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Axel was born February 15, 2011- he would have been 3 years old today.

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Axel was born with Hemolytic disease. Basically his blood type was incompatible with Jen’s and his red blood cells were being attacked by Mom’s antibodies. After a few tense days and some major time under the “light” to treat his jaundice all was better.

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Kalden loved his new little brother!

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Eventually all was well and he got to start his new life in the world.

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At 1 year old Axel made his first international trip to Costa Rica.

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It was clear early on that he loved the beach and just like us, loved to travel!

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Axel celebrated his first birthday in Costa Rica.

Once back in the States he was always content hanging out with big brother and learning how to keep up. By 15 months he was on his Strider chasing Kalden around!

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Kalden and Axel were best buddies on and off the bike. Kalden use to tell us he dreamed of one day racing bikes with Axel as his teammate.

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Our trip to Mexico was the culmination of years of “practice” trips. Making sure we could live and work on the road. We were all excited about our big adventure and no one was happier to be back on the beach than the Boys!

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Axel was murdered on Feb 28th 2013, just 13 days after his 2nd Birthday. The night before we had done a photo shoot in town and got these incredible images to keep as a memory.

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We have so many amazing memories from our short time with Axel. There isn’t a day that goes by when he hasn’t entered my mind hourly and I truly hope to keep it that way!

Happy Birthday little buddy……………..Dad

 

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What a horrible word, right? You don’t often think about death until it happens to someone you love. At that moment when you are faced with that insurmountable loss – it all changes. What really does happen to us when we die? Are we simply gone? Or is there a greater power than us, like a God? When death strikes is he there waiting to accept and comfort them?

Honestly I have no idea and I’m really ok with that. What I do know is that after Axel was killed it profoundly changed the outlook on my life. I’m in NO HURRY to leave this world, I have a wonderful Wife, incredible Son and another on the way. However if I were to be taken tomorrow I can only ‘hope’ Axel is waiting for me on the other side with his arms wide open. A friend of mine who moved to Japan a few years ago sent me this story that was told to him by a Monk. Is it true? Who knows. To me it is no more unbelievable than any other form of worship out there and it really made me feel good reading it. After all, at the end of the day, isn’t that really all we have in the face of death – HOPE.

Dear Jen and Randy,

A  story that I would like to share with you…
It helped me to find some healing at one point in my life. I hope that you guys may be able to find some healing in it as well… This story was told to me in Japanese so it has my own interpretation.

When we were living in Ridgway years before we met you, we were walking in Telluride… From across the street came an Asian man that we would soon realize to be a Japanese Buddhist monk. We initially thought he came over to talk being a fellow Japanese. However in actuality he could tell we were in pain and needed some sort of healing.

He eventually found his way to our home where we shared stories… One of them was this:

He spoke of life in Japan… Temples in Japan come in all shapes and sizes, from the larger ones in Kyoto to the smaller ones in neighborhoods… All of them are outdoors in almost a park setting however clearly a place of worship.
In the center is the main shrine of the temple where most people go to make an offering and pray for something. However around the main shrine are a variety of smaller shrines. These shrines are there for people in need of something a little more specific in their lives.

One of these smaller shrines plays a very important role… It is a shrine with a statue of an older lady with open arms. She plays a very specific role. Her role is to bring in all the children that have left this world too early in their lives. She brings them in and gathers them together. She nurtures and cares for them. But that is not all… she educates them and prepares them for their journey ahead… It’s a fun place for children to learn and enjoy with other children.

Now keep in mind, I’m not a religious man. Hearing words from this monk entered my mind with a grain of salt however I was open minded. I had been to Japan many times and seen the many shrines at all the temples with people coming and going.
It never really hit home however until I lived here. Though it is not especially a busy shrine,  it does get visitors. Both old and young. From young children that have lost a sibling to great grandparents. They come from time to time to make an offering and have a prayer.

That’s when you realize the children aren’t alone.

The journey that is being prepared for is a very important one. One that comes sooner for some and later for others.
For a time will come when this “mother figure” will take Axel by the hand and lead him down a path… A path that leads to a river where they will stand and wait.
For there will be a day when it is time for you to leave this world as well. When you do, you will also come to the rivers edge. As you slowly cross over the river, This mother figure will take Axel’s hand and take him right down to the river’s edge. You will look to the other side and see his smiling face… When you arrive, she will take his hand and place it in yours and you will continue on your journey together.

There are no words that are the “right” words… But I hope you can find some healing.

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On December 19th as we wrapped up our holiday bike giveaway we were contacted by a local radio station out of Telluride, CO. They asked us to come in and do an interview about our bike giveaway and the overall mission of the Axel Project. You can listen to our interview by clicking below:

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It’s the craziest time of year to go to the Post Office and I’ve made a bunch of trips there over the past week sending out donated and purchased Striders. Last night I finalized one more donation for our Christmas giveaway (yep, that’s 16). It is going to a 15 month old girl in Washington State who’s Mom has (advance) breast cancer. Needless to say they are buried in bills and life is day to day. Sooooo, their daughter gets a Strider!

Knowing that they open at 8:30 AM I was out the door at 8:20 and pulled up minutes before they opened. As I entered the door the line was already 10 people deep. Now, in a larger Post Office you might count yourself lucky but not here! Laura, our super nice Post Lady finally got the doors open about 10 minutes late and then she was alone to do it all. Hanging out in the Post Office here is always a bit of a social event and most everyone knows the other and chats. After waiting about 20 minutes and discussing the Axel Project with a few of the folks there a Super nice Woman I know did the most incredible thing. She said

” I’d be honored if you would let me stand in line with the Strider and pay for the postage.”

It was an incredibly kind gesture and I’m so grateful for the help and support.

Axelove!

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I was reminded about how important our mission to introduce bikes to young children is when I saw the latest baby/toddler toys for the holidays. Like the fake iPads for babies attached to reclining chairs! Yes balance bikes are cute and fun but they really are more than toys.  The skill of riding a bike, no matter how old you are, changes lives. It’s important now more than ever to start kids and families off right by focusing on wellness, fun and nutrition rather than inactivity that leads to childhood obesity and too much time indoors. The joy of riding a bike also helps children gain the confidence to excel in other areas such as literacy and living a more environmentally-conscious life. The health of our kids at this critical time from the toddler years into elementary school is vital to our families, communities and the entire planet.

Of course many children, especially young children, don’t have the luxury of being exposed to bikes.  Bikes aren’t exactly a basic necessity and just having the basics are hard for so many families, pre-schools, recreation facilities, and therapy centers. It’s our hope and mission that we can continue to provide bikes throughout the next year to all these places.

And it was our drive and motivation behind giving away more bikes this holiday season. We started out with a goal of 5 bikes but because of your donations and purchases we were able to give away 15.

Here is a sampling of where they went:

  • Several children with Downs Syndrome. These were families that had heard of  balance bikes by their doctors or therapists but did not have the extra money to buy one.
  • A two year old from a struggling family. The Dad was laid off and the Mom is supporting the entire family (while pregnant) by managing a pizza place.
  • Two bikes for a family in rural Colorado. The Dad just walked out and the former stay-at-home Mom is working hard to get her skills back up and find work. They are currently on government assistance.  She is also a huge advocate and volunteer in the community. In addition, she provides her children with as much local and organic food as she could by growing her own food and working with local farmers.
  • An Occupational Therapy center got a Strider and a larger Super Strider in Florida. They see the value in bikes but simply did not have enough for all their patients. And the bikes they have are in dire need of replacement. This will get them started.
  • A two year old that just lost his Dad and sole family breadwinner in a tragic accident this November.

In addition, we were able to connect with many other organizations and individuals for the coming year. We are excited about what’s ahead and how we can make an impact through bikes.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

axelove!

axelove!

 

 

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