Your blissful slumber is shattered by your 6:30 alarm, blaring Sheryl Crow’s “All I want to do”. That seemed like a good idea on Friday, when all you wanted to do was have some fun, but now that it’s Monday morning, all you want to do is eviscerate the electronic guts of your phone and drift back into the warm sublime.

But it’s Monday, and your idling consciousness is starting to pick up the pieces of where you left off yesterday, while hastily sweeping away every morsel of your subconscious fantasies. Yes, I know Sheryl, it’s time to get up.

As you throw back the covers, you immediately notice that something isn’t right. Though your mind is telling you to get up, your body seems to be refusing. And that itching that was just noticeable yesterday is now driving you crazy. That’s when you notice the body aches and the chills.

charity ride in vt

Ah, the flu, an old friend, here to save you from the Monday grind! For a moment, you nostalgically recount your elementary school days when mom fed you applesauce while you watched a marathon of Looney Tunes.

You wonder, “Did I buy applesauce the last time I went shopping?”. And if I didn’t, can an Amazon drone do that for me?

As you twist to reach for your phone to research the latest news on Amazon drone capabilities, you suddenly notice something else – a severe pain in your upper right abdomen. You don’t make it to your phone. Instead, you spend the next three minutes immobile while willing the pain to subside.

You’ve never felt pain here before.

Gingerly lifting your shirt, you decide to inspect that area of your stomach, just to make sure that someone didn’t stab you while you were sleeping. Phew, no wound, but wait…your skin looks yellow.

It must be the way the light is casted through your sheets you suspect, but panic begins to creep in. You fling back the sheets and…your skin is still yellow.

It’s time to call mom.

You gingerly reach for your phone, and decide, somewhat morbidly, that sending a selfie would capture the small horror story you are currently living.

You snap the pic, and inspect before sending it. Yup, skin is obviously yellow, but…your eyes are yellow too.

This is no longer a small horror story.

But this is the reality that individuals with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) face.

While it’s not possible to come down with these symptoms overnight, individuals diagnosed with PSC either have the knowledge that this will happen to them soon, or are already battling these symptoms.

PSC behaves like an autoimmune disease, targeting the bile ducts of the liver, often leading to liver failure. PSC has no cure, unless a successful liver transplant is made. However, the three-year survival rate for a liver transplant is 81%, and the five-year survival rate is 75% (http://www.medicinenet.com/primary_sclerosing_cholangitis_psc/page5.htm).

Be thankful that you didn’t wake up this morning with PSC.

However, being thankful is not enough. We are all members of the human community, and like any good neighbor, let’s rise to the occasion and offer a hand. If you are able-bodied and love to cycle and walk, you can help. And in a very significant way.

psc charity bike ride 4

Pedal for PSC is the perfect opportunity for individuals to apply their good health and fitness in a fashion that helps those without. From July 28th – 30th for the three-day tour or July 29th for the one-day event, Great Freedom Adventures will host Pedal for PSC in the quintessential Vermont village of Woodstock. In addition to cycling 100k / 55k or walking 15k through breathtaking Vermont tableaus, cyclists will be treated to two nights of luxurious accommodation. Pedal for PSC is the perfect opportunity for those interested in exploring by bicycle and contributing to a worthy cause. It is rare to find such an opportunity that simultaneously offers you the time of your life while buying time for someone else’s life.

All proceeds from Pedal for PSC benefit PSC Partners Seeking a Cure, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to funding research on PSC and supporting patients and their families (www.pscpartners.org).

When you sign up for Pedal for PSC, just remember, you are signing up for the adventure of a lifetime, and extending someone else a lifeline.

I hope to see you there.

By Jon Ignatowski, Great Freedom Adventures Tour Leader