Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Remarkable Woman

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can. -- John Wesley, "Letters of John Wesley

Meet Gracie Sorbello. Barefoot and on a unicycle, she rode just under 4,000 miles, from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, to Long Beach, Washington. In the summer of 2006, she cycled through blistering heat and torrential rain. She pushed past pain and exhaustion, raising awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). You see, her uncle has a plasma cell cancer: Multiple Myeloma.
Sponsored by Coker Tire Co. (the company that makes the big-wheeled unicycle she rode), Gracie used the trip to raise almost $12,000 for LLS. The money has been used by LLS to help fund research and medical treatments to improve the lives of people battling blood cancers.
Of her journey, Gracie says, “Doing it for a worthwhile cause definitely helped me get through countless miserable times of pain and cantankerousness on my trip - I knew that I had a bigger reason to keep going, and even if I was in pain at times, I was riding in honor of those who experienced far worse pain on a daily basis.”
“The number of people who are affected by cancer, directly or indirectly, continues to grow and makes me so glad that I was able to do something to help the situation and give people hope. I feel blessed to have been able to do that trip.”
“I rode alone for the first couple of weeks through North Carolina, then my mom rode alongside me on a bicycle from Asheville, NC, to Memphis, TN. A good friend of mine rode a bike with me from Memphis to Pueblo, CO, then my dad took over for the last leg of the trip from Pueblo to the Pacific Ocean.”
Now you can learn more about this remarkable woman, her journey and find out how you can help her raise funds for the organization which is helping to find medical miracles by logging on to her website at
Thank you to photographer Ilana Panich-Linsman, whose sharing the photograph of Gracie running through the rain provided the opportunity to share this story. The remainders of the photographs in this entry are from Gracie’s personal file.


R. said...

Grace is indeed a remarkable woman. She is one who takes to heart the edict "carpe diem." It was fun reading your post.

Grace's Uncle Richard and Aunt Robin

Lydia said...

Thank you for writing in. This story was a joy and honor to write. Her giving spirit fills me with awe and cures my cynicism. Prayers be with you and yours.

Loving Annie said...

That was a lovely thing that she did.

Lydia said...

Yes, it was. The photographer of the shot in the rain (Ilana) was on a cross country fundraiser by bike herself. Her purpose was to raise funds for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. All funds in excess of the actual cost were donated through Direct Relief International- a marvelous organization headquartered in Santa Barbara- which is a model of how a non-profit organization should be run. When I asked permission to use the photograph- that is how I learned of Gracie's marvelous story. Which just goes to show- good work lives on long past the deed.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What an amazing story of an anmazing woman. A very dear friend of mine has Mulitiple Myeloma. She just had some Stem Cell Therapy that everyone hopes will work the miracle she needs.
It amazes me that there are people so against Stem Cell Research in this country when the results have helped so very many people. And further research is so needed for so very maby diseases that are no considered incurable.
Good For Grace, that she took this incredible trip to raise awareness! She is a remarkable individual. Thank you for posting about this!

Lydia said...

I hope your friend gets her medical miracle. I have had three friends in my lifetime in similar situation who recovered and did quite well for many years afterwards.
I believe that much of disagreement about stem cell research is disolving as clarification has been achieved.
As I understand it, there are 3 types of stem cells. Adult, cord and embryonic. The adult and cord stem cell research has been most promising with the least serious side effects. With those two lines, the ethical questions are not prevalent. By channeling funding to where it is most promising- it enhances the chance of success and away from controversy at the same time. Best