A weekend of fundraising

Holly cow!! What a weekend. It was 48 hours of almost straight fundraising, which means 4 days of no violin practicing =(. Saturday was our team yard sale, which I was really excited about and had really high hopes of success. Mom and I had gone through both the basement and attic and had come up with some pretty great stuff. I had a coffee maker, a juicer, beer steins, a mink wrap, the vintage pashinko machine with balls, microwave, sewing machine, and lots of other stuff. I’m not really sure what happened. I mean I sold some stuff, but not very much, and people really wanted me to practically give things away for free, which is hard to do when you’re trying to raise money for charity. The grand total: just a little over $100. I had tons of stuff left over. No one wanted any of the appliances, which was really surprising! After getting set up at 6am and selling until 2pm I didn’t have a lot of energy left, so I stopped at the Goodwill donation center on the way home and gave what I had left towards another good cause (plus Mom didn’t want to find homes for what was coming home, and I was really tired of moving it all around). Still, it’s $100 I didn’t have before the yard sale.

Sunday was the Nike Team’s Golf tournament at Chastain Park’s golf course. Melissa did an awesome job of putting things together even though we had a hard time finding golfers. I think we had around 30 for the tournament. We also had a silent auction and raffle at the after party as well, but after getting to the course at 12:30 and then leaving around 7:30pm (oh and an 8:45am meeting at church too) I too exhausted to make it to the after party. It did however give me an idea for another fundraiser. So we’ll see how it turns out. We did really good selling beverages ($100 plus tips), so it’s looking like there might be a good split of the proceeds!
I’m almost to 25% of my fundraising goal, so I’m in good shape for recommitment in a couple of weeks. I’m so grateful for everyone who has donated so far, and it’s amazing to think that we’ve been training for 2 1/2 months now. The big mileage is just around the corner (as in it starts in the next few weeks). Maybe you can help! Check out my website and help us find a cure to cancer! http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/nikesf09/bgartley


Today I flew!!

I went for my third run of the week, just a short 4 mile run. I was still a little sore from our strength training clinic at track workout, so I figured this was going to an okay run. I’ve had lots of great runs lately, and I figured today would be the day that the trend would change. Can you really have a great run every time? The first hill was a clear indication that the streak was ending. On top of it all it was really humid too, and I’m not a big fan of running in the hot, humid summer weather of Atlanta. However, one thing that I’ve learned over the last several weeks is that this is not a typical summer of running for me. I haven’t been struggling, or cursing the humidity. I’ve been able to work through it and use what my coaches have taught me and it’s made a world of difference. Today, it was different. I thought it would end up being a run/walk day just to get through it. Something happened around mile 2.5. I don’t know what happened. All of the sudden I relaxed my legs, and started leaning a bit more to use my center of gravity to move me forward instead of my legs. And then it just happened … it was like I was flying. I didn’t feel like I was pounding the pavement, in fact I’m not sure I was really even touching the ground. The only thing I can use to describe it is to liken it to that moment in Titanic at the front of the boat yelling “I’m the king of the world.” I really like flying!! I like to think I was getting a little push from someone looking down on me. After all my Uncle knew something about flying, he was a pilot. Nothing big, just little planes. He actually would help fly with angel flight (hmm… maybe there’s something there) making sure patients could make it to appointments far from home by giving them a free flight. Not that he was athletic or even liked exercising. He had a knack for finding the nearest donut shop or Au Bon Pair (apparently the chocolate croissants were his favorite). But, still it felt like I had something extra with me today. Plus I felt like I could keep going for miles!
I really liked flying!! I have an 8 mile long run coming this week, maybe I can get another flying lesson on that run too. Hopefully I’ll keep flying for a long time!

The Difference a Year Makes

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a year since my uncle Clyde passed from cancer. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag as far as emotions. I went back to the caringbridge website that my aunt and her friends had set up so that everyone would know what was going on last summer as things were unfolding. It’s amazing how quickly things happened, and it’s amazing to read the stories and memories that people posted. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

June 2008, and my Uncle Clyde and his wife went on a wonderful trip to Italy. When they got back they noticed that my uncle had lost a bit a weight, a tall feat after a trip to Italy (having just gotten back from Italy a month ago I can say that there are so many wonderful things to eat there!!). One of my aunt’s friends who is a nurse noticed that my uncle was jandus, and said that he needed to get to the hospital immediately. From there it was a whirlwind 72 hours of shock. He went into the hospital on Friday and was diagnosed. By Saturday they were calling friends and family after getting the diagnoses of pancreatic cancer, and by Monday he had been staged and was heading into surgery. He kept joking about if he came out of surgery. At the time most of us didn’t know much about pancreatic cancer, and thought it he needed to be more optimistic. Apparently he knew something the rest of us didn’t. I started poking around online after getting the news from my parents, and started to discover how hard this might end up being. Surgery is a mixed blessing with pancreatic cancer in my opinion. It’s incredibly hard, not because they have to remove a large part of the digestive system, but because complications are very likely after such a surgery. That’s what happened with my uncle. There was internal bleeding, another surgery, and finally after 3 weeks of fighting, pain, and hysterical 6am phone calls it was over. It was like living a bad dream or having all of the air knocked out of your body.
The problem with pancreatic cancer is that it’s incredibly hard to diagnose. They are no specific symptoms that scream pancreatic cancer, they are all to general. The one year survival rate is 1% and the five year survival rate is 5%. It’s a death sentence, which is why I walked into a Team in Training information meeting 4 days after my uncle’s death. Even though they raise money for blood cancers it was still fighting cancer, and since I was already a runner, it seemed like a good fit. Running has always been a way to help cope with things. A way to help cope after my father’s stroke, or taking care of my parent’s. A way to cope with all of the stress of being a violinist, and staying in shape so that I don’t get injured again. All I had to do was raise money and train. It was an amazing experience, and a way to have something good come out of something that wasn’t good.
It’s been different since Clyde’s death. He was always the clown at family gatherings, A kid trapped in an adult body. I miss the crazy smile, his love of helium balloons, and his good nature. It’s good to remember all of that. And it’s good to fight back, which is why I’m doing another event with Team in Training this fall. It’s time for cancer to go down!