Photo courtesy of: http://www.livestrong.org/Take-Action/Team-LIVESTRONG-Events/LIVESTRONG-Challenge-Series/LIVESTRONG-Challenge-Philly 

It’s that time of year again, folks! Hopefully, you have all been getting ready for the biggest LIVESTRONG event in the Philadelphia area, and for that matter on the East Coast!!!! Remember that there are 4 LIVESTRONG Challenges: San Jose, Seattle, Austin, and Philadelphia. You will notice that out of the four only ONE is on the East Coast!

Here are the official details from the official website: LIVESTRONG CHALLENGE Website

“In Philly, on August 21—22, the LIVESTRONG Challenge takes place in the Philadelphia suburb of Blue Bell on the Montgomery County Community College Campus. This year we’ve expanded our Philly event to a 2-day format. Because of the growth of the event, moving the run/walk to Saturday will allow us to welcome more participants and add an additional 10K distance and Post Event Party for our runners and walkers. On Sunday, our riders can enjoy bike rides varying from 10, 20, 45, 75 and 100 mile options. For the first time ever in Philly, enjoy both activities of the LIVESTRONG Challenge.”

 (Me Again:) I’m again looking to put in an effort for one of the two  running portions of the event.  There is a 5k and a 10k. I’m going to do the  10k, unless I can come up with a road bike and start training for the actual ride. If so, I’m going to try and do both! I’m hoping you are looking to participate to do the same and join us or  come back out for another exciting adventure in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. This is a fun day of both exercise, friendship and unity in the fight against cancer. I personally have been involved in this event every year that it has taken place and I’m amazed at how every year this particular event  gets larger and larger.  In addition, I’m hoping that afterwards, we could BBQ or and enjoy the post party events. I’m also thinking T-shirts again as we did last year. Let me know if you’re interested email me at gameoncancer@aol.com! And register here:  Philly Registration

 Also, I believe if the rumour (Yes, I know it’s the british version of rumor. I’m being fancy) is correct that Lance, himself, will be making an appearance at the event, following his conclusion of his last Tour de France.

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Broad Street Run

March 16, 2010

The Broad Street Run, which is fast approaching (May 2nd, 2010) , is a 10 mile race down Broad Street in Philadelphia. I have never had the distinct pleasure in running this race before, but earlier this year, I promised that I would do so in support of my friend and colleague Scott and his family.  They are currently in their own family struggle against cancer and as you all know the cancer community doesn’t back down from a collective fight.  Therefore, I committed to running the race as the one and only  gameoncancer, but with the mission in mind of supporting Scott and his family, all the while still honoring those that are fighting, have beaten cancer  or for those whose memories remain with us.

It’s interesting; however, as much as I’m running in support of Scott, I’ve been finding myself supported by Scott. For he has been my motivation over the last few weeks to get out and run.  Everyday, I see Scott head down from teaching to the gym to put some miles out on the treadmill and everytime I see him head that way it stirs me to make sure that I’m heading down the same path to put my own miles down.  I’m eager and intimidated by this race. Yes, I know that it is a fast course and downhill and all the other stuff that people tell me about, how this is an esay run, but at the same time I’m leaving a comfort level of small and intermediate runs.  This isn’t a small race, it’s going to be packed with approximately 30,000 people! 

Therefore,  I think this race will be a true test of will for me. It’s my mental form of battling cancer. Now, I’m not trying to say that this is in anyway comparable to fighting cancer, but it reflects for me the pure test and determination that a caregiver or combatant against cancer must have.  Each step on the road, in my head symbolizes that fight.  It will get harder as the miles rack up and I’m sure there will be many times that I will want to walk or stop all together. But I need to be determined and continue to push on, much as I attempt to tell others to push on. At the end of the day I hope to be standing at the finish line triumphant as I hope many of you will be with your personal battles. 

If you are thinking about coming out to run for Broad Street, do so!  I would be more than happy to see you all out there and cheer you on.  If you can’t make it, send me names and I will make a shirt to commemorate you or your loved ones as I run.

Either way, today, I wanted to give a shout out to my friend Scott, who has been driving me over the last few weeks to make sure that I get my chubby butt out on the road to run and more importantly for the effort he is putting out to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to run for you and yours.  

6 months

September 22, 2009

It has been six months to the day since my father’s passing. And so much has changed in such a short amount of time and it still makes my head spin to think of the hustle and bustle that was my dad’s battle with cancer, let alone the hustle and bustle that is everyday now.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of my father. The memories come at different points and over a variety of issues. Today’s was very overt due to the anniversary, but other days it depends on the activities, the music that’s on, or just the silence. Silence can be the worst moments because my mind is allowed to be free of focused thought and it wanders, usually into very dark reaches that I wish that I could bar and never look upon, but others are quite jovial and sentimental. For example, the other day I was at Dairy Queen and the only thought that went through my mind was how I used to go to work with my father. On some occasions while we were working, we would pass this DQ on some major interstate that I can’t name but whose image is deeply set. My dad would pull over the large van at some obscure hour of the morning and we would cross the first two lanes of this  major highway. We would stand straddling the median before I would race to the other side and turn to watch my dad meander across the street. I used to worry a great deal, because he never rushed and I could see the oncoming traffic. It always seemed that his foot would hit the curb just as traffic was about to reach us. We would walk into the Dairy Queen passing the neon lights that shined trough the early morning and walk right to the counter. I would order a large strawberry milkshake. When I close my eyes I can picture the faces of the Dennis the Menace characters on the side of the cup. I can even remember crossing back to the other side of the street and sinking down in the passenger seat watching my dad scarf down his sugar cone with chocolate, vanilla twist. It’s a silly memory, but I enjoy the thought. It’s a nice little moment between father and son. It’s sad that now such a positive memory can hurt so badly.

However, over the past several months it’s the memories that have faded or that are fading that upset me the most. There are days that I can’t remember my dad’s voice. It’s the intonation that I miss. His particular style of speech that was so calming and soothing. I find that I really need to concentrate to hear it, when it used to ring in my head so easily. I do have the ultimate in safeguards thought, because  I was fortunate enough to have videotaped my dad the day before he went on life support. But I’m almost petrified to watch or listen to the tape. For I know the emotional rollercoaster that is waiting. Sometimes, I wish other people would watch it first, so  I don’t have too.

The videotape is my saving grace, sometimes I think it was my only moment of intelligence during his whole battle and the only reason I thought of it was because of a movie entitled My Life, starring Michael Keaton and Nicole Kidman. It’s the story of Bob Jones whose life is going well, but is ultimately diagnosed with kidney cancer (Very apropos) after he finds out that his wife Gail is pregnant with their first child. Bob Jones (Michael Keaton) hates the idea that his son will never know his father so he sits down and videotapes all the things he would say to his son. It’s a very touching film and led me to this idea of taping my father. This movie has a great deal of meaning to me, because of the father/son relationships that are depicted and the fact that it pushes other buttons about loss and love. This story line was magnified because my brother had also passed away after the movies release (1992.)  I regret that I had never thought of videotaping my brother cause I hate the fact that his voice has become a foggy dream. I fear that my memories are becoming less distinct. I feel as if I’m in a race to secure my their memories, so they remain protected and pure, not frayed and obscured by age. I want to complete a family documentary on them, but then I’ll have to come face to face with the film.

Ultimately, time may lessen the pain, but I don’t want time  to erase memories.

Me, My Dad, and My brother John

Me, My Dad, and My brother John

 

LIVESTRONG CHALLENGE!!!

August 25, 2009

The evening preceding the Livestrong Challenge , myself and  the majority of the muckity-mucks of Game on Cancer (G.o.C.) went to the Livestrong Challenge reception dinner.  Very swanky and a great deal of fun, but as I left the dinner and delivered my faithful companions to there point of departure, the pressures of the next morning set in.  I started to panic about everything, would everyone make it in the morning, did I run enough, did I have enough water and did I have everyone’s shirts in the proper bag with the proper bib numbers. Then it crossed my mind did I have safety pins for the bibs? Seriously? I was stressed about safety pins! Not only was I stressed about safety pins, I decided that at 12:00 AM, the day of the race that I better go out and get them. I drove to the local ACME. CLOSED @ Midnight.  I drove to the local GIANT, where I was greeted by a slew of workers out smoking (Ironic, I’m flying around for safety pins for a Cancer run/walk/ride and there are 10 guys working who are all smoking.) These guys informed me that they were…. CLOSED, but that the other GIANT which is 4 miles down the road was open.  I drove there found my safety pins, picked up some water and drove back to my house. I, also, drove over to my friend Steve’s house and woke him up out of a sound sleep, which was pretty hysterical.  Why did I do this? It’s not because I enjoy tormenting people in their sleep, even though I do. It’s because he and I were carpooling to the race so, he was supposed to stay with me  (in a totally we’re buddies sleep-over.) After arriving at the house, I downed some water and then tried to sleep.  I was extremely unsuccessful for almost three hours.  I just couldn’t sleep. I don’t know if it was the adrenaline of the next day, or the stress of everything going on, but either way I just kept tossing and turning.  There was no sleep to be had. Eventually, I finally passed out and woke up before my alarm, which was set for 5:00 AM.  Yes, that means I slept for less than 2 hours! Disappointment. The day; however, could only get better from there.

Woke up and drove over to Montgomery County Community College (the location for Livestrong Philly and met up with the majority of the Kappy Kid’s team, dished out shirts and babbled until the start of the race.

When the horn blew, I was off, bobbing and weaving through the crowd moving to the 1st mile mark. I checked my watch I ran it in an eight minute mile pace. The second and third mile, I was running fine, but I could feel it in my body that it wasn’t as easy as it should have been, so I dropped gears to ensure that I was going to finish the race in stride.  Looking back on that I’m disappointed, I should have pushed further. I would have been fine! I finished the race on my watch at approximately 26 minutes, but that’s from the sound of the horn not necessarily the starting line. It took a little time to get to the beginning, thanks to throngs of people.  My time was not a goal. It should have been and will be next year, but completion of the challenge was. To recap my goals for this year were the following:

1.) Run the race = I ran the race in 26 minutes = CHECK

2.) Get a picture with Fat Cyclist and/or Drew from Blame Drew’s Cancer. I got a picture withFat Cyclist (see previous post entitled Livestrong Challenge Eve Part 2 of 2) and I got a picture of Drew so I’m counting it. Therefore, CHECK!

and finally,

3.) Get a picture with Eddie George (former Heisman Trophy winner and Tennessee Titan. Also, number 22 on the all time rush list.)  Hmmm… This might be tricky…

I didn’t know how this was going to happen, but if all else failed, I was prepared to wait around until Noon, when he would be doing an appearance for Nissan at the Nissan tent in the Livestrong Village. No matter what happened I was going to finish my challenge.

As I stood talking with members of my team, I happened to look up and all of a sudden, Eddie George was walking right to me.  I extended my hand, introduced myself and after a near panic attack about finding a camera (which fortunately for me Lauren (my old roommate) had her camera phone) and we captured this photo:

Eddie George and Dave = Mission Accomplished

Eddie George and Dave = Mission Accomplished

Therefore, CHECK! Three missions set and three missions accomplished. By the way, in this picture you know what looks good, besides the studly men in it (hopefully, you know I’m being sarcastic on my part at least)?  The t-shirts. [Voice of Kool-Aid Man] “Oh yeah!” Those are some mighty fine shirts! Better yet, here’s my underwear model pose to show off the team shirts:

Dave modeling the stylish Game On Cancer t-shirts and the Livestrong Hat!

Dave modeling the stylish Game On Cancer t-shirts and the Livestrong Hat!

 A better example of how the shirts look may be found on the team: Gratuitous Team photo:

Team Photo! That team is Outstanding!

Team Photo! That team is Outstanding!

We’re missing a few people from this team photo, but it is a good photo. Most of the people on the team ran, except long time childhood friend, Nick who biked 45 miles! Everybody dominated their race. We finished our race experience with some good food, good tunes (as their were some great bands playing), and of course some good beverages. There was even a celebratory champagne toast afterwards.  

Overall, the event was a meaningful day to pay tribute to those that have passed from cancer, to those that have survived cancer, to those that have cancer and to everyone who cares for any of the above.  It was a fine day for commarderie, awareness and activism.

For me personally, it was a day to pay tribute to my father, to remember everything that he means to me and to remind myself how devastating it was to lose him. It furthermore reaffirmed my mission and motivation to continue to champion cancer awareness. Equally important, was that this day was humbling, because I can not even begin to describe the amount of thanks that need to be expressed to the people who donated, to the team for coming out, to everyone who wished us well and of course to the (G.o.C High Command: Leigh, Lauren, Jon, Lucy, and Nick.) Their efforts have been instrumental to the success of the overall day and the experience. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event. I do need to point out that this year’s fundraising is not finished, we still have until October 1st and I would love to move our team number to 10,000.00. We are so close!!!! Currently we sit at $8,168.00. More events to be announced soon. But for now, I feel like this:

Team Member passed out from the excitement and events!

Team Member passed out from the excitement and events!

Good night, all! I’m heading to bed. I have an early morning of team meetings for our new school year!

As promised the evening festivities at Turbine Hall were impressive, touching and truly inspiring.  Most of the members of the Gameoncancer high command, as I like to refer to them, were all sparkle dressed and eager to attend the night’s gala and we arrived on cue at Turbine Hall, which is one of the oldest Power Stations in Pennsylvania originally constructed in 1916 and by the architechts responsible for,  “the Franklin Institute, The Academy of Natural Science and the Free Library of Philadelphia.” Here is the rest of the history of  Turbine Hall.
  

Turbine Hall
Turbine Hall

The evning began with cocktails on the main floor and slowly progressed to the full fledged dinner, which was smorgasbord of pastas, and salads.  This is what the dinner floor looked like, prior to dinner:

 Livestrong Challenge 045

 Drew from Blame Drew’s Cancer opened the evening as he formally, welcomed the crowd to Turbine Hall and introduced John “College” Korioth, who is one Lance’s friends, but also one of the triumverant of individuals responsible for the construction of the Lance Armstrong Foundation. “College” spoke “comfortably” about the construction of the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I say comfortably, because you could tell that his arena for public speaking is probably better suited for a one to one situation or a small crowd, not necessarily a formal event.  He kept trying to temper his vocab to make it more gentile for public consumption, but at the same time, I think I preferred the straight talk. He spoke to us about the amazing programs that the foundation has created through the funds that we provide.  These programs include the survivorship hotline.  This hotline allows cancer patients the opportunity to talk to specialists in finding doctors, working through insurance and even aiding you with your financial issues. It also, helps survivors work on reacclamating themselves to society.  After speaking about the wonderful things that the foundation has done, “College” introduced the man of the night, and I’m not speaking of Ethan Zohn, who was the keynote speaker.  I’m speaking of Elden Nelson a.k.a. Fat Cyclist.

Fatty was introduced to a standing ovation and his address to the crowd was touching, moving, and abosultely inspirational.  Here was a man who is/was a renowned cycling blogger, but recently he has added a series of titles to his name: patient advocate, caregiver, and widower.  He has fought side by side with his wife, Susan, as she battled her way through metastized breast cancer.  Unfortunately, for them both, she lost her battle with cancer three weeks ago and now Elden is continuing the fight, in a style that is entirely Susan’s.  Team Fatty entered the Livestrong Challenge at all four locations and raised over $650,000. He and his team swept the awards here in Philly for fundraising. Philadelphia, alone was able to put together a team of 197 riders, of which, Elden hadn’t met any of them, until last night!  

As for Elden’s speech: Elden spoke with the usual eloquence and sincerity of his blog and one could tell that he was fighting the emotion that clearly overwhelmed him at times.  His message was to continue our fight against cancer with the zeal and drive that brought us to this point, much like Susan’s personal battle.  However, he also, stressed that we should be open about  the impacts of cancer in our lives and the impacts on those around us.   I had the opportunity to speak with Elden afterwards and his sense of humility and grace were clearly evident.  This is a special individual and I look forward to the great things that he will accomplish. 

Elden speaking

Elden speaking

I’m sorry this is blurry, but my zoom wasn’t helping.  This picture is better:
Elden and Dave

Elden and Dave

Elden’s comment before this picture: “Do you mind if I stand on a chair?”  He might be short in stature, but huge in spirit and drive! “Allez, Fatty!” Also, I just want to point out that this was one of my missions.  Mission 3) Picture of me with Fatty and/or Drew.  Check! I, also, have a photo of Drew, but it’s just as blurry as the previous Fatty photo. 
After Fatty spoke, Ethan Zohn (of Survivor Africa Fame) spoke.  He was very good, but I feel badly that he had to follow Fatty.  I don’t think anything could have really followed Fatty. Ethan spoke of his experiences in creating grassroots.com (Soccer movement in Africa to help the end the AIDS virus) and also, his own battle with a rare form of Hodgkins Lymphoma.  Ethan, also, discussed the idea of making your personal story known for others to follow and learn from.  He believes that you need to, “own your cancer” and by owning it you will be able help others.  Good idea! Afterwards, Amos Lee played and College spoke again about not holding back in asking for money. I think I’m going to take this advice seriously.  I started brainstorming with other members of the high command on the way back and I think we’ve got some good ideas! I’m looking forward to the rest of this year and also, to preparing for next year.  Below some more shots from the night and of course coming soon the story of the Livestrong Challenge!
My blurry photo of Drew

My blurry photo of Drew

Ethan Zohn speaking

Ethan Zohn speaking

 

Lucy and Jon on the Yellow Carpet?

Lucy and Jon on the Yellow Carpet?

Today, we made the trip over to Montgomery County Community College in nearby Blue Bell, PA to visit the Livestrong Village and collect the racing bibs, and collectable shirts for our team.  The village was absolutely hopping with activity, as the Livestrong Challenge Philadelphia is completely filled! There will be over 6,000 participants! I am floored by the number of people who are going to arrive for this race.  And that doesn’t even include people who are coming just to support those that are participating!

Livestrong Village

Livestrong Village

In attendance, at the Livestrong Village today, were Eddie George (former Heisman Trophy winner) and Chris Carmichael (Lance’s personal trainer). Unfortunately, they happened to leave just as we were exiting the registration tent! Boo… Therefore, my mission is still incomplete. Mission 1.) Grab a picture with Eddie George.  Mission 2.) Run the Livestrong Challenge  Mission 3.) See if I can snag a photo of Fat Cyclist and/or Drew from Blame Drew’s Cancer. 

I might be able to accomplish this last feat at the Livestrong Challenge dinner tonight at Turbine Hall, in Chester, PA.  I’m looking forward to this swanky affair of dining, socializing, and of course discussing the prevention of cancer.  Keynote speakers tonight will be Ethan Zohn of Survivor Fame, Drew of Blame Drew’s Cancer, Lance’s bud, “College,” Elden (Fatcyclist) and the musical stylings of Amos Lee.  Therefore, this should be a personal discussion of the impact of cancer and what we can do to stop it.  After dinner, we will return to sort shirts, and bags for everyone and then for me (blog and post pictures) then to bed! Cause tomorrow will be an early morning!!!! More to come on this post!