In January, before Sarasota resident J.W. Frye left the southernmost point of Key West to bike 7,500 miles across the United States to the northernmost point of Alaska, he thought “roughing it” was when Starbucks ran out of heavy cream.
Frye had never been a bike enthusiast. But while biking the Ringling Bridge one day on a borrowed bicycle, he was inspired to make the trek to Alaska for Hospice, which looked after his mother during the last months of her life.
“I will never forget the tireless work of Hospice,” he said. “They cared not only physically for my mother as she died, they loved and nurtured an entire family back to life.”
His mother, Tara Mullin, was diagnosed with cancer in 2005.
“When she was diagnosed (with cancer), I asked how she felt, and she said, ‘J.W., I don’t know why, but this (her cancer) is going to help people,’” he said. “I just had no idea what to do with that.’”
Six years later, it hit him.
Frye decided he could pay it forward with a cross-continental grassroots movement he called, “One Bike One Cause,” a solo bike ride to raise money for Hospice. In total, he raised $40,000.
His journey led him into the woods, where he spent the days wet and miserable and lonelier than he ever remembered. But, he found that no matter what the situation, help and compassion were readily available from the people he met.
“This trip taught me that there was a world outside my world view,” he said. “The second I got back (from my trip), I thought, ‘I should have dreamed bigger.’”
IF YOU GO
What: Sarasota Celebrates Volunteers is a community event showcasing non-profits
When: 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, at Payne Park Auditorium, 2100 E. Laurel St.
Info: Call 330-4838 or visit onebikeonecause.org