise that it gets better.

Brian and I became friends after this and a few days later (after his prosthetic had been shipped to the hospital to be fixed and he had been walking around on crutches), I learned that Brian wanted to learn to swim. I had never thought about what it is like to swim with one leg, much less how to teach someone how to swim with one leg. I asked one of my campers Brayden to help, because he was a strong swimmer and also happened to have had a leg amputation. When Brayden and Brian were working together, it was like magic and something clicked. All of a sudden, Brian looked at the both of us and says,”You’re a Nemo, just like me!” And just like that Brian learned how to swim that summer at camp.

Each summer, thousands of kids come to Camp Twin Lakes and thousands of lives are changed, and one of them, was definitely mine.

Spin For Kids was awesome and the ride was beautiful! I definitely could not have done the race without the help of Kind Bikes who, so kindly, let me borrow a bike to ride. The whole process was so easy and gave me the chance to enjoy my race and focus on the real reason why I was there, the campers.

Thanks to Cat and Kind Bikes! You all rock and I will definitely be working with you all again next year.