He Must Finish

by Maria Parker on June 24, 2016 Comments Off on He Must Finish

This morning I woke up after only 2 and ½ hours of sleep, my head thick with exhaustion.  My first thought was, Marshall has been doing this for 9 days while cycling for 21 hours a day.  At this point in Race Across America, I’m incredulous that Marshall can keep going.  Yet go he does.  He and his crew say every day, we must finish.  This time, we must finish.   I feel their desperation.  Marshall must get an official finish this year, his third attempt.  

Last night Marshall got a big push toward Annapolis. An anonymous benefactor offered to donate $10 for each mile Marshall pedaled, (750 of them as of last night), only if he gets to Annapolis.

She said “Just tell him to finish,  It’s his third time, he’s not getting any younger. He will not have to do this a fourth time.  I so want him to finish. I know how terrible I have felt not finishing a measly 50 miles a few years ago…he must feel that a 1000 times stronger…He will finish.

When we told Marshall last night, he was overwhelmed.

This donor is challenging Marshall’s community to come alongside her and also pledge per mile donations.  Marshall has offered anyone who matches her pledge a signed 3000 Miles to a Cure jersey, one of the jerseys he has been wearing during his ride.  Any matching donation will encourage.  $.10 per mile is $70, $1.00 per mile is $700 dollars, or come up with your own amount.  Let’s get Marshall to the finish line.  He must finish.

Maria Parker

Marshall is racing to cure brain cancer. Every cent of every donation goes to brain cancer research. Join us.

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Maria ParkerHe Must Finish

June 23, 2016: This One’s for you, Rob

by Jo Dee Ahmann on June 23, 2016 Comments Off on June 23, 2016: This One’s for you, Rob

We’re on the last 600 miles.  I can’t even fathom that statement.  Six hundred miles is a LONG way to race a bicycle.  That means Rob has already knocked out at least 2400 miles in 9 days.   Rob is powering on in the strength of God, fueled by your prayer.  He is living on the words of encouragement and donations you are giving.  He has this blog post read to him in the hard hours of the night.  So, dear Rob, this one is for you.  All you readers, feel free to read over his shoulder.

Rob is having a good time despite the intense heat and humidity in Indiana.

Rob is having a good time despite the intense heat and humidity in Indiana.

Rob, you are racing in honor of Christina and her courage in the face of a brain cancer diagnosis and you, too, are displaying great courage in the face of 3000 miles of seemingly endless roads, hills, weather, extreme heat, fatigue, hostile encounters with drivers and lots of pain.

Tyler Clemens loads Rob up with a lettuce wrap before he hits the road.

Tyler Clemens loads Rob up with a lettuce wrap before he hits the road.

And you are racing with joy and grace.  I love it when you say—“It’s hard.  I like hard things.”  And you just said to me, “I could not do this without God’s strength.”  I see how hard this is.  I see the struggle, the pain, the fatigue.  You wear it well.  You are a champion.  A leader. An example. And you are a servant—of your team, of your community, of this world.  Thank you for loving well.

Yesterday, your pastor from your Port Angeles days, met you on the road while you were having a massage break.  Mike and Jan Jones were in the area (that is a loose term) and found you on the course.  You prayed together, laughed, took a few photos and they sent you off down the road.IMG_1378

A couple of days ago, Pastor Mike sent a text that I have not read to you yet.  Here it is:

When David was sent by his father to check up on his brothers, he encountered an unusual situation.  All of the armies of God were hiding in their tents filled with fear.  The obstacle in front of them was the giant Goliath!  David accepted the challenge to face the obstacle.  He had faced other challenges in the past and he knew what to do.  Trust God and move ahead!!!

 David, in the power of the Lord, defeated the enemy of God!  An amazing thing then happened to the fear-filled army of God! When they witnessed David’s faith, they themselves were filled with faith and moved ahead!

 The principle is simple:  Displayed faith stimulates faith!  Christina faced the enemy many times in unbelievable faith.  Her faith ignited faith in others.  Only weeks before her death she got out of bed and visited me after my heart surgery.  Even now her faith makes me want to get up and move ahead.  No longer am I paralyzed by fear!

Rob's feet have to be covered in bandages and baby powder to reduce the pain while riding.

Rob’s feet have to be covered in bandages and baby powder to reduce the pain while riding.

 Rob, you may not know this but your God filled, courageous faith that you are displaying is encouraging fearful people to renew their faith and move forward!!

 Rob, keep moving forward in God’s power as you face the challenges before you.  You, like Christina, are causing my faith to grow and I’m moving forward with you for God’s glory!  –Pastor Mike Jones

Rob passes some tractors in Indiana on a busy back road.

Rob passes some tractors in Indiana on a busy back road.

How’s that for an evening pick-me-up?  You are so loved Rob.  Keep going.  One pedal at a time.  In the strength of God.  Thank you for raising money for brain cancer research.  Your community has now given $14,000 on your way to $20,000.  You are doing great work–paying a great price to bring hope to the world of brain cancer.

The Messenger,

Jo Dee Ahmann

P.S.  For those of you reading over Rob’s shoulder, you can give here.  Together, we can help keep him going!




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Jo Dee AhmannJune 23, 2016: This One’s for you, Rob

June 21, 2016: Jenny Paparella Mulligan

by Joe Mulligan on June 22, 2016 Comments Off on June 21, 2016: Jenny Paparella Mulligan

2 years ago I lost my mother.

Losing your mom is hard. In fact, it is really hard, hopefully the hardest experience I will ever have in my life.

I remember always telling people how I was doing. Out of concern, they asked me, which I did appreciate, but I never could answer them. I told them it was hard, but I was good. It was always hard, but I was never good.

In fact, I am not even “good” today. Every day I think about college or even getting married, I realize she isn’t going to be there with me. She isn’t going to sit crying in the church as I say my vows or even heartily cheer when I get my diploma. She just isn’t.

I have come to realize that I will never truly accept this. I will look out at those people on my wedding day and try to find my mom’s shining, beautiful face.

I will never be able to take my kids to see their Grandma. I will never have someone to talk to about life decisions, or how I should propose to my girlfriend.

I won’t be able to come over and eat her delicious spaghetti and meatballs.

There will always be a void. There will always be an unfilled portion of reality that I am aware of.

But in the end, it is ok. I know she is there watching, sending her love to me every day as I go through life.

I will make it to tomorrow. She would have wanted me to.

Mom, I love you and miss you



Donate here

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Joe MulliganJune 21, 2016: Jenny Paparella Mulligan

Two Years

by Maria Parker on June 19, 2016 Comments Off on Two Years

Today marks two years since Jenny died.  I miss her now more than ever, especially as the memory of her illness fades and the memories of the love and encouragement she gave me over the previous 45 years grows stronger.

I can’t make any more memories with Jenny.  I’m stuck with what I have. No more cooking together, sharing recipes, no more trips to Pottery Barn, no more phone calls of encouragement around the holiday season when I get overwhelmed, no more walks together, no more reading every word of every sign at museums and other places we would travel together.   Jenny will never again sit on my couch with me and talk late into the night about how good God is.  

Where she was in my life,  there will always be a hole.

However, inside that hole now grows a burning desire to find a cure for brain cancer. This fire in my gut requires me to act, to fight to DO something.

Incredibly, I don’t have to  fight alone.

Two men, Rob Decou and Marshall Reeves have, for the last five days, been racing across the country on bicycles with  little or no sleep, climbing steep mountains, crossing burning deserts, and now fighting stiff, hot Kansas winds so that others may have hope.  They and their crews have joined with me to raise funds for research for brain cancer.

Marshall Reeves and Rob DeCou run into each other on day two of the course.

Marshall Reeves and Rob DeCou run into each other on day two of the course.

I invite you to join us.  We can never win this battle alone. Simply put, we must have money for research.  These next 5 days, as you watch these two incredible warriors fight their exhaustion, sunburn, saddle sores, sore muscles and joints, numb hands and feet, and continue pedaling again and again, please give.  As you think of their crews, who sacrifice vacation time, decent food, sleep and time with their own loved ones so that they can care for and protect these cyclists, make a donation.   

Each rider has a goal of $20,000 for brain cancer research. We are not even close to halfway there.  Please help bring us to the finish line, so that others may live.  Thank you.

Donate here:





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Maria ParkerTwo Years