...each year I do a cycling fundraising event the 24 Hours of Booty to fight cancer - it's an official LIVESTRONG event but also supports local Charlotte charities. The organizers asked if you could choose anyone - who would you like to have ride on your team in 2010...my answer
I did my first 24HOB in 2005 (my first cycling fundraiser of any kind) in honor of my cousin Dale Lewis. I'll never forget the impact it had on Dale when I asked him if it was cool that I ride in his honor. It really surprised me how much it meant to him. Dale and I talked often during the months running up to Booty - we re-established an old friendship and I know my 24 Hours of Booty efforts brought him joy and inspired him during the worst (and they were very bad) days of his fight with bone cancer.
I've had an old post it note on my wall for five years - it simply says "Call Dale". That note was (and remains) a reminder to give Dale a call every once in a while - one of the things we talked about was plans* for Dale to come ride with me in 2006 - sadly Dale passed away four months after that first Booty ride. (Dale a lifelong dairy farmer lived in Woodstock, VT)
I am thankful everyday for 24 Hours of Booty for many reasons but especially because without it I would never have reconnected with Dale or found the inspiration to start a cycling team and to make the 24 Hours of Booty the first thing I put on my calendar each year.
So who would I like to ride with?......I think you know
We realize there are a number of ways to give and some remarkable causes - we hope you'll consider our physical effort and commitment should you decide to contribute - maybe you have someone you'd like us to honor - for every $50 donation we'll wear a button of your loved on our jersey (one for you too) and ride in their honor! It's very easy to donate** online simply click on the link below to make a donation.
Any size donation is greatly appreciated - Thank you for your generous donation!
OK so now that I have your attention ~ who's to say it won't be the $1800 Maureen's "Clan Russell" team will raise in this year's Avon Walk Boston, or who's to say it won't be the legions of Alex's Lemonade Stands or the Yellow Army of Livestrong Challengers, or Komen in pink, or the millions of Relay for Life(rs) in purple...or YOU! Somebody's fundraising dollar is going to be the one dollar that gets us over the hump!
The point is if you have a story to tell (and you do) please tell it ~ honor your loved one and use their story to motivate yourself and then leverage it to engage, motivate inspire others to give or act or both. We're not going to cure anything unless we first cure apathy. Maureen Russell has apathy in a headlock and she is well on her way to charity walk infamy - her resume in part Avon Walk - Boston '08, '09 Medical Crew - New York '09 Medical Volunteer: Susan G Komen 3-Day Walk & ACS Making Strides Against Breast Cancer - Boston ‘08
So what motivates Maureen, what's her story?...Shirley. In Maureen's words...
We are "The Clan Russell." In the tradition of Appalachian Trail hikers, our name was given
to us - by a volunteer at the Avon Walk - Boston ‘08. I walked. My husband, Mark, and son, Ian, crewed – hauling tent and gear. It made a lot of sense for us as a family. My sister is a breast cancer survivor – as is my mother. My aunt was not as lucky; she died several years ago from breast cancer. When I signed up to walk Boston ’08, our sister-in-law, Shirley, was battling the disease.
A long story - made short. I became committed to becoming healthy two years ago. Since that time I have done things that I had never thought possible. Into my early 50’s, one word described my exercise program: “non-existent.” I could barely see my toes, let alone bend over and touch them. A good diet, and a personal trainer program helped get me into shape. In the spring of ’08, I began to look for new challenge – and found The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
There is simply nothing else like it. After closing ceremonies we were hooked. The experience was so powerful for us that we registered immediately for ’09. This year there will be four of us in Boston, as our daughter, Annie, also joins the crew. I’ll be walking in Boston, and joining the Medical Crew as a nurse in New York in October. We had hoped to walk and crew in Shirley’s honor this year, but must now do so in her memory. We lost Shirley to breast cancer last summer. A black belt karate instructor – she taught us all what it means to “Fight like a girl!” She didn’t deny her cancer – she defied it. We miss her terribly. The pins we’ve ordered from Buttons of Hope are meant to show everyone why we’re here – so that one day our daughters may wear pink ribbons in their hair… not on their shirts.
Thank you Maureen for sharing your story you are inspiring others and honoring your sister Shirley. If you'd like to support Maureen's team click here and/or if you'd like to put a dent in that apathy ...well I've got a just the medicine!
Lance Armstrong, so what's he really like? Did the 7 or 8 minutes I spent riding with him change my life? Actually yes it did. Lance has been an inspiration and hero for me and knowing that people can go their entire lives without meeting their hero how could it not be life-changing! Basically he was a really nice guy, quick to laugh, funny but what most impressed me is he was engaged in our conversation & sans sunglasses, seeing a person's eyes while talking makes a huge difference. (I actually let him get a word in ...I think?)
So how did all this come about? As many of you know my wife Rhonda and I started a cycling team Mojoriding in 2005. When you start riding "road bikes" you learn fast that the best rides are charity rides, that's how I became what I like to call an "accidental fundraiser". I am by no means the best fundraiser on the team, far from it but I suppose I had a hand in motivating, sometimes begging the Mojos to raise over $125,000 the past 3 years in the 24 Hours of Booty** to benefit Livestrong. So thanks to my good friend Spencer Lueders and in larger part my cycling team Mojoriding I got to ride with Lance in his beloved killer Austin hill country (emphasis on hill!) **24 Hours of Booty is an amazing event started by Spencer Lueders who rode 24 hours straight the inaugural year (more about Spencer and Booty here)
Rhonda and I were invited guests of Spencer and the 24 Hours of Booty team for the annual Ride for the Roses | Lance Armstrong Foundation events in Austin TX on October 24. I was the very lucky cyclist in a group of 30 well deserved cyclists|top fundraisers who got to meet, ride and talk with Lance one on one. With well over 17,000 Livestrong Challenge participants and countless cancer survivors nationwide and knowing that every one would give their granny gear to ride with Lance I consider myself very lucky indeed!
OK, so back to Lance. We met on a picture perfect Saturday afternoon at a winery in the Austin hill country, which is best described as stepping into your favorite western movie, desolately beautiful. Oh...sorry first let me step back and tell you about Friday night and The Salt Lick in Dripping Springs TX.
As part of the Yellow Jersey contingent we were feted like royalty -- so of course we should get the chance to see the King (or as Lance calls him the President) of Texas, the indomitable Willie Nelson. So get this, on Friday night we are shuttled out to The Salt Lick for an open air Texas style BBQ fest and then a private show with his excellency Willie! (I felt at any moment JR and Bobby were going to show up). Momma's might not be so bad to let your babies grow up to be cowboys after all...part II in next post
Yes it's true (we've pinched ourselves repeatedly) Rhonda (my lovely wife) and I are off this weekend to participate in the Ride for the Roses LIVESTRONG cycling event in Austin Texas. We are guests of the 24 Hours of Booty Team and its founder, my good friend Spencer Lueders. And YES we are going to meet Lance ~ in fact if all goes as planned I will have the honor of riding with Lance on Saturday (check back here for pictures and giddy commentary)