A Rosedale Rider readying for a bicycle contest sponsored by Samsung Austin Semiconductor, which kicked off on April 6th in Austin, Texas.
Founded in 1994, the Rosedale Foundation dedicates itself to the support of children from the Rosedale School – the only public school in Austin specifically for students with significant disabilities, and whose ages range from 3 to 22.
As time passed, however, and they were faced with financial difficulties, a Rosedale parent presented an idea: the creation of a fundraiser which was sparked by his love of cycling.
The first ride only garnered approximately 50 participants. Today, the fundraising event has grown to become an extremely popular cycling contest with more than 1,000 participants.
Tzu Chi’s Austin branch volunteers have been assisting Rosedale School students for over 20 years, and each year, volunteers help with the Rosedale Ride as well. In 2019, volunteers served at Norman’s Crossing Park, the second rest area for the ride situated in the suburb thirty-one miles from Austin.
The morning of the fundraiser, it had begun to pour, which volunteers heard might turn into a rainstorm after 9 AM. Not knowing whether the event would be canceled, Tzu Chi volunteers nevertheless decided to get prepared. Nine volunteers arrived at the park at 7:30 in the morning. By 8:30 AM, the crew confirmed the event was still on, and volunteers immediately began preparations. Flags were set up, trash bins were set in place, and volunteers arranged various fruits on the table to help the riders recharge.\
At around 9:30 AM, riders started arriving at the rest stop, and due to the heavy rain, many required tissues to wipe their glasses. Curious about the volunteer’s uniforms, one rider asked what group they represented. A Tzu Chi volunteer, Lo Chien-Ping, introduced the origin of Tzu Chi and its global footprints of humanitarian aid.
When the riders took their seats for a short rest, volunteers greeted and welcomed them. Upon hearing that one couple belonged to an environmental protection organization who shared their same beliefs, volunteers spoke to them about Tzu Chi and Master Cheng Yen’s position on protecting the environment by becoming vegetarians. Some riders also said they remembered Tzu Chi, and always felt welcomed at the rest stop where Tzu Chi serves each year.
Because of the heavy downpour, many riders eventually pulled out of the race midway, the event which once had one thousand participants shrinking down to only about 300 people. Among the remaining riders, one middle-aged man caught the volunteers’ attention. Under his biking pants, a prosthesis was visible just under his right knee. More than half of the people gave up in the rain, but he chose to keep going. The spirit of this courageous and resilient man moved volunteers deeply, motivating them to never give up, rain or shine.