HELEN BICK BILASZ - an angel on earth!
Hello Everyone, what a beautiful sight you all make today! I see a roomful of LOVE - a Blessed blessed sight.
Today, we are gathered here to remember, to commemorate, and especially to celebrate the life of Helen - a woman that touched so many lives…and touched us deep down into our very own souls.
My name is Domenic Bumbaca and I am a member of the Brampton Cycling Club. I am so deeply honoured that Gerry would ask me to speak of Helen.
Helen was a wonderful woman, daughter to Fred and Anna, sister to Annemarie, Linda, and Fred, Sister-in-law to Betty, Shane, Mark, Sam, John and Rina, and Aunt to Brent, Jason, Mitchell, Kevin, Curtis and Corrina.
But to me, to our close-knit cycling family, Helen was a very good friend. We all loved riding with her, telling stories, and just living life on the bike, In the coffee shops, fixing flats, and having a laugh!
Personally for me, it all began in the Jubilee year 2000, when I was fortunate Enough to meet Helen & Gerry on a BCC ride. (Brampton Cycling Club)
That first Saturday ride, I introduced myself, all 200 pounds of me, and Helen Was there with encouraging words and a helping hand…she was always thinking of others!
I vividly recollect watching this statuesque woman cycle with such intensity… “I wanna be just like Helen!” I thought.
Having joined Brampton Cycling, I fully expected to get a great workout and perhaps some health benefits. What I didn’t expect was to meet an astounding group of people with which to share these experiences.
You gotta be a cyclist to understand. Saturday mornings were no longer just an Exercise day. It was a coming together of a myriad of personalities and bonding Together over the years. I love my cycling buddies…we are family!!
From that first fateful day, we forged a loving and compassionate friendship…. All of us have…and we have shared and cried and laughed about our life experiences.
Just four months ago, Gerry organized a surprise birthday party for Helen. She was overwhelmed with emotion. There must have been over forty Close friends there. I just sat back and watched everyone grab their five Minutes with Helen, have a good chat. I didn’t get to speak with Helen until the evening was over. We drank champagne and sang Happy Birthday. It was a memorable evening with outpouring love for Helen.
Then, two months ago, Helen came to the cycling picnic. Again, she was bombarded With love. We just couldn’t stay away.
We have witnessed Helen’s battle with breast cancer. Supported her fight every inch of every day. I remember Helen thanking us, the cycling core, and thanking her friends, Cheryl and Caroline, for being there.
Helen had no desire to attend any Breast Cancer Support Group through the hospital….we, her friends, were enough for her!
Our friendship grew over the years, as it did with the BCC core. Our get-togethers first began as members of the BCC executive. Then, the core Grew and grew to encompass BBQ’s, dinner parties, and social gatherings. We would drink some wine and enjoy the photos of Helen and Gerry’s various trips.
Oh, what rides we had. Saturday became the best day of the week. It didn’t matter what the destination was…we were together, the BCC pelaton, usually about twenty, always egging each other on, hammering up the hills, or blazing down the descents. 120 km wasn’t so hard…. wasn’t so tough…. when you’re sharing the effort with your friends.
Everyone would rotate and jockey positions to speak with Helen. I would love to look over the pelaton and just watch and listen to all the chatter. I found the conversations with Helen to be very special.
I also witnessed Helen’s two crashes…. the first, touching wheels with Gerry and the second one going head-over-heals over Ken Wilkes. I believe she suffered a broken Collar bone all the while recuperating from chemo.
But, you know what…this beautiful woman just wouldn’t give up!! Her perseverance was immense.
Another time, while abroad in Italy, we participated in the Nove Colli bike tour. Helen was giddy with excitement in competing that day. It was a cold, rainy and all round miserable day. Gerry flew over the 200 kilometers. I just wanted to ride easy, drink some wine and have espresso breaks…. Oh no…. but not Helen. Naturally, Helen kicked my ass that day!
But boy, was she ever fast on the bike!! Helen was just the tonic one needed when feeling blue. We loved Helen for her Courage, her enthusiasm, and her infectious smile.
I relished those Tuesday nights; our hammer-fest rides barrelling down 6th Line, A mere six inches apart, and racing each other at over 40 kilometers per hour.
Helen would hang in with those testosterone-crazed boys, huffing and puffing, resplendent in her gold earrings. Never would she complain, but just push, push and push!! That was Helen…courageous, competitive and a warrior!
This is also how she tackled her disease…. Head On!! Mano a Mano!
One day Helen quipped, “The doctors advised her to perhaps have a mastectomy.” Helen’s response was to have a double! Let’s beat this cancer once and for all!
A year ago, on September 11, 2010, my daughter Diana got married. Both Helen And Gerry, Thomas and Irena were present. I needed to share this happy day with my closest friends. I had the honour of a dance with Helen. What a superb dancer! Incredulous, I asked how she became such a good dancer? She expressed how she would dance with her own father at various family celebrations.
Now, you see that bike over there? That’s Helen’s Colnago - an Italian Stallion! It is a reflection of her spirit and determination.
To my eyes, Helen was a HERO. A hero is defined by someone who has the courage, the will, and the drive to pursue the goal…to fight against all odds.
A Hero doesn’t win every fight. Ultimately, Helen lost her battle…. but she fought…. And boy did she fight!!
During the past eleven years, I have witnessed the beautiful marriage between Helen and Gerry. They have spent an eternity of time loving each other, enjoying each other’s company and have been very fortunate to explore the world from The ocean deeps to the mountaintops. May every married couple be Blessed with so many memories.
Now, to Gerry….and his love for Helen. This is an incredible man. Gerry was there for Helen everyday. During her yearlong battle, Gerry was there. I witnessed a great man’s love for his wife Helen, up front and close.
Although Gerry claims not to be a religious man…well, he sure acts like one!! During Helen’s last week of life, Gerry was by Helen’s side, night and day. He refused to leave her side. This man loves his wife!!
You know, to the outside world, Gerry puts on this hard exterior shell. He’s a hard ass! However, the truth is that Gerry is a gentle and loving man. He has a soft gooey centre. It was on full display this past week.
Gerry, I say to you, from my heart, your wife Helen fully appreciated your love. Also know that Helen has forgiven us all for any transgressions we may have committed.
In summary, I believe it all comes down to one thing - that one thing is LOVE. Love for each other.
We have all loved Helen for the woman she was. Helen gave her heart and soul to our cycling world. Helen brought much more to us than she ever received in return. We are all honoured and Blessed to have know Helen. Thank you God for bringing Helen to us.
We loved her for a very short time….too short for certain. Now, Helen is with you God and all the angels looking down at us!
Helen is no longer suffering. Thank you Lord for ending her pain and suffering.
We will be forever enriched and Blessed for having known Helen.
We all love you Helen! Goodbye! Forever in our Hearts!