Editor’s Note: This post first ran in the New Mobility Magazine Online Blog. Photo by Darren Miller
God help me, I just opened my first GoFundMe account to raise $5,000 for a gleaming new black state-of-the-art Invacare Top End Force RX racing handcycle with disk brakes, high pressure clincher tires, and SRAM components offering 30 gears and a hollow pin chain.
But I’m an aging minister and I know the value of repentance, so let me assert here, publicly, that I’m sorry I did it. I promise I’ll never ever do anything like this again. Forgive me. GoFundMe accounts are for children with terminal illnesses and the families of firefighters who have lost their lives. My appeal is an embarrassment.
Now, with that off my chest, perhaps I can sleep better.
Please ignore my GoFundMe request. It’s a pathetic grasp at a youthfulness that has long since slipped through my fingers. I’ve really debased myself this time. My dream is to get the latest racing equipment so that I can compete with the big dogs. I’ve been in a wheelchair for twenty years since I was hit by a car while bicycling, and my old reliable handcycle bit the dust last summer when it cracked in two during a triathlon and dumped me on the pavement at 17 mph.
But don’t feel sorry for me. I’m approaching 64 years of age. Why do I need the latest racing cycle? What do I have left to prove? It will only be humiliating when I still can’t keep up with the younger, stronger, faster riders. It’s just a fantasy, and I’m not deserving of your charitable intentions.
But wouldn’t it be great if, just once, an old crippled fart like myself could win a race against (or at least finish within hailing distance of) the young studs – the disabled Navy Seals and Army Rangers and professional athletes who are showing up at all the races these days?
It is the height of immaturity for me to point out that I am a serious contender. I won the U.S. Paralympics swimming trials in 2012 in my breast stroke classification. I’ve competed in many triathlons, including an ironman length in 2011. And I’ve placed among the top wheeled finishers in several major marathons. My grown children just laugh at me for tooting my own horn. I’m an over-the-hill minister, for God’s sake. Why don’t I act like it? Well, at least I’m honest. I tell you truthfully I’m not worthy of your pity.
It’s not like I’m poor, either. I don’t need your help. I’m set for retirement – which I should be enjoying in my rocking chair, not pursuing racing triumphs – and probably won’t live very much longer anyway, what with my risky lifestyle, so as long as my wife doesn’t find out, I could always dip into my pension to pay for this utterly superfluous piece of equipment.
My wife thinks I’m an old fool, and she’s right. I’ll probably only get run over by a car again. Or tear my rotator cuff like I did two years ago. Or shoot my eye out. I’m shameless to even ask. I’d be so embarrassed if anyone takes this seriously.
Even if you contribute, which I don’t recommend, you won’t get anything for your trouble. You can’t deduct it. I’m not a non-profit. You’ll only be dragging yourself down to my level. You’re falling for a transparent scam. Might as well send you money to the widow of a Nigerian businessman. You can’t say I didn’t warn you.
The only noble thing about this whole project is that if I raise more than the $5,000 I’m seeking, I’ll donate the surplus to the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which distributes adaptive sporting equipment to legitimately deserving people with disabilities. Unlike myself. If I had any honor whatsoever I’d donate the whole stash to the CAF.
So please ignore my GoFundMe request. I’m sorry you had to read this.