Today was our first service day! We got to wake up relatively late since we had no bags or vans to pack. We also didn’t have to clean so currently there’s stuff everywhere. It’s a mess.

We went to Atlanta’s Hope Lodge to volunteer our time and help with whatever we could. For those who don’t know, the American Cancer Society sponsors about 30  hope lodges across the Untied States. These are meant to be a “home away from home” for cancer patients who live far away from their treatment centers. Hope lodges are located near top cancer treatment centers and the patients don’t pay a dime to stay. Why not? Because of you! If you’ve ever participated in Relay For Life or any other American Cancer Society event, you’ve helped to fund a hope lodge! It’s a wonderful place where patients can come together and fight their battles against cancer together. They never have to feel alone and there are often volunteers (like us!) that they can interact with as well.

Today we did a lot of spring cleaning and organizing which saved the hope lodge over $3000 in man hours! I think we surprised them with how well we work because once we finished our list of things to do, they gave us another one! But before we could start the second list, we had to give out a scholarship!

We were on a time crunch because the recipient was working in her cancer research lab today at Emory university. She is currently an undergraduate student there. We all drove there and presented her with her award:

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It’s hard to read, but the banner says “You Inspire Us!”. We took a few pictures and it was back to the hope lodge!

We worked for a while longer and my group got the best job! We were asked to perform quality control on the pillows:

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I think we aced it! We got really up close and personal with all of the pillows and I was really proud of our attention to detail in each of our pillow inspections.

In all seriousness though, we unboxed a bunch of linens, put them on the shelves and took inventory. After a long day we may or may not have hid in the linen storage room for a bit to take naps…

After that we got to interact with some of the patients who were returning from their treatments! We played games, did puzzles, and just talked to them. It was a really rewarding experience and I hope that we made a difference in their day.

We returned to our host and Jeremy, Lisa, and I built Lisa’s bike. It was still dismantled and boxed up from her flight yesterday. With that finished, I took a nap until dinner. Yup. More naps! For dinner, we ate homemade lasagna! Probably the best lasagna we’ve had on the ride. Midway through the meal, out host announced that the kids in their vacation Bible study group had made us all cards! My favorite was this one:

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It reads, “you are true Americans”. Classic. Thanks little kid, and watch out for those confederates! I only wish we could attach those rockets to our bikes! Then we would be REAL patriots.

After dinner, the night was still young so some of the riders went to the Braves game, and others (including me) went to a bar to watch USA beat Ghana in the world cup! I’m not a huge fan of soccer but I had a good time. Stephen told us an absolutely inspiring story of how a girl on the 4k once threw a cheeseburger out the van window at a rider who voiced his doubts on her abilities to get lunch donations. Hah! Take that! (She missed.)

Tomorrow we get to ride again! I’m not sure exactly where we’re going, but I heard it’s a relatively short day. I think someone said it’s about 48 miles and that we will still be in Georgia. It should be pretty decent for our first day back after three days of rest. I can’t wait!

I’m hoping people are still reading my posts because I really have no way of knowing besides your comments! Keep them coming!

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