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In October 2019, I decided it was the right time to "retire" from the Tenderness Tour as a long-distance wheeling event. To mark my 30 years and over 6,000 miles on the road, I finished up with one final event in downtown Indianapolis on Monument Circle by doing one lap around Monument Circle for each child who'd died as a result of violence in Indiana in my 30 years of the Tenderness Tour.
It took me three days - two of them done without stopping (probably not my smartest idea).
Six weeks after this final event, my life completely changed. I was hospitalized in late 2019 due to dehydration and would leave the hospital ten days later having experienced an upper left leg amputation. I spent the next 3+ months at home recovering, relearning even the most basic ADLs, and fighting my way back to work where I returned in early March 2020.
I've made the commitment that I will never do another long-distance wheeling event (barring the chance to do a cross-country - I'd do that in a heartbeat if I could work out the logistics). It's simply too challenging and there are more effective ways to make a difference.
Here's the thing. I love the Tenderness Tour. It's in my DNA. It's a huge part of my healing journey. It's a huge part of why I've out-lived my life expectancy. Over the past two years, we've all experienced a global pandemic. I've also experienced the deaths of a best friend, my brother, and my mother over the 1-2 years.
I've always believed the Tenderness Tour to be a calling and I've always believed it to be a mission far beyond an "event."
When I learned that one of my roadies, and a co-worker, had joined the board of an Elwood, Indiana youth center I became curious. I then began to learn the story behind this journey - some of which I knew and some of which I did not. The Catalyst Youth Center in Elwood, Indiana was a vision of Ben and Amanda Capshaw. Ben was serving as pastor of Elwood Central Wesleyan Church and he and Amanda believed they were called to start this center to serve Elwood's youth. Sadly, in August 2021 Ben passed away in a tragic accident. Amanda has remained steadfast in faithfully pursuing this vision supported by friends, congregants, and community members.
I knew that I needed to do something beyond just writing a check. I knew I needed to do a Tenderness Tour in honor of Sondra, the roadie who showed up at 2am on Monument Circle while I was wheeling with a smile on her face and a warm car, and the Capshaw family, whose love for the youth of Elwood is blossoming through the Catalyst Youth Center.
So, here I come Elwood!
From May 12-15, 2022, I will “wheel” from Indianapolis to Elwood, Indiana to support the life-changing work of The Catalyst Youth Center.
While I'm wheeling slower these days, I'll patiently make my way from Indianapolis to Elwood (just over 50 miles) and stop along the way to speak, pray, have conversations, and do anything I can to support the children and youth along my path. 100% of the proceeds raised from this Tenderness Tour, my first since my upper leg amputation, will benefit The Catalyst Youth Center.
Opportunities for volunteering and sponsorship exist. Want to sponsor a night in a hotel/motel on my route? Want to sponsor a meal? Want to be a roadie and spend one of the days with me? I'd also really like to find clinical support (nurse, OT, PT) to make sure I stay healthy and am regularly checked.
Of course, I need your support and donations to succeed.
Help me make a difference for Elwood's youth by supporting the Catalyst Youth Center. Donations go directly to Catalyst (I don't receive the donations - they are, quite literally, directly distributed to Catalyst).