The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 2, 2000

Features

Riding for more than one reason

Allison Keeler, my 21-year-old niece who regularly visits me from her family home in Raynham, will also be participating in the Boston to New York AIDSRide 6. Like many participants, she is committed to raising AIDS awareness and bringing it into what she calls the comfort zone. Allison has been an avid cyclist since she was 17, but unlike most riders, she sees this cycling event as a benchmark in a difficult and uncertain personal journey. Nearly a year ago, on June 21, 1999, Allison suffered a severe brain injury in a high-speed, rollover car accident. The driver of the car died, leaving her 3-year-old disabled daughter an orphan. For everyone involved, the wounds were deep, the scars have not faded.

As part of her financial commitment to the AIDSRide, Allison will be holding a yard sale on Saturday, July 1. Since Allison still struggles with aspects of her brain injury -- too many details and too much stimulation easily overwhelm her -- she is relying on friends and family to help in organizing her Yard Sale and Celebration to Benefit the Boston to New York AIDSRide 6.

Seen as an event that is part yard sale, part summer fair, the benefit is in need of wares to sell. Do you have any unwanted household items you would be willing to donate to Allison and the AIDS effort?

Allison's initial prognosis was grim. She had forgotten how to walk and was hampered by impaired senses of balance and depth perception. She had no short-term memory. Her ahead-of-schedule recovery is a testament not only to her youth and extreme fitness, but also to her determination and courage. For family and friends, the fact that Allison is today able to walk, bike and continue her studies gives new meaning to the word "miracle."

"I feel so fortunate and so privileged to be where I am today," says Allison. "I'm riding because I can, and because I'm terrified by what AIDS is doing all over the world and here in my own community."

If you are interested in donating salable items to Allison Keeler's Yard Sale and Celebration to Benefit the Boston to New York AIDSRide 6, call me, Jane Poirier Hart at 371-0817. Allison plans to schedule door-to-door pickups in Carlisle on the weekends of June 10 and June 24.

The benefit event will be held Saturday, July 1, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the R.E.A.D.S. Building, 105 East Grove St., Middleboro. The rain date is Sunday, July 2.


2000 The Carlisle Mosquito