The Hardin Family
This past spring, I participated in the Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port, and it was an amazing experience for me and my family. My 7-year-old daughter, Hadley, has Down Syndrome. The Best Buddies organization is something I have always looked forward to having her be a part of, and the Challenge seemed like a great way for me to get involved in the organization. I attended an info session with the intention of doing the 5K, since I had never been on a road bike. However, the Challenge staff worked their magic, and before I knew it, I was enthusiastically signing up for the 100-mile bike ride!
Every day, I watch Hadley try new things that are challenging, scary, or unfamiliar, and that motivated me to challenge myself with something out of my comfort zone—like riding a road bike 100 miles.
Every day, I watch Hadley try new things that are challenging, scary, or unfamiliar, and that motivated me to challenge myself with something out of my comfort zone—like riding a road bike 100 miles. I gained confidence on the bike at the staff-led training rides, despite the occasional cuts, scrapes, bruises and coming home sore. During each ride and after each fall, I kept reminding myself how hard Hadley works every day just to be a regular kid. Of course, coming home to the support of my amazing husband and four children (ages 1, 3, 5, and 7) and feeling their excitement and encouragement upon hearing how far I had biked helped me keep up motivation.
Finally, event day rolled around, and the ride was amazing! The route was well-marked, well-staffed, stocked with many rest stops and reminders along the way of why we were all doing this ride—the Buddies. The incredible feeling of crossing the finish line with all four of my kids and my husband cheering me on and having a medal placed around my neck by a Buddy was the perfect ending to the journey. Completing the ride put a huge smile on my face for weeks after the finish!
After taking on a challenge of this magnitude, I never imagined I’d be back for more, but after a few short weeks of rest, I could not wait for the training to begin for 2017! This event has not only meant so much to me but also to my family. The outpouring of support from friends and family has been incredible and humbling. The icing on the cake is Hadley started riding her bike this summer, and after a lap around the track said, “I just rode 100 miles like the Best Buddies!”
The icing on the cake is Hadley started riding her bike this summer, and after a lap around the track said, “I just rode 100 miles like the Best Buddies!”
Words cannot describe how thankful I am for what the Best Buddies Challenge has done for me and my family.Please join us this year for another incredible experience. We are so thankful to all of you that are involved and help make this event happen each year!
Kim Hardin & the Hardin Family