My Story – Jim Parker

Matt Tanner on May 26, 2020

I do not consider myself a “joiner”. I’m an introvert, so I really like my alone time because it is how I recharge my batteries, my essential daily self care.

A couple of months ago, Phillip Jones approached me via text to ask if I would be interested in joining a cycling club. I had recently and begrudgingly agreed to coach in the Cycling Kansas City Ride program so I told him I would think about it. Like I said, I’m not a joiner.

Then the pandemic hit and the Ride program was cancelled due to the need for social distancing. I’m still disappointed, but I understand why the decision was made and support it. I was actually looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone and helping people who are new to cycling.

In the meantime, I would think of the cycling club Phil told me about from time to time. I looked at their website a few times, but was still in a non-committal state. Again, introvert. Then some things happened.

Three people in the recovery community completed suicide. I did not know the first two, but I knew the third. I rode with him and considered him a friend, not a good friend, but a friend nonetheless.

The morning I found out of his demise, I joined the cycling club Phil encouraged me to join. It’s called Rollfast. The Rollfast Foundation’s mission is: “It exists to prevent suicide through communication and education by increasing the visibility of existing resources for support and creating additional connections in our community for those in need.”

I am so glad I made the choice to join Rollfast. As a therapist, I believe we do not talk enough about suicide. It can be a scary subject and a lot of people think “oh, don’t talk about it, you’ll give people ideas.” Bullshit. Talk about it in a healthy manner and we may be able to prevent some suicides, not all, but some. I ride for many reasons, health, well being, quality alone time, and it’s an essential part of my recovery. Now I can Rollfast (see what I did there.).

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