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Last September, my daughter, Molly, told me that she hoped I would organize Beyond the Bike this coming September to mark the 15th anniversary of 9/11 – so that she can participate.

“WHAT?! You want to ride 270 miles over 3 days? You’re only 16 years old!"

Of course I said yes.

I love the idea of sharing this experience with Molly. Since her dad died when she was two years old, and Beyond the 11th was born when she was only four, Molly has basically grown up with Beyond the 11th. She was only 7 years old when Patti and I traveled to Afghanistan - too young to truly understand why it was so important to us to visit. So Molly is now 16 years old, asking the big questions, wanting to know more about what we do and asking to be a part of Beyond the 11th. This makes me gush with pride.

What I hope that Molly gets out of Beyond the Bike:

1) A better understanding of how impactful Beyond the 11th has been. Since inception we have made over $800,000 in grants to programs that have truly changed the lives of over 2,000 widows and their families. A great example of impact can be seen in our most recent grant of $50,000 which went toward the building of the Razia Jan Institute, the very first women’s technical college in rural Afghanistan. Some of the young women who will graduate from the first class are daughters of widows. With the education they receive, they will have their best chance of lifting their families out of poverty and of changing the reality of what it means to be an Afghan woman.

2) I hope she walks away with a better idea of how important it is to DO SOMETHING. People have often asked me why bother? Clearly we are not able to help all of the 1 million widows currently living in Afghanistan. But there is always something that can be done and something is always better than nothing!

3) I wish for Molly to experience the camaraderie of the group - the cyclists, the support team and the volunteers that make this ride unlike any other. I hope that at the end of the ride, Molly appreciates the feeling of being a part of something so small in the scheme of things but also so much bigger than ourselves. This is a life lesson that can only be taught through experiencing it.

Molly and I are also joining with Donald to create Team Retik-Ger. We hope to raise $15,000 between the three of us. Any amount that you give will truly make an impact. After years of doing this work, the need is still so great.

Thank you for being a part of our team!


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