Why I chose to ride for Hoagy's Heroes, Inc.
Story by: Gwen "Shoganai" Jorden

I would like to share my story about why I chose to ride for Hoagy's Heroes.
It started out as a vague feeling that gnawed at my comfort zone.
There was something missing. Something hard to define yet yearned to be expressed.
Motorcycling is a beautifully balanced dichotomy. It harmonizes the selfishly protected private helmet-time and the deep bonds of shared fellowship, unique among sports. I was looking for something positive in motorcycling. Beyond some new road, or horizon, or toy for the bike. My heart was seeking something perhaps less selfish.

I needed to give something back and I wanted to use riding to do it if I could.
There were so many facets to this ride; I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the force that called me.
As a nurse, my life and profession has made me witness so much joy and heartache that I have found myself believing that life is the classroom and compassion is the lesson.
And what is compassion? Compassion is a sympathetic awareness of another's distress combined with a desire to alleviate it.
And if I could do what I said I would do and if doing that in some small way brought a smile to a suffering parent or dying child, then I thought I might find what I was looking for. Even though, if you asked me, I'm not sure I could name it.
The ride was about doing something that would help others. However, I do not believe there is any such thing as pure altruism. So for me, I sought some happiness, some joy, some, dare I say it, some self-satisfaction. I never realized it would be the genesis of so much giving and how much I would be on the receiving end. What I found was unexpected and beyond price.
I think Billy Joel said it best and the song haunts me more than I can express.

"I know I'm searching for something
Something so undefined
That it can only be seen
By the eyes of the blind
In the middle of the night"

Riding for Hoagy's Heroes helped me find many things. And I also lost some things as well. My ride also found its way into the hearts of riders and their compassion lifted me from the ashes and gave deeply of their time and money.
We are all heroes to someone, as some are our heroes.
Become a hero for one of Hoagy's kids.
You may find something out there you never knew you were looking for.

Ride with joy,