Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why I am fundraising to fight cancer. Part 3

Cancer is not just for the young. Late in 2010 my grandmother was killed by cancer.

And when you grow up, I want you to be a  blogger! 

Adding to an already rough year, her death really caused me to consider what life is, what death is, and what all of this means. I cannot report that I have any answers yet, but I'm still looking. 

My grandmother was 76 when she died, which may sound old, but considering her mother lived to be 94 is actually fairly young. My grandmother had twenty years stolen from her by cancer. Grandma was a talented musician, a great adventurer, a keen game player, handy with a saucy joke, and was just generally great to be around. I spent a lot of summers and weekends both at her house and camping with her and Grandpa in the camper he built from scratch. Their home in Cedar Rapids was one of the places that hadn't really changed a whole lot in my lifetime; when I was younger we moved around a lot, but Grandma and Grandpa had bought their house the year I was born, and up until last year it had been a constant unchanging place in my life, as she had been.

266 Crandall Dr NE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 
Every year I could count on a card from her on my birthday, and a phone call. In addition to my birthday, she would send a card for every holiday; St Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, Veteran's Day and even Earth Day now and again. This will be the first birthday I don't get a card from her. The first in 38 years now.

That makes me sadder than you can imagine; not just for me, but because my daughter won't get to experience the greatness that was Elnora Husman. I could type a thousand words here about her, but I don't know how much of it would be read and appreciated, and how much would be just me telling disjointed stories and making myself sad.

I saw Grandma a week before she died; I went to Kansas City where she was staying with Mom and Dad. I had seen her earlier in the summer when she first came to stay with them, when she told us all that the cancer that she had been fighting since 2007 had returned. We all thought it was in remission, but it came back with a vengeance and didn't leave any room for any options. She faded and got worse over the summer and, despite all of the valiant efforts of the physicians in Kansas City, she was sent home to hospice care at my parents house at the beginning of November. I went up to help Mom take care of her because Dad had a conference out of town, and to spend a few days with Grandma one on one. I helped move her and lift her, because by the time I made it up she was far too weak to walk or even sit herself up in bed. I sat quietly with her and tried to talk to her about things that were "important", but I had no stomach for it; I tried to tell her how important she was to me, and how happy I was to have her as part of my life, but I found myself out of words a lot and unable to say some of the things that I now wish I'd said.

She died on November 11, Veterans day. I woke up that morning as usual to my daughter hollering "get me" from her room - and  when I went in I found Grandma's picture in Anna's bed. Anna had put the picture on her bedside table a few months before, and in fact insisted that it be kept there. I picked it up from the bedclothes just as the phone rang. One of the great pleasures in my life is that every year on Veteran's Day, my father calls and thanks me for my service. In 2010, at 6 AM, he was calling to tell me that Grandma (his mother) had just died. I stood there holding a picture of her that I had just taken out of my daughter's bed and cried like a little boy. Cancer Sucks.

Elnora Mae Husman 1934-2010

I have raised lots of money to try to help fight cancer, but it's not nearly enough. Not enough from me, not enough from you, and I fear not enough from everyone in the whole ride. I hope that what I raised (with your help) will make some kind of difference. If you haven't donated, please do so. Thanks for indulging me my cause the past few months.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Once more unto the breach, my friends.

First, for perspective, I want you to see the amounts that the top ten TEAM fundraisers have raised for the Tour de BBQ. This is groups of people, people.

Top Ten Teams

Tour de BBQ 2011

  1. KC Central Naz - $520.00
  2. Team St. Paul's KCMO - $360.00
  3. SPIN! - $300.00
  4. Illini for Phylis - $235.00
  5. Heavenly Nails - $195.00
  6. MOD Riders - $100.00
  7. Team Roadkill - $100.00
  8. Aldersgate - $75.00
  9. Team NDC - $20.00
  10. Team Holmes - $20.00

Now I will show you the top ten individual fundraisers. 

Top Ten Fundraisers

Tour de BBQ 2011

  1. Steve Tomac - $1,210.50
  2. Justin Husman - $1,025.00
  3. Carrie Helfers - $1,000.00
  4. Andrew Warren - $520.00
  5. Craig Henwood - $355.00
  6. Jonathan Nye - $300.00
  7. Stacey Corrado - $245.00
  8. Niki Fehling - $170.00
  9. Titus Fehling - $150.00
  10. Michael Alexander - $150.00
Proof here.
As you can see, I am back in second place, and have accomplished my goal of raising 1/15th of the total event goal.  Steve came out of nowhere with a breakaway, but I am "reeling him in", as they say. This is the last time I will ask you to donate, if you haven't already.  The ride takes place on Oct 1, and I will be on the road to Kansas City with my lovely daughter on Thursday, so I am effectively done fundraising as of Wednesday. 

Thanks again to all those that have donated. The list is very long, and I would like to thank you  all individually, but I won't, because I'm real bad with thank you notes. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for your generosity. When I started this process, I set a goal of raising $500 - and I was scared that I wouldn't make that. Instead, I have raised more than twice that, and some if it was even from blog readers, which makes me feel like I have actually accomplished something by writing here in fits and spurts. 

I do have one more post that I want to finish before I ride, and I hope to do that tomorrow. 

In the meantime, please take a second and drop a few coins in my cup if you haven't already. 

Something about this photo seems wrong. 

Thanks again for even reading this dreck. Thanks even more for supporting me in my charity drive. 

Monday, September 19, 2011


Top Ten Fundraisers

Tour de BBQ 2011

  1. Carrie Helfers - $970.00
  2. Steve Tomac - $945.50
  3. Justin Husman - $815.00
  4. Craig Henwood - $355.00
  5. Jonathan Nye - $300.00
  6. Stacey Corrado - $245.00
  7. Andrew Warren - $175.00
  8. Niki Fehling - $170.00
  9. Titus Fehling - $150.00
  10. Michael Alexander - $150.00

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rough Day.

Top Ten Fundraisers

Tour de BBQ 2011

  1. Steve Tomac - $920.50
  2. Justin Husman - $815.00
  3. Carrie Helfers - $620.00
  4. Craig Henwood - $355.00
  5. Stacey Corrado - $245.00
  6. Andrew Warren - $175.00
  7. Niki Fehling - $170.00
  8. Michael Alexander - $150.00
  9. Benjamin Andrews - $100.00
  10. Jonathan Nye - $80.00

So if you are waiting to donate please stop waiting. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ominous rumblings - fundraising check in, Tour De BBQ 2011

Thanks to another donation, I remain in first place - but once again, an usurper is nipping at my heels.

Top Ten Fundraisers

Tour de BBQ 2011

  1. Justin Husman - $815.00
  2. Steve Tomac - $750.50
  3. Carrie Helfers - $600.00
  4. Craig Henwood - $355.00
  5. Stacey Corrado - $245.00
  6. Andrew Warren - $175.00
  7. Niki Fehling - $170.00
  8. Michael Alexander - $150.00
  9. Benjamin Andrews - $100.00
  10. Kathy Lung - $70.00
This time it is Steve Tomac. Now, I've never met Steve, though I'm sure I will ride next to him at some point, but I do know that he is creeping up on my total at an alarming rate. The good news is that all of the money raised goes to fight cancer. The bad news is that I'm going to ask you again to please donate a few shekels to my cause, if you haven't already done so. I will call on my wife's Greek heritage and ask you all to help me keep Steve Tomac in second place. 

Madness? This is The Tour De BBQ! 

 Even a couple of dollars donated would mean a ton - both to me and to the University of Kansas Cancer center. Do you drink Starbucks? Throw me that $4.50 one day. Do you use gas in your car? Save me the amount you would pay for a gallon of regular. Do you do bottle service at the hottest bar? Invite me along, because that looks like fun. Then slip me your $5.00 donation under the table. Are you a bicycle obsessed crazyperson like me? Don't buy one accessory this week, instead donate to a good cause.   
If you have donated, please accept my deepest thanks. If you haven't donated, please, please please I ask for anything - it does go to a good cause, is tax deductible, and will make this blogger tear up with joy. 

Thanks guys. 
By the way, you can donate by clicking here

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Truck on the trail.

Sorry for my extended absence, but my "pro" blogging gig has kept me too busy to post over here. Before you dismiss my link as shilling, I'm pretty proud of the stuff I'm writing over there - you try to make lists about renters insurance over and over again, and make them interesting. I bet you can't - and I'm not sure that I did either, but there you go. Either way, my scheme is working, and I am gradually crawling my way up on Google rankings as a result - from nil to page 4 is not too shabby work for 1500 words or so.

I am back into the swing of riding, and feeling pretty good about myself. I did try to go for a longer ride on Labor Day, but the wind was terrible, and I found myself lying by the side of the road about twenty miles in, with my chest heaving like I just started riding. This weekend I'm working the RV Supershow, but I'll do my best to squeeze in a ride on Sunday morning. I need to do at least 35 or 40 miles in order to build up to the tour, and since I have been riding in to work I feel confident that I can pull it off. By the way, if you are at the supershow, please stop by my booth and say hello - if you pull the blog up on your iPad or smartphone and show it to me, I'll be happy to autograph my work free of charge.

I am still working on what (for me) has been the hardest of my "why I ride" posts thus far, but you can look for most likely early next week. Today, however, I want to complain a little bit about the bike path that runs along Renner Road in Richardson. Well, I suppose I'm not complaining about the path, but the contractors that are working on the water lines (or electrical lines, or whatever it is they are working on) beside the path. Why do I complain? Because of this.

He folded the mirror while I fiddled with my phone
A truck, all up on the bike path, with two construction workers sitting inside drinking coffee. There was no work going on anywhere near the truck - there was further down the path, but not right here. While normally this would just be an annoyance in this case it was worse, because of either the drought or the zealous edging that Richardson parks department workers do, there is a HUGE gap along the edge of the path - which makes it exciting for me to hop off and go around a kncuklehead who thinks that this is a parking lot.

Mind the gap
If you look, you will also see that the truck was at the end of a nice curve, so it wasn't readily apparent to me as I came upon it. I did avoid it, and rode off of the trail and onto the grass, but then again I have Danny level handling skills. By the way, there is a parking lot approximately 50 yards up the path, and Renner road at this time of the morning is pretty empty.
That street looks too dangerous to park on. 
Continuing down the path I saw several more trucks, and backhoes - the trucks were parked on the streets and in the grass, and the backhoes were working on digging up whatever lines needed to be dug alongside the trail. All without being on the bike path, unlike what I assume to be their supervisor. In the greater scheme of things, this is a relatively minor complaint - but I think that it is an important one. Sure, you are working alongside the path, fellas - but why do you need to park on it? This is my highway, not yours, and I ride paths so I don't have to interact with cars all that much; it makes my ride that much better. Your truck ruined my ride yesterday, construction workers, and I wanted to let someone know about it. 

In other news, I am still the first place fundraiser for the Tour De BBQ with over $800 raised to fight cancer. Have you made a donation to my fundraising effort? I surely would appreciate anything you can put in to help the cause - even if it's $5 it will help to make a difference. This ride is raising money to help the University of Kansas Cancer center make the next leap in the availability of treatment for those affected by cancer. Please, if you haven't donated, click here and do so. The time to raise funds is short, and there is no time like the present. You are going to read about my experience at the race; please support my efforts to raise 1/15th of the total fundraising goal. I am not far away.