A few months ago the Give to Live Foundation decided that this year's fundraising event called ....
THE BIG RIDE would take this route. Even though I live in Mexico and the logistics of just getting to the ride with my bike and gear is almost insane, I decided to commit. I have had several second thoughts... mostly due to the logistics; and to interests that Lynnda and I have in other areas of endeavor. But a few days ago I received a note from a friend who has helped me with fundraising for several years... Jean Sloan wrote that from her new location in Calgary she would be running a giant yard sale to raise money for the ride and that many people had already pledged everything from a free-standing basket ball hoop to a new guitar and speaker for the sale... not to mention folks who are willing to pledge dollars to the ride. I can't tell you how much Jean's enthusiasm has motivated me in the past, and it was decisive this week, again!
Immediately I set about fixing not only my personal compass, but my donor page on the Canadian Cancer Society so we could get to raising as much as is possible. I received lots of help getting these things accomplished from folks like John Holloway and Brighid Langill, both from the Nova Scotia Chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society who will manage the donations from Canadian sources.
We are working with Livestrong to get live with the donor page there, so that the tax receipts for both Canadian and US citizens can be forthcoming without any problems... the US dollars do actually go to Livestrong, so it is all legal.
Well, other than the logistics of getting to and from Ottawa and Halifax... from Guadalajara... with my new Trek Domane bicycle... the issues shouldn't be too much of a problem. I am already in shape for this ride... although I am not certain how I will react to the weather. It used to be safe to expect good weather in September in the Northeast... but with the recent spring weather debacles I am not certain what to expect. Our rainy season here in Mexico will start next month, so I can train for the rain... but the snow, I don't know. I am riding around 250km per week right now... and after my stint at the CTS (Carmichael Cycling School) in April, I know not to be over confident of my fitness. There will be some great athletes on this ride, and I don't want to let them think that just because I am older, doesn't mean I am old. I hope to be able to stay with the experienced riders, and also to help those who haven't done long multi-day rides get through them.
I am ready for the challenge of fundraising, but there are some things that need to be in place before really launching my effort. I have to remember that we raised $4,000 just last month from my USA friends for the American Heart Association ... I hope we haven't tapped them out. We have lots of expats here in Mexico who have relatives and friends back home who are potentially able to ante-up... I will have a project here during the summer for them.
I need to redo my lists, and check them twice for this effort. I know my friends in Truro will be inclined to donate through the MacDougall clan, but we will try for the Facebook crowd at the site "you know you're from Truro when". Also, since we will be stopping over on September 27th in Truro (hope to be able to set up at Victoria Park) we might be able to have a fund-raising event that evening... with the MacDougall Clan.
So this is just musing about how to get the most for the two Cancer Foundations. This is an interesting year for the ride... we will be donating the funds raised to two entities... both of which spend most of their efforts on leading healthy lives in order to avoid cancer, if not prevent it altogether. Let's see if I can describe the two, just a little.
Starting with funding raised in Canada... we are trying to support Dr. Ryan Rhodes who chairs the Behavioural Medicine Laboratory at the University of Victoria. This group's mission "is to produce and disseminate innovative and population-relevant physical activity and health research of the highest calibre within an environment that fosters collaboration, community, pride, and life balance".
. I completely agree with the strategy of avoidance when it comes to the major disease groups from which humans suffer, like cancer. My personal experience with cancer and with two aortic valve replacements through open heart surgery, goes a little further... if you are healthy when your DNA or environment causes a catastrophic illness, your chance of survival and especially of THRIVEABILITY (my word) goes way up. I am convinced that there is life after all of these events, but one has to first be ready for the event... and then has to take advantage of that readiness and prepare for the next health test. I think that this is what Rhodes' group is about... check them out at.http://www.uvic.ca/research/labs/bmed/
The second beneficiary is the Livestrong organization. I have long been a supporter of Livestrong. In fact, it was www.livestrong.org and at www.livestrong.com that was the source of my inspiration in the days following my own diagnosis of cancer in 2006. From this group I not only learned about my particular cancer; I learned how to source clinical studies that were ongoing; how to properly eat; what questions to ask and also how to track what was happening. Back then I received my first cancer guidebook... I have given out a few dozen to friends and family who have been diagnosed... they are free... check them out here... http://store.livestrong.org/guidebook.html
The reason that I am bringing this up is that some folks have associated Livestrong with Lance Armstrong... and correctly so, he was the founder. As a cyclist and a cancer survivor he also had a lot in common with what I was experiencing in 2006 and with what millions of others were experiencing. But Armstrong is gone, and should be. But what Livestrong is about can't be mistaken for what Lance did away from Livestrong. To this day, I visit the site regularly and receive information from them on nutrition and exercise. This group is about living before cancer; living with cancer; and living a long, healthy life once the battles are won. I encourage you to have a look at this site which has been re-invigorated by the legacy leadership of Doug Ulman who is the President and CEO... livestrong thrives, and needs our help.
I will be back... BRuce