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Brenda Pamperin

It’s not about getting from point A to point B; it’s about the journey along the way. That has always been my biking philosophy as well as my motto for life!

I remember, on my 10th birthday, my parents asked me what I wanted to do that day. Out of nowhere, I said to them that I wanted to bike to grandma’s house. So, off we went. My Dad and I biked 10 miles over the hills and through the countryside to visit grandma. I was exhausted, but that jump started my passion for bicycling.

This passion has led me to bicycle through 26 states and tour Italy! My cycling ‘resume’ includes state ride and Century rides (100 miles in a day), including a Double-Metric Century Ride with a 13,000-foot elevation. I have also done several self-supported rides, which included cycling through the Outer Banks of North Carolina, circling the Puget Sound in Washington State and taking a novice rider up and down the Florida Keys. But my proudest accomplishment was a self-supported, 1,438-mile ride from Virginia to Wisconsin.

Back in 2003, I became a firefighter. I still joke that it was bicycling that has prepared me for this career given the emphasis on the level of performance you have to bring to the job plus carrying heavy equipment, protective gear, and training constantly.

I have also been competing in marathons, triathlons and completed an Ironman. In June, I am competing in the World Police and Fire Games.

It has always been my intention to ride cross country. In the process of planning my own ride, I came upon the story of Ride to Awareness. As I read more, I just knew I wanted to join this team. Years ago, my aunt committed suicide. She was a loving and kind woman, wife, mother, sister, aunt and friend, but she, like so many, lost her battle with depression and took her own life. Her memory lives on in our family, but she is so deeply missed.

So I want to ride in her honor! I want people to know that there are resources that can help individuals and their families who are affected by mental illness. These include the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Mental Health America, this ride’s beneficiaries.

My goal is to see that this ride brings awareness to mental illness and I hope people will be inspired to give generously to support this cause.

To donate, visit www.RidetoAwareness.org.

3,000 Miles of Adventure Cycling across the Southern Tier of the USA to benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)