The best story of the day

Martin McNally, after the 30-mile ride

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

I spent a lot of time on Monday at Pedal The Park talking to folks who had come out to support our organization (an enormous “thank you” to all of y’all, by the way).  There were some great stories out there and I met some inspiring people.  Such as:

The mayor of Huntersville, Jill Swain, stopped by for a tour of Levine & Dickson Hospice House and to see what Pedal The Park was all about.  Believe me, she’s awesomely dynamic.  David Kirkpatrick, prostate cancer survivor, came out to ride 30 miles before heading to England to spend time at the renovated cottage (it used to be a jail and police station!) that he and his wife now own.  An inspiring man if I ever met one.  Robert Wydra and his family participated in the fun ride in support of Robert’s dad who passed away at LDHH in June.  A dedicated and wonderful family.  And Michael Levine, a lawyer at Mills Levine in Mooresville (and one of our generous sponsors), rode the 30 mile loop with his son on a tandem bicycle.  They made quite the pair!

But there was one story that stood out.  And that was Martin’s story.

When Martin McNally pulled up to LDHH on Monday, he got an eerie feeling.  He’s from Lancaster, SC so he’s not completely familiar with the Huntersville area.  But he had a suspicion that this might be the place where his brother’s sister-in-law (I know it’s confusing, but stay with me here) spent her last days.  A call to his brother quickly confirmed that his suspicion was correct. 

Elizabeth Varol Lee lost her battle to pancreatic cancer at Levine & Dickson Hospice House one year ago this week.  The room that she stayed in, number 16, has been dedicated to her memory.  Martin was overwhelmed to realize that the ride he had casually signed up for was taking place in a location that has become sacred to his family. 

Turns out, Martin has a big family.  A really big, close-knit family.  He’s one of 9 siblings (two sets of twins!) and you can imagine how big it gets when you factor in all the marriages and grandchildren.  But, according to Martin, every in-law that marries into the family is cherished from the minute they say “I do”.  And the extended family relationships they build with each other are as strong as any of the ones they have with their “blood” relatives.

So even though Elizabeth (or Liz as they called her) was his brother’s sister-in-law, Martin knew her and loved her.  And he couldn’t stop the tears when he talked about her and how proud she would have been to see him at Pedal The Park, supporting the mission of the organization that cared for her, with infinite love and respect, during her final days. 

Martin truly rode in Liz’s memory on Monday.  She’s been on his mind anyway, given that we’re approaching the anniversary of her passing.  But it was a much more emotional ride than he had anticipated.  And definitely more meaningful. 

Life has a funny way of putting us where we need to be, at the time when we need to be there.  I call it divine intervention; you might call it something else.  But all I know is that Martin was meant to ride Pedal The Park this year.  He thinks so too.  And he’s determined to get his entire family signed up for the ride next year.

Having served more than 1,500 patients, Levine & Dickson Hospice House has many untold stories.  But a chance encounter with a rider sitting by himself, eating his lunch, brought this one to life.  Divine intervention?  Oh, I think so.

Special thanks to Cricket Weston for approaching Martin in the first place and finding out that he had a story to tell!

Explore posts in the same categories: advocacy, awareness, cycling, end of life, hospice, Levine & Dickson Hospice House, Pedal The Park, special events

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2 Comments on “The best story of the day”

  1. Dave Molinaro Says:

    You tell the story so, so well.

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