Now, I know exactly what your thinking…. and No, this isn’t that kind of post… but if you were thinking like I was thinking then you automatically started thinking about this:

Ahhh, yes… old school Double Mint gum commercials. If you thought that commercial was ridiculous you should go to Youtube and check out the rest of them, because they are hysterical. My favorite at the moment is this one:

Now, I didn’t send you here just to look at Doublemint gum commercials. It just happens to be one the big benefits of coming to by blog of randomness from time to time. The purpose of today’s post is to ask you donate to the LiveSTRONG foundation.  This is where you immediately start thinking of the millions of other things that you would rather be doing right now or that you cannot be bothered by this whole idea, or that you’ll get around to it later. Let me outline a few reasons why I think this is a worthwhile donation and overall how it relates to the Doublemint commercials. 

Why you should donate:

1st: The donation to the Livestrong Charity is a donation to aid the 28 million people currently fighting the disease. 

2nd: It is a donation to try to end the number 1 global killer and the number 2 killer in the United States:

3rd: In terms of money raised, The Lance Armstrong Foundation provides more money to actual cancer programming on a percentage basis than is used for any other “expense.” The foundation raised 32 million dollars in 2008 and its administrative costs were just over 1 million dollars. To put this into perspective the Livestrong Foundation provides more money on a percentage basis to cancer research then  the American Cancer Society:

This is where you say, “Prove it!” and I say, “Bring it on!”  Here’s the proof. An independent, non-profit organization named Charity Navigator, which also works like the Better Business Bureau and American Institute of Philanthropy (which also have ratings and guides that you may use to find out how charities use the money you donated) have rated the Livestrong Foundation as a higher donor to programs as compared to the American Cancer Society. 

Check it for yourself: Charity Navigator

4th: Most importantly for this post and the reason for the title is that whatever money is donated by the Game on, cancer team will be doubled through the kind workings of Pfizer, INC.  That means if you donate 5 dollars it will actually be 10 dollars. And because of number 3 more of that money will go to cancer programming!

5th: Remember your donations are tax-deductible! Our government and the fine folks at Internal Revenue Service actually admire the fact that you provide money to charities and cut you some slack on your tax returns!

6th: Are you aware that we are slowly moving to a point where nearly 50% of the population will have cancer in their lifetime. Wouldn’t it be better to start working on a cure now, rather than to wait for you to develop the disease and then think about how you should have done so from the start?

Why you think you shouldn’t donate:

1st: I don’t have enough time: Honestly – It takes 5 minutes, actually probably less Donation Page .  Look I’ve even given you a link to a donation page!

2nd: I’ve already donated: Listen so have I… and donating money that can be doubled is like donating 3 times. If you’re like me, I can’t turn down girl scouts and their cookies or the Salvation army when they are outside the mall… why turn down cancer patients?

3rd: With all of the turmoil around Lance Armstrong, I feel that I’m donating my money to a “villain” or a potential villain.  Trust me: There are few people more than I who will be any less devastated by a confirmation against Lance Armstrong, but I’ve been thinking about this and the more I think about it the more I can look past the cycling career and focus on the fact that this man and his recovery from cancer is still an incredible thing and the message that he puts out is positive about ending a disease that will ravage many of us in the years to come. Here’s my history lesson for the day: How many of us go to Rockefeller Center, go to libraries, colleges, and other educational facilities created by Andrew Carnegie.   How many of you use Windows – remember the story is that Bill Gates sacrificed his partner to take it over himself and now he is promoting the return of half of his fortune to charity. He’s also convincing other billionaires to do the same! The funds for those good endeavours came from the exploitation of millions of workers at the profit of those business tycoons, but yet we do not dare tear those structures down, because now they are viewed as positives in our community. I’m not promoting cheating (if in fact Lance is guilty) but I am promoting the message – The idea to overcome a challenge that seems insurmountable, the idea of promoting positive symbolism to take down cancer, the image of strength in knowledge and power of knowledge to take down a disease that threatens us all. I am for that.

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Real Men Wear Spandex

July 23, 2010

I’ve done it! Purchased a road bike and have completed my first solo and small group ride. The picture above is moments after my first legitimate ride of any distance (10 miles.) You can clearly see how pleased I am to have done it, there even appears to be a little cockiness in the completion of that ride. If there is? It’s completely momentary, because entering into the world of cycling has been a very interesting road. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve followed cycling. I understand the competitive side of the sport, but actually getting involved in the machinery of it… that’s a completely different story. All of the decisions that need to be made: First: Do you want a road bike, a hybrid, or a mountainbike? Do you want clipped in shoes, (road shoes, mountainbike shoes)? What type of pedals? What type of helmet? So many questions… to the point I felt like I was Jim Carrey’s portrayal of the Riddler in Batman Forever… think back to Edward Nigma repeating to himself “Too many questions… Too many questions.” It can be very overwhelming, but thanks to some great advise and research I settled on a Trek 2.1 bicycle.

This bike so far rides like a dream.  And so far in my first two days of riding I’ve really enjoyed the process. Not necessarily the falling and gaining your balance as you step out of or attempt to step of your clips. Yes, I admit it I have taken the plunge fully attached to my bike on two separate occasions. I think that is probably the most interesting component to get used to, well that and the spandex.

Spandex is a very interesting material and I understand the importance in cycling… something that is aerodynamic, breathable, and padded for all the right spots, but for me who was brought up in a very modest fashion, it’s interesting to wear clothes that, “show-off” your body. I will manage and even at some point get used to it. I’m not saying that I will be wandering around my home on casual days in spandex, but that I think that I will be able to wander around others in spandex soon enough. That comfortablity  certifies for me that men who can feel comfortable in spandex truly are in a class all of their own. It takes a confidence and lack of concern of other’s thoughts, impressions, and humor. 

I think for me I will focus primarily on the fact that cycling and owning my bike will allow me to participate in both the running portion of the Livestrong Challenge and the cycling portion of the Livestrong Challenge, to be held on August 21st and August 22nd respectively at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA.  With that in mind, I can focus on what the importance is… which is raising awareness for cancer research and cancer prevention.

Update on the Livestrong Challenge: At this point: the team has raised 1,285.00, which will hopefully be doubled here in the future and we have a few other surprises coming up in hopes of raising some money.  We are as of this moment at 29 days away from the challenge and there is still time to get involved! Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving is the commemoration of the Pilgrim Separatists overcoming the harsh obstacles of establishing a new colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts with the aid of their Native American allies, led of course by Tisquantum or as we know him Squanto.

In thinking about this year’s Thanksgiving, I wanted to focus today’s blog on the spirit of that first Thanksgiving and how the Pilgrims achieved such an incredible beginning, but only with the help and support of others.

This year has been a series of arduous emotional and physical tasks: my father’s passing, the sale of my home, the sale of my grandfather’s homes, the decline of other loved ones into alzheimers. The only way these have been and are being overcome has been with the aid and support of wonderful people, who have been present to add a kind word, make a kind gesture, or lend a helping hand. People have been so generous with their time that I cannot begin to express how thankful both my mother and I are. I know that we wouldn’t have found the strength to continue on without everyone’s time and energy. I have hope that like the Pilgrims, this may become the symbol of greater things to come. Some things have already begun to take shape, such as the creation of gameoncancer on wordpress, Twitter and of course our team for The Livestrong Challenge, and the Broad Street Run! I continue to be thankful for all your support and I hope that we can continue to work together to end cancer for everyone and through this add to everyone’s list of things to be thankful for.

Is It Over?

September 3, 2009

Today, was the first recongition that summer has truly passed me by, because  the fair students of my middle school arrived for their first day of 9th grade social studies. The buses arrived early and eager faces meandered around the hallways, finding classrooms, seeing old friends  and preparing for the days activities. 

This brings me to a question that has eluded me for years… I never understand the greetings that middle school girls have for one another… they don’t see each for maybe 10 minutes, but they act like it’s been decades. When they see one another, they run across the hallway, get to each and without touching squeal in a pitch that angers dogs and sends them heading for the hills.  At the same time the flail their arms in a wild spastic motion, occasionally there is even a bending of the knees as if they were working on a hip-hop dance move?  It’s very bizarre, but happens a great deal.

For me personally, I  still get nervous about the first day of school.  I think this is a good trait, because it means that I still enjoy what I’m doing.  My nerves are so bad that  I usually don’t sleep well the night before and I generally wake up well before my alarm. I plan everything out the night before, pack my bags, set out my clothes just to ensure that I don’t do something stupid and forget to take everything that I need.

Today, was beautiful! The new batch of kids were great. They seemed nice. They seemed excited to be there  and they even laughed where it was appropriate to laugh. More importantly to me, they seemed to understood that I’m just a silly guy who enjoys his material. This day has me excited to teach for the rest of the year. However, by the end of football practice at 5:30 PM. I was spent. It seems that all of my adrenaline and enthusiasm gets sapped out my body and I want to curl into a hole and sleep for a century, but that can’t happen. It’s at the end of the day, that I worry about how I’m going to be able to manage this year.  This year is going to be a make or break for me… Why? Good question! Here’s the answer in a nutshell:

1.) I’m returning to commuting over an hour and fifteen minutes to my job. Now, the commute isn’t entirely awful. I actually quite enjoy the drive into work. It’s relaxing. It let’s me warm up to the day. I get to listen to some crazy tunes and I get to sing at whatever volume I want. Yes, I’m that driver that is dancing behind the wheel and belting out whatever song is on. What I can’t stand about my commute is the drive home…. It n..e..v..e..r…seems … to…. e…n…….d….. Today, I came home at 9:15 PM.  That’s a 13 hour day of work not including the commute in and home! Plus, this was the first day of school! 

2.) With this commute… Can I maintain my packed schedule of activities for the school.  This includes coaching three sports – JV Football, JV Basketball, JV Baseball and I coordinate the 9th grade graduation project!

3.) My own thoughts of professionalism – Creating crazy lessons, grading the endless papers that I assign and genuinely dedicating the “right amount of time to the students to develop positive relationships.”

4.) Maintaining the my parent’s property, selling my own and taking care of my grandfather and my grandmother who has Alzheimers.

5.) Blogging, fundraising, and creating a forum for cancer awareness! This takes a particular precedent.

6.) Running – How can I stop this when I’ve set these lofty goals! Again, this is a precedent.

Looking at this on screen, I have no idea how I’m going to pull this off, but I’m determined. Otherwise, I’m going to have to transfer districts and start anew and that idea alone is frustrating.  It may become necessary for my own sanity, therefore, it will become a very real thought.  In addition, I’m concerned that my own stubborness will overload me and burn me out. For now, I’m optimistic and believe that I am capable of doing all of this.  In fact, I will do all of this.

Right now, it’s after midnight and I need to go put my things together for tomorrow. So I’m going to go to sleep and I will hopefully, be back tomorrow with some running adventures, because I’ve been a little careless after the Livestrong Challenge about getting my runs in…

What’s Next?

August 28, 2009

Now that the Livestrong Challenge Philadelphia has come and gone, the big question remains…. What’s next? 

It seems that since my father’s passing in March, that everything has been geared towards that particularly moment. And now that it has occurred  that we should be finished, but this would demean everything that we have worked for.  I believe that there is still work to be done, maybe not as much for my father, but for others and more importantly  in the spirit of my father. 

What does that mean in the spirit of my father? Well let me give you some insight into the life of my dad. I was fortunate to grow up in a loving home with a stable family.  It was compromised of my mother, Nancy, my father William (Bill), my brother John and me. This isn’t to say that our home was all sunshine and happiness all the time, but that it’s foundation has always been tempered by the greatest materials.  I’ve learned so many great things from my family and a great many of them came from my father.  Of all of  the lessons I’ve learned, I always loved my dad’s unselfish character.  He believed that if you had the ability to help someone it was your responsibility to help them.  More than that, it was simply the right thing to do.

As I grew up, I watched my dad carefully, because he was my hero, my idol, everything I hoped that one day I would embody.   What I witnessed was that were acts of great kindness to total strangers. He gave of himself constantly and in all ways, whether it be, money, clothes, food, a helping hand.  He was always the friendly face to help someone on the side of the road, to bring families (families we didn’t even know) back to our home during holidays to celebrate, because either they had broken down on the side of the road or he had learned that they didn’t have anyone to celebrate with. He did more for his family, but I always was amazed at how giving he was. It is in this vein that I want to continue the fight for my father, because I feel it is my responsibility to fight on to help others, but more importantly it is the right thing to do. My father would expect no less of me and I will not disappoint his memory or my own expectations of myself.

Therefore, to answer the question: What’s Next?  Here is the beginning of my mission statement.  I’m a teacher what do you want from me, I need checklists it makes me feel better:

So with Mission Impossible music playing in the background and I’m talking Peter Graves Mission Impossible not Tom Cruise Mission Impossible… Here’s my mission and I choose to accept it:

1. I will continue to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, I will continue to make strides in cancer awareness, research and aid any all comers that I may through my time or the resources that I find.

2.  I want to continue to organize events to bring people together and raise funds hopefully, in the near future to cross the 10,000.00 mark by October 1st, which means there is very little time left. Also, every year after that I want to increase that amount.

 3.  I want to continue the communication that has begun with some of the people I have met through this site and others, so that we can continue our conversations about cancer,  their personal stories and my own so that our loved ones may live on in our hearts and in our memories. I want to accomplish this because I feel the less you speak of these great people the harder it is to remember their likeness.  However, the more you speak of them, the more “alive” they are, the more you feel that they are with you.

 4. I will continue to challenge myself in running as I have already accepted the challenge to run the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia on May 2, 2010. I have never run a 10 mile race and this will be a huge feat, but I will do the race in support of my friend Scott and his family who have recently been afflicted by the demonic C.  I would love to start a Gameoncancer team for the Broad Street Run! Think about it we have plenty of time to prepare! Broad Street Run Website

5. I will live out everyday in a manner that is fitting to my father’s spirit that supports others and uses every ounce of energy I have.  

I believe that if I can do all of this that I will make a difference in the cancer community, find some continued solace for myself and meet a great deal of people. So here’s my question for you… Who’s with me!? (This is where you start to think of Jerry Maguire) Maybe, I should have made this a Tom Cruise -subliminal post…?

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?