The feat of cycling from the Black Forest to the Black Sea is just one of the many triumphs that we experienced on our journey. We never ceased to remember that we rode in memoriam and honor of Janice Saalfeld, my mom, and that we sought to fundraise $3,000 for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation to contribute to easing the life of others living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Our outstanding and amazing families, friends and even some people we have never met made achieving our stated goal of $3,000 an absolute breeze– the kind that pushed us 180 km through Romania in less than 9 hours including breaks. We had already passed the 50% mark when I flew out of Toronto on July 21, four days before day one of Black to Black. I remember being pleasantly shocked when Tom and Woody informed me we’d surpassed $2000 as we put shoe to pedal for the first time. By the time I was first able to check our Crowdrise page, our total had broken $2,600. That was in Ulm, Germany on day three. I’d often check the webpage on my telephone if I had a wi-fi connection and read names and amounts as fast I could to Tom and Woody as the ticker of donors quickly scrolled across the tiny screen. Whichever one of us knew the donor would cheerfully yell out the relation and have a sweet sensation of knowing so-and-so had donated.
That day in Ulm was the day before our first 160 km ride, upping our previous daily klick high by 70 km. After our nightly beer gardens exploration, I read the comments people had left with their donations and we all laughed and felt inspired to push through any pain or fear that might make Black to Black impossible. Woody’s dad left a particularly funny omen: “Good luck! I think you’ll need it.” At about kilometer 70 of the next day’s ride, Tarantino’s back wheel was discombobulated… 50 meters from that glorious cycling shop. Good luck if we ever had it!
As the donations kept coming in, Woody wanted me to make sure everyone knew we weren’t riding back up the Danube if we hit $6,000. I believe it was Jackie’s donation that pushed us over $3,000. That felt fitting to me because Jackie is one of my mom’s very best friends and was with Mom every step of the way (even from far away) as she learned about her sickness and fought it for over two years.
As our funds rose higher and higher over our goal, I believe we all felt obliged to finish Black to Black because we were riding for something much more significant than just fun (though we never ceased to have fun– except maybe on that stretch of motorway in Ruse, Bulgaria when my spoke snapped).
At the time of writing, the total donation amount on Crowdrise sits at $3,855, or 129% of our original goal. The actual total is even higher because some people donated offline and their donation amounts are unknown. We have now learned of offline donation amounts and have surpassed $4,000. We now sit at $4,025, or 134% of our original goal. Some people may still feel inclined to contribute. If so, learn the ups and downs of the process here.
I will be contacting the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation soon to let them know that our fundraiser is over and will be sure to post any thank you we get from them here. I have no doubt the foundation, their employees and all the scientists, researchers and doctors who benefit from your donations will be grateful for your charity.
Thank you so very much to each and every person who supported us through the fundraiser. You all deserve handshakes, hugs and nods from us! I spent my last night in Europe watching a free performance by the Opera Nationala Bucaresti in a park in front of the National Opera House. I became sentimental realizing I would never get to share this amazing experience I have had over the last month with my mom. Then I grew happy knowing how many people have supported her memory. Fireworks exploded high in the sky over the opera at the end of the night. You are all like those fireworks in my opinion, garnering oohs and ahhs with shouts of joy from the crowd below made up of Tom, Woody and me along with anyone affected by pulmonary fibrosis.
Ezra Anton Greene with Tom Youngs and Jonathan ‘Woody’ Woodsmith