With Gratitude

Every year when we’re done packing, and everything is on the trucks, and there’s nothing to do but have dinner, and a big sleep, and check my bike for a the hundredth time, I always get a little sappy.  I guess I’m tired, and a little worried about tomorrow (if by “worried” you understand I mean “terrified”) and I start thinking about everything that I’m about to do, and freaking out. This year, when that happens, I’ve been remembering something someone on the Steering Committee said to me a few days ago when we were all trying to get everything finished on time. They said that every time it all starts to be hard, they just imagine a client at PWA coming into the agency with a terrible problem – a problem that they don’t think is solvable by them, and heaving a huge sigh of relief as someone explains that they can help. Help them get meds, help them get food… just – help.  That’s what’s really happening here. People with AIDS getting help, when they need it, how they need it, from people who are going to treat them with dignity and respect. That’s why we’ve all done this, and that’s what your donations make possible.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. What we do – Team Knit, the training, the riding, the fundraising, the meetings… it doesn’t do anything to help without your part. You guys are our heros. So…

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This year, despite being one of the littlest teams on the Rally, our team is the top fundraising team for PWA.  (There’s another team chasing us, but for now we’re the Twisted Spinners, and we’re number one.) You guys are important. You guys are making big change.  You guys are touching all kinds of lives, and we know that you know that we love you, but I thought you might like to know that the staff at PWA loves you too.

Chris, Therapeutic Care Coordinator

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Roy, Food Programs Liaison

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Nick, Interim Holistic Engagement Coordinator and Kevin, Food Programs Coordinator

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Keith, Service Access Volunteer

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Stafford, Executive Assistant

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Richard, Director of Finance and Administration

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Suzanne, Director of Programs and Services

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Rajesh, Income and Community Liaison

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Heather, Food Program Coordinator

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Allan, who’s the Co-Chair for the ride, and actually took the time to make a sign with rhinestones on it, to show you how grateful he is…

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And, I’ve saved (what I think) is the best for last. Knitters, meet the people that make the Rally happen. Together with the Co-Chairs and the Steering Committee, these are the people who do the day to day work of getting this enormous fundraiser off the ground, and I’m pretty sure I have their phone numbers memorized.  Front: Trevor, PWA Special Events Coordinator; Riley, Bike Rally Assistant
Back: Hayden, Bike Rally Assistant; Mike, Director of Philanthropy & Communications

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It turns out that they like knitters a lot too – and one of them has a wicked set of photoshop skills.

That’s a lot of gratitude, my friends, and acknowledgement of something I’ve known for a while.  Knitters? They’re crazy, amazing and generous in a way that’s wonderfully hard to explain.  You’re makers. You make things, and this time, you’re making the world better, like you do every day.

We love you, and thank you.

(PS. Ken, Pato and I have all set our phones to ding – so feel free to cheer us on as you see fit. We leave at 9am tomorrow, and we’ll have the volume up. I’ll do my best to blog as I go, but if you don’t follow me on Instagram, and you’re interested in knowing what’s going on, now might be a good time to start. I’m sure I can manage pictures.)

PPS – Trish reminded me to add the links for our team, here you go!




100 thoughts on “With Gratitude

  1. Hi Steph. If you have a minute, add the direct links for donations to this post. To make it ever easier for folks to donate and make those phones ding!

    • I concur. Maybe I’m especially dim, or I missed the post that explained about the rally, but I don’t think I realized what cause you were working toward until today. Maybe for the relevant posts you could include a link at the bottom? Again, if it’s just me who didn’t have a clue, apologies!

  2. I will be thinking of you this week and wishing you well.
    Thank you for your dedication to making change possible.
    It is truly inspiring.

  3. It’s the wine with dinner that’s making me all teary-eyed. It has nothing to do with your post. While you ride like hell, I shall knit like hell for the homeless kids who hang out near UTexas.

    • There’s an elderly woman in my town who knits mittens all year ’round, and donates them in December to the Lions Club, to distribute. (Southern Ontario can get pretty cold in the winter). Last year she knit 120 pairs. I don’t know her name, but she, like you, makes a difference. Thank you.

      • I have worked in schools where we get donations of knitted hats and mittens. It is so lovely to see kids who are able to play in the snow, to go out for recess and be warm and safe because of someone’s love. Knitters make a difference!

  4. Hope that team chasing Team Knit realizes knitters enjoy kicking the stuffing out of injustice. My dinging fingers are ready to support you guys.

  5. Keep us posted on the would be top fund raisers. We will persevere. We are knitters. Hear us roar!
    Good luck to you all.
    And the world thanks you.

  6. You did a really good job of making me fight off my own tears. I’ve donated the last two years and I’m so happy that we knitters can make a difference! Great luck tomorrow! 😀

  7. In order to post today, I was asked to “touch the world”. I figure that you’ve already done that!
    Stay dry, be safe and ride like the wind. The blog is with you!

  8. What a beautiful post. You’ve made me teary, and I’m sure I’m not alone. As I’ve said before, ride like the wind, be safe, and thank you for allowing us to share this amazing ride. Go Team Go. (now I’m going to figure out Instagram )

  9. This is the third time this month that you have had me smiling through my tears! Have a wonderful time riding with the wind on your back and well wishers on your mind.

  10. What a wonderful bunch to have at your back! Love the rhinestones and the cool photoshop thank-you too! Have a great ride!

  11. Congratulations! So very, very proud of you and your wee team. I’m asking the Universe to grant you safe travels, excellent riding weather, perfect
    working equipment and pain free bodies 🙂

  12. I am so proud of you, Stephanie. You & all the others riding/working for PWA are amazing.

    My fingers are crossed for no rain. Can’t wait to hear all about it when you get home.

  13. And I also meant to say how very special I think this post is. It obviously took a good bit of time and effort to put that all together, but it puts a very personal face on the fund-raising efforts. I like the reminder of what this is all about. Well done (as always)! Ride like the wind!

  14. StephieDear, THANK YOU SO MUCH for putting here for us the faces of the PWA movers and shakers. So good. That shook another donation out of me, and I’ll bet I’m not the only one!!!

    And Thank You PWA humans-with-faces and thankyou signs, that was a real good move. 🙂


    And to Stephie’s team: thank you ALL, keep pedaling, keep going, keep smiling, and thanks from all of us!
    ♥ ♥ ♥
    Kelly in Oregon.

  15. Oh man, I was having a little evening knit and decided to see if you had posted anything post-trip.

    The signs at the PWA got me. Actual tears. That made it a little more real. I’m proud that this is the fourth year to support you guys…it has become a something I plan on doing as long as you continue to do it.

  16. It’s so much more encouraging to see the people who work for this organization, and to get an idea of who we are helping, than it is to see the karmic balancing gifts. The inspiration is in the faces, not the skeins. Ride like the wind!

  17. Oh how I LOVE seeing those faces. Tears and gratitude from Wisconsin. May the rain stay away, the wind blow you up the hills, and your seat feel like pillows of single-ply merino-cashmere-yak that shall never pill.

  18. Good luck with the ride! I didn’t need any gifts so didn’t email you but was glad to help with this worthy cause. Thank you for the opportunity! Safe travels.

    • If you would like, you send Steph an email and in the subject line you put “I helped” that sends it to a special folder. And her email is Stephanie AT yarnharlot DOT ca. Note the “ca” not “com” You do not need to say what you contributed.

  19. This post brought tears to my eyes! So much wonderful going on here. Sending you buns of steel and thighs that won’t quit, and no blisters anywhere mojo!
    Ride like the wind, you awesome Twisted Spinners!

    I know the generosity of the Knitters, gratitude to all!

  20. Wishing you good weather for your ride – no storms like last year. So far, though, it looks sunny and hot. Keep hydrated! Will check the site for the map to see where you guys are going each day.

  21. Have a safe and wonderful ride. And Thank You to all the people who work so hard to make this happen each year. You should be so proud (and I know you are).

  22. Trying to make a donation but it keeps telling me I am entering an invalid amount
    I am trying to donate from the UK, so working in sterling. What format do I use?

    • you might try emailing bikerally AT pwatoronto DOT org and seeing what they might suggest for you.

      • I’ve got it figured now. Brain wasn’t functioning, didn’t think to use $ instead of £ .Amazing what a good nights’ sleep does. Done now

  23. Lovely to see all the faces that help! 🙂 And the team that makes this rally possible. Could I suggest that if that other team is catching up too much to the knitterly contributions, that you might let us know? I’m sure I’m not the only one who wouldn’t want to help push “our” team over the top if need be 🙂 Happy trails, Stephanie, from a loyal member of The Blog.

  24. You probably had 50 people tell you this already but you made CTV News tonight on the story about the start of the Ride. Best of luck and enjoy.

  25. It’s 6:13 p.m. in Portland, OR, and you’re almost to 60K! And both Pato (who’s leading the two of them) and Ken are over 10K. Yay, you guys! Been thinking of you all day.

  26. WELL DONE—that was one of the BEST posts ever, and I’ve been reading for years!! So great that all of those fantastic people not only took time to thanks the Blog, but that you got to spotlight them for the great ongoing work that THEY do all year long…so very excellent to put a bunch of lovely, loving, lovable faces on the big anonymous banner of the whole organization!

  27. what a moving post – i kept forgetting to donate but this made me do it right now even though i should be sleeping. what got me was the person coming in and found relief because of the help. i’ve been there trying to figure things out; any of us could be there for many different reasons. safe rides and look forward to pictures! go team!

  28. Go Team! Go knitters! It is humbling to be a small part of this. Thank you and all the teams for your hard work.
    Be safe!

  29. Thanks, Steph – for letting,us see the folks we are working through – it’s am amazing and humbling thing.
    Ride safe – you have a mighty and immense team of supporters, but you’re what will make your ride a success.
    xoxoxoxox – Joan

  30. Steph’s Number One, but we have taken Pato and Ken into the Top Ten Fundraisers for 2015!!. Go Knitters!!

  31. Hope you are having (or had depending on when you get to read this) a safe and fun ride. I love the giant ball of yarn!

  32. I just totalled up the current donations of all the teams and it comes to $956498.49. Impressive. Congratulations to all who participate.

  33. Stephanie, I’m a long time lurker -as in I first stumbled upon your blog over 5 years ago. I’ve read completely through your archives, and I’ve watched you make countless pairs of socks, buckets of shawls, mittens, and scarves, and laughed and cried and celebrated along with you, and through all of this time, I’ve wanted to somehow be there with you to celebrate. I picked up knitting (this week) and I made the lumpiest, holiest, most misshapen washcloth ever, and I made it for you, and I got on here this morning wondering if there was any way I could get it to you when I visit Vancouver tomorrow and Saturday. However, you are rally-ing, and that is much more important than the worst washcloth ever. I wish you luck, and maybe I will mail it to you later, because I’m eternally grateful to you, not only for inspiring me to start knitting, but for being my role model as well. ~Katie

  34. I can’t believe that there is only $91 until Stephanie reaches $70,000. Unbelievable support from everyone — I never thought reaching this amount would be possible. Wow. Knitters rock!

      • I just summed up the team totals and it came to $967,759.24 so not quite a million–but I’ll bet they’re quite happy with that total.

  35. Greetings to our Steph!
    I am so pleased that we could ding you all along. I really hope it helped this year. I think of it as the bike bell I had many years ago that I would ring ring ring when I was home from school.

    What I really want to say was “look at those calves of yours!”

    What muscles!

    Have a wonderful soak in you very on tub!


  36. Hi – I waited until your last day so that you will get a ping as you ride the last miles . . . I just made a contribution to MSF – it’s my favorite charity. I don’t need any karma-gift. I’m so far beyond “sable” it’s just not even funny anymore! Ride well & safe – then have a great glass of wine or beer & rest well too.

  37. I tried to donate last week but my stupid stupid “protection” software wouldn’t let me.
    Anyway, congratulations on being the #1 individual fundraiser AND #1 team! and all 3 of you in the top 10! I hope you’re all as proud as you should be of this accomplishment. 🙂

  38. You are so cool! I don’t believe I’ve read a single thing like this before.
    So great to discover somebody with a few unique thoughts on this
    subject matter. Really.. thank you for starting this
    up. This site is something that is needed on the web, someone with some originality!

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