Here we are again. I guess more importantly, here I am again asking for help. Truthfully, I am just the voice of the world, the voice of children watching their parents fight cancer, the voice of a husband or wife watching their loved one undergo chemotherapy, the voice of parents begging to trade places with their baby that saw cancer knock on the door of childhood. Over the past 7 years I have shared my story with people hoping it would help ease some pain, hoping people would see that there is a world of blessing beyond the trying times and hoping to teach there is an ability in all of us to accomplish the impossible……..an ability in all of us to change the world. I have been blessed to witness this countless times. I have seen people change. I have seen the world change.
If you somehow made it to this page without knowing my story, you can read the first entry of this blog. The short version is that in a brief period of time my Dad was diagnosed with leukemia, my daughter Isabella passed away and my wife was diagnosed with cancer. My Dad lost his battle. My wife won hers for 5 years and then cancer made a return visit. My wife is tough though. She went to her second cage match with cancer and was once again the victor. These facts are only part of the story. They are the first chapters of a much longer book that has a joyous ending. If you know me in real life or through this blog or through twitter, you know I don’t choose to focus on the sad facts but instead the blessings that came from my story. Several of those blessings are what brought me to ask you for help yet again. When my Dad’s disease was declared terminal, I decided I would run a marathon to honor his battle. As his son and best friend, I couldn’t just sit back and watch him die. The decision to run a marathon led me to Team in Training and a promise to my father to fight back against the disease that took him from me. It was an easy choice really. He would have done the same for me.
I honored that promise. I crossed my first marathon finish line in December 2004. I will remember that finish line forever. I immediately found my wife, Crea, fell into her embrace in tears and told her that was the hardest thing I had ever done. Other than holding my daughter Isabella in my arms, it truly was the hardest thing I had ever done. Not simply for the pain the marathon wall can bring but because Race Day is my time with my Dad and Isabella. I spend those miles thinking about them and talking to them. It sounds weird I know but I like to think they share each race with me and are at each of my finish lines. Race Day is our check in time. I let myself go to them, reflect on my life…..make sure I am living the life that makes them proud.
When I signed up for Team in Training, it was for one event. That one event changed my life and it helped me to see I can help others change their lives. I went on to mentor and ultimately coach for Team in Training changing my life even further. Seeing hundreds of people cross their first finish line…seeing them raise literally millions of dollars…….seeing them develop a tremendous confidence level about their ability to have an impact…….all quite a blessing.
Seven years have passed. I have raised almost $80,000 in that time span. I have a goal. It is $100,000. I am not sure if 2011 is the year I hit that goal but I certainly can try. I am going to participate in Ironman Wisconsin on September 11, 2011. I am not worried about my time. I am in it for the journey and another long day with my Dad and Isabella….another day to honor the battles won and lost…….another day that brings us closer to a cure for cancer. This Ironman is not an official Team in Training event so I will use other TNT races along the training path to Ironman. The first one of the year, my 11th event as a TNT participant, is Lavaman Triathlon in April 2011. I need your help. The world needs your help. Cancer has taken a break from my family but it continues to impact lives on a daily basis. With that I come to you to help fund more stories of hope. I want the rest of the world to see their wives, their children, their Moms, their Dads, their loved ones beat cancer. I want future generations to have to read about cancer in the history books. I want to win this battle. I have set a goal for this race of $10,000. To help get me there, I am launching the second Hope Next Exit raffle. Thanks to Jeff Webb, @wsearunner on Twitter, we will have a web page showing off the prizes soon (please send Jeff’s family your prayers as leukemia has just touched his father). For now, I will give you the basics.
One (1) Raffle Ticket = $20
Three (3) Raffle Tickets = $50
I will only sell 250 tickets so you have a 1 in 250 chance of winning something
HP Media Smart Server
Gateway 4GB Notebook
Monster Beats Headphones
Punk Rock Racing Gear
HP Photosmart Printer (with eprint technology)
Lexmark All in One Printer
Avatar 3 Disc DVD set
DVD-CD set: Date Night + Glee Rocky Horror Picture Show
More to come but these retail for over $1,500 already
To participate, all you have to do is donate at my Team in Training fundraising site. There is a link to that site at the top right of this page. In case the link is not working, you can simply go to http://pages.teamintraining.org/los/lavatri11/beatcancer . You do not have to do anything special…..just donate through the normal process. I will issue you a raffle ticket(s) and will list all raffle ticket holders as an entry on this blog so you know you are accounted for.
To jump start the raffle, we are going to kick it off on Sunday, January 9th at the Walt Disney World marathon…….day 2 of the Goofy Challenge. If you are unfamiliar with this challenge, it is comprised of a half marathon on Saturday followed by a full marathon on Sunday. I signed up for this event a year ago and had aspirations of testing my limits and pushing hard. Last month, however, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture that will prevent me from running. I am not one to easily bow out of races though so I am going to participate and I will do a lot of walking which will make for a tough 2 days. It will be a big battle for me not to run but I will try to think of the bigger picture…….I am coaching Team in Training Summer Season 2011 which starts in a few weeks and I do have that Ironman I do not want to jeopardize. So……..I will walk. On Sunday my amazing friend Emily Conlon, @goingforgoofy on Twitter, will walk with me for which I am grateful. She is throwing her race to hang with me and it means a lot. Together we hope to get this raffle going by selling one ticket per mile which would mean $520 to beat cancer. If you need further incentive, we will be taking requests to earn your donation. Personally, I think you should ask Emily to kiss a stranger, tackle Pluto, freak dance with Goofy……….something interesting. Either way, if you are near a computer on Sunday, we will Tweet our journey (I am @run2savelives), take your requests and hope that we reach our goal. Either way, I am grateful to you all for reading this blog and for your support. I have recently spent a lot of time reflecting on how I was ever able to raise $80,000. Certainly a good story helped but I could not have accomplished this without tremendous support from family and friends…both the real and virtual kind. Time and time again, I ask for help. Time and time again, you all step up and join me in the fight. $100,000 raised to fight cancer will warrant a hell of a party. More importantly, I want to be at the party we have after they announce that next miracle drug and even better, a cure for cancer.
Your Friend in the Fight Against Cancer