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2016: How could it be 20 YEARS…or 10 YEARS or 5 YEARS? Where does the time go?

4 Feb
[Note: On the occasion of today being World Cancer Day, I finally sat down to write my annual appeal that lives on my PMC donation page and I am sharing it here for your reading pleasure]

 

Many of my college friends will remember the day, in February 1996, the year after I graduated, when I told them I had cancer. During those days, these friends gave me more than I could ever hope to return to them.

Many of my Boston friends will remember when I held my first PMC fundraising event at Harpoon in July 2007. On this day and over the years since, these friends have supported my ride, joined me on the road, and given me more than I could ever hope to return to them.

My Baltimore friends remember learning that my cancer had returned in April 2011. In those days and the years since, these friends and families have been integral in getting me through treatment and the long recovery that followed and incredibly supportive of my PMC efforts despite the fact that many of them have no idea where Sturbridge, MA is. These friends have given me, Michele, and Shannon more than we could have expected, and we can only hope that we can match the generosity of love and spirit that they have shared with us.

When I get on my bike, whether it is in the basement on the trainer or out for ride… it is these moments and these friends who I think about. These moments act as a reminder of what I have been through. The surgeries. The horrible chemo treatments. The unforgiving recovery. That first ride after chemo, all 2 miles of it. The dozens and dozens of blood tests and CT scans. The uncertainty of what is next. These friends motivate me to get over that next hill, to go for that next ride, to spend another hour in the basement on my bike going absolutely nowhere. Because so many have told me about family and friends who have been diagnosed with cancer… or have been lost to this disease. I push and grind and push and grind each year to raise funds for Dana-Farber so that these friends no longer have to worry about the hearing the dreaded words You have cancer or your child has cancer or your mom has cancer.

This year’s PMC, my 10th ride, will be my way to personally celebrate all these people and moments. PMC weekend is always very emotional for me. Being with all the cyclists focused on raising massive funds for a cure and spending time with fellow survivors is always very moving and emotional. I feel like I am either crying or laughing the whole weekend. As this year coincides with my 20th anniversary of my initial bout and the 5th anniversary of my recurrence, I plan to spend a lot of time connecting with friends who have help me and my family through the years and through the treatments and say thank you. I ride the PMC because I don’t know what else I can do to end cancer except raise money, raise awareness, and be thankful for the opportunity to just be able to ride.

So, as I embark on 8 months of training so I can ride 300 miles in 3 days in August, I say to you thank you for all you have given me through the years in your friendship and support and, of course, your generosity. Since you are reading this now, I hope that you will take another moment to help me in the cause to help end cancer in our lifetime. Any amount is welcome, and I am grateful for your contribution. Thank you!

Make your donation to help end cancer today

Consider Yourself Asked

30 Jul

If you are reading this and you have made a donation to my #pmc2015 ride across Massachusetts – again, I say thank you! If you have not made a donation yet, here’s the scoop. This weekend, I am riding my bike 300 miles in 3 days as part of the Pan Mass Challenge. We are raising money for cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. 100% of each donation is tax-deductible and will go to DFCI. Each dollar matters. I ride because I can – I am a two-time cancer survivor. Our goal this year is to raise $45 million and we need some help.

I am asking you to make a donation today. Here’s the link: http://www2.pmc.org/profile/as0171. It will take you a few moments. And it’s simple – your donation will save lives.

Please check out my blog for more stories about my cancer journey and my ride.

Final Training Ride for #PMC2015

28 Jul
HAY! My training partner, Forza-G teammate, and friend Mark and I on training ride in Baltimore County (July 2015)

HAY! My training partner, Forza-G teammate, and friend Mark and I on training ride in Baltimore County (July 2015)

This morning, I completed my final training ride for this year’s Pan Mass Challenge. I didn’t take a selfie (this photo was taken last weekend). I just rode and thought about the people who have shared their cancer connection with me. It’s hard to ride with the sun rising in your eyes that are full of tears. Frankly, you do get used to it.

I set some goals at the beginning of the year – to be a more impactful advocate for cancer survivors, to be a better fundraiser for the PMC, to be a more engaged teammate to Team Forza-G, and to train my tail off. If I can do these things as well as my training has gone, I can rest well. I have already ridden more miles this year than any other year and this month, I have ridden more miles than I have in any other month of my life. After 1,331 miles and an estimated 82,000 feet of vertical climbing, I am officially done training and ready for the PMC.

My focus is now on enjoying my 3-day ride across Massachusetts with my 55 Forza-G teammates and our families, the 5,500 plus riders, the 3,000 plus volunteers, with all of the well-wishers along the route, and without a doubt, with my father-in-law Norm, who will be riding in his first PMC this weekend!

Special thanks to my training partner and teammate Mark D’Agostino for sharing many laughs along the roads of Maryland and Pennsylvania with me throughout the winter, spring, and summer.

Now it is my time to ask you. Will you push on with me? What are you willing to donate today to help end cancer and to see an end to the pain, suffering, and sadness that this insipid disease causes?   What if it was the life of a loved one, a friend, or a college roommate? What if it was your child? What if it was you?

Everyone Has A Reason

21 Jul

I am so thrilled to share this video with everyone. Not because I am in it, although I am very honored and proud of being included. It is because for my many friends and family who only know the PMC through me, this is a chance for me to introduce you to some of my very special teammates on Forza-G.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you:

  • our team founder and insatiable captain Matt Dillis,
  • my great friend and perhaps the best person I know, Jaime Schier, who talked me into doing the PMC,
  • and my fellow cancer survivor Betsy Bowman who inspires me with her humor, spirit, and love of life.

I would love your comments. Thanks to our teammate Jay for conceiving of and producing this video piece.

 

We Are Forza-G

Members of Team Forza-G talk about the origins of the team and why they ride the Pan Mass Challenge. Video courtesy of Last Minute Productions.
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The 2015 ride is 2 weeks away – please help us achieve our fundraising goal by making a donation at http://www.pmc.org/tf0086.

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Where Does Your Donation Go?

17 Jul

I get asked all the time about ‘where does the money go’ from all you amazing donors. Here is a great graphic that shows how the money went to work at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute last year. This year, the event’s goal is to raise $45 million so that the 36-year total will be raised to a very cool and substantial $500 million. Yup, 1/2 a billion dollars to help cure cancer.

Remember: THE PMC DONATES 100% OF EVERY RIDER-RAISED DOLLAR TO DANA-FARBER CANCER INSTITUTE THROUGH ITS JIMMY FUND. Make your donation today

Pan-Mass Challenge: $41 Million in 2014

The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) raises money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund’s lifesaving mission to conquer cancer. In 2014, committed riders, donors, sponsors, and volunteers joined together to contribute $41 million. This chart shows how Dana-Farber uses these funds to bring us closer by the mile.

You can also learn more via the video below which explains “Where The Money Goes” when you donate to my PMC ride. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute President and CEO, Edward Benz Jr., MD, explains the impact of Pan Mass Challenge donations on Dana-Farber’s mission of advancing cancer research and improving patient care. While I have always known that PMC’s support to Dana-Farber is critical to their mission, it is extremely enlightening to hear Dr. Ed Benz highlight specific advances that have been achieved because our collective efforts and contributions.

As you watch this video, I’m sure you will appreciate the importance of the donations you have made. Thank you for your continued support!

17 Days Until the 2015 PMC… Why Will I Be Riding 300 Miles in 3 days?

14 Jul

Why I Ride

This year is my 9th year riding the Pan-Mass Challenge! For a number of reasons, this is going to be a very meaningful ride for me.

I’ll be riding for my dad, who is doing well one year into his treatment for pancreatic cancer.

I’ll be riding in memory of my grandfather, who battled prostate cancer, and my grandmother & aunt, who each battled breast cancer. 

I’ll be riding for my mom, who is a breast cancer survivor.

I’ll be riding for my wife and her family, who saw me through my recurrence just four years ago.

I’ll be riding for my daughter, so that she may never have to face this horrible disease.

I’ll be riding for my many friends who have faced this scourge head on.

I’ll be riding to thank all of those who have donated the money that created the treatments that allowed me to celebrate many birthdays (my own and those of others).

I ride for my fellow Living Proof riders, especially my teammates Diane, Suzanne, Betsy, and Melissa.

I’ll be riding because I can. I am fundraising because I am Committed.

In 17 days, I will hop on my bike and go the extra mile. Actually, I will go 100 extra miles to be exact. I will ride 300 miles (not the mere 192 miles of the official Pan-Mass Challenge), all the way across Massachusetts from the NY border to the end of Cape Cod in just 3 days.

Why? Because we need to make cancer a distant memory.

Please make a donation today to remember those who have passed, to honor those who are stricken, and to end cancer in our lifetime. Thank you!

We are getting closer… every day

4 Jun

I believe that cancer is about to be defeated and I’m doing my part. Please join my effort to find the cures that will wipe out cancer from our world: donate today: http://give.pmc.org/as0171

Here’s a 30 second video showing the results that are being achieved at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute with the money that is being raised. Learn about the research breakthroughs, clinical leadership, and ongoing mission of DFCI.

Where The Money Goes

23 Apr

I am pleased to share this video with all of my donors which explains “Where The Money Goes” when you donate to my PMC ride. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute President and CEO, Edward Benz Jr., MD, explains the impact of Pan Mass Challenge donations on Dana-Farber’s mission of advancing cancer research and improving patient care. While I have always known that PMC’s support to Dana-Farber is critical to their mission, it is extremely enlightening to hear Dr. Ed Benz highlight specific advances that have been achieved because our collective efforts and contributions.

As you watch this video, I’m sure you will appreciate the importance of the donations you have made. Thank you for your continued support!

If you’d like to make a donation today to help the Dana-Farber continue to fulfill its mission, you can – please visit pmc.org/as0171.

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