5.31.2007

Climbing for a Cure

So last week I took a hike up Little Devil's Tower in SoDak. It isn't very big as mountains go. Quite a bit smaller than Harney Peak which we climbed a couple of years ago when we were out there. And, which was our destination again this year. But things happen. Things like snow storms. Yeah even in late May. It wasn't expected. And we weren't prepared. Should have been. But weren't. So we looked at the empty parking lot at the trail head for Harney and decided to hike something that had a little less distance to it in case the clouds that were hovering in the distance and looked a lot more threatening than the ones we were being picked on by, decided to dump something much more substantial. Because you don't want to be blindsided miles up a mountain path without the right supplies. You don't want to be lost and be the ones too stupid to have the right stuff with you.

The mini-slideshow...

So we settled on Little Devil's Tower. And along for the ride in my heart? Some familiar names around RelayForLife.org... Mary Anne, who was having surgery the day after we climbed; and Cindy (aka chemogirl1963) who has had a recurrence of her cancer and is beginning chemo once again; and a new friend of mine from my home town, DickS, who also began his own chemo treatments on the same day Mary Anne had her surgery. He is also entering a long-term cancer trial due to the extreme rarity of his particular form of colon cancer.

At The Summit

It took us just over an hour to reach the summit, about a three mile hike. We saw two other people during that time. And one of those was jumping into his pickup truck at the trail head and driving away. The other was a guy who was photographing the arrows sign you see at the split of two trails if you go through the slide show I'm going to try and make into a video some day. It goes really nicely with U2's Beautiful Day. Smile After he took that photo, he hiked back down the tenth of a mile to the parking lot and he too got into his car and drove away. We do not know if he did any hiking.

The fun part about having hiked that day was the story we were able to tell as a result. There was so much chatter going around about the crazy weather pattern that was happening with the very warm weather leading up to the weekend we traveled out and then that day and the couple of days around it very high winds and bad cold and even snow! It was crazy. So we let them chat for a while before we dropped the, "We were up on top of Little Devil's Tower that day," bomb. And then when they would exclaim with surprise that we were on TOP of it??? We'd say that we had wanted to climb Harney, but with the snow, we settled for climbing the tower instead and they'd be amazed that anyone would want to be out climbing in the snow and the winds that day. Because although you can't tell by the photos that the wind was bad, trust me. It was bad.

So Mary Anne, Cindy and Dick... I thank you for being the inspirations for my first Climb for the Cure. I had a fabulous time and want you to know that you were there with me in spirit. And most importantly, I wish you each great health, great peace and great joy.

5.16.2007

Why Relay?

The question is being asked Why are you involved with Relay For Life? So I thought this would be a good time to answer that question. It isn't an easy answer, however.

  • I first got involved with Relay For Life back in 2002. I read about it in my local paper. It caught my eye because my husband, Keith was still recovering from a brain tumor that had been surgically removed the year before at Mayo in Rochester, or technically, at St. Mary's hospital there. We joined the local Hospital Relay team and thought it was a pretty fun time, as well as a very moving and inspirational experience for the survivors during the luminaria ceremony after dark. The next year we created our own family and friends team, Keith's Brain Trust, which we've continued on with every year.
  • The team has continued on, but that has been far from my only reason to be involved with Relay. I'm also involved because after being a part of it that second year once we created our own team, I felt it was important that because we were taking part and utilizing what was put in place for every team, someone from the team should get involved in helping to organize and coordinate the event itself. So the next year, I became a committee member, vowing to myself that I would not leave the committee unless I also found two people to replace me.
  • Another reason I continue are the incredible people that I have met since I got involved. Every year when the event comes along and you go to that track and begin to walk around it with other survivors, caregivers, family and friends of those who have walked the cancer walk, you are there walking with your own kin. You may learn names, or you may not. All the same, you know these people. They are your people. At least for that one night every year.
  • I've also met incredible people through being on the committee. Some of my fellow committee members have been there since the Relay came to our town. Some of them brought the Relay to our town. You don't stay on a committee like Relay from the beginning because you want to be patted on the back for being such a shiny happy person. No, you do it because you have an axe to grind with cancer. You have a goal to see the end of the disease and you want to see it through to that end. These are some awesome people who as they see the committee size dwindling, just pick up more of the tasks and don't b1tch about it. Little introverted me was pretty intimidated walking into this group of strong personalities. But they are simply there for the same reason I am. So I've found that we can work together pretty well. Even when they know I'd rather be hiding under a rock sometimes.
  • But the main reasons I'm involved with Relay? Are contained in the inspiration list I've been working on since I started blogging at 500miles2nowhere. There have been a few problems at Blogger over the years and as a result I know that my list has lost a couple of names once in a while as I don't back up as often as I should. But this is pretty complete. As close as I can get.
  • My Inspirations:
    • Allen
    • Al D
    • Amy (my cousin)
    • Aunt Evie
    • Ardele
    • Barb Pendergrass
    • Bea N
    • Bernadine (Blogger Linda Dasherwood’s Mommy)
    • Bernie O (my wonderful friend and hygienist Barb’s husband)
    • Betsy 2
    • Betsy
    • Betty
    • Bobby Jean
    • Brian P from River Falls – A brain tumor Warrior
    • Bryan
    • Butch (my birthday twin from River Falls and Farkeling buddy)
    • Caryl
    • Cassie
    • Cathy M
    • Charlie
    • Chris Silver
    • Chris T
    • Cissie
    • Claire
    • Connor Dykes (baby brain tumor warrior)
    • Daisy
    • Dalene Entenmann (fellow blogger)
    • Dana (fellow blogger at think_pink.typepad.com)
    • Dawn D from River Falls
    • Dave
    • David M. Bailey (our brain tumor hero – now nearly 11 years survivor)
    • Deb (fellow blogger debutaunt.blogger.com)
    • Diane V
    • Donna R
    • Duke H (fellow brain tumor warrior)
    • Elaine B
    • Elsie M
    • Noelle H
    • Evy N (fellow Committee member)
    • Ruth (fellow Committee member)
    • Mike (former Committee member)
    • Gail M
    • Grant T (fellow brain tumor warrior)
    • Holly
    • Ian
    • Irene C
    • Jack
    • Jackie
    • Jan
    • Jerry (fellow Blogger Dana’s Dad)
    • Jim B (fellow Blogger Heather’s uncle)
    • Joe (fellow brain tumor warrior)
    • Joel L (childhood neighbor)
    • John D
    • Kathleen
    • Katie’s mother in law (my blog buddy Katie)
    • Katie R
    • Keith (fellow brain tumor warrior)
    • Keith Warner
    • Lance (yup. I do it for Lance Armstrong, too. He inspires me a lot.)
    • LaVetta (former coworker)
    • Lenny
    • Linda E
    • Lisa
    • Lisa (former neighbor and fellow brain tumor warrior)
    • Lois
    • Blogger Mark’s grandpa
    • Maria (blogger Silverfox-whispers.com)
    • Marijean (committee member’s mom)
    • Marn (blogger who got me started on 500 miles in the first place!)
    • Mary M
    • Mary Jane
    • Maudie
    • Michael
    • Michael Billet
    • Mike (fellow brain tumor warrior)
    • Mike 2 (another fellow brain tumor warrior)
    • Minerva (blogger at womanlyparts.blogspot.com)
    • Moe (blogger Kristen’s sorority sister)
    • Nancy Lindstrom
    • Noel
    • Norah O
    • Pam H
    • Patti Belfiori (teacher from Kel’s old school)
    • Patti B’s sister
    • Patty S
    • Paula
    • Phil
    • Phil C
    • Priscilla
    • Randy M
    • Randy W (fellow brain tumor warrior
    • Ruth
    • Ryan
    • Sahara Aldridge
    • Scott
    • Shawna
    • Stacey R
    • Steve
    • Sue (fellow blogger Heather’s Aunt)
    • Todd
    • Todd L
    • Tracey
    • Tracey K (fellow brain tumor warrior)
    • Tricia
    • VJ’s mom
    • Vernon (fellow brain tumor warrior)
    • Vicki

    • Uncle Bill
    • Uncle Roy
    • Grandma C
    • Grandpa B
    • Dale Jawarski
    • Marv S
    • Monica Jensen
    • Greg Roy (BTW)
    • Anthony (BTW)
    • Steve Emerson (fellow brain tumor warrior)
    • Andre
    • Nada
    • Annie’s grandpa Carl
    • Gerry C
    • Sarah
    • Tim G (BTW)
    • Vonnie H
    • Ned Neddersen
    • Carl Dietz
    • Virginia Dietz
    • Bob Dietz
    • Lloyd K
    • Faith Wilson
    • Delores S
    • Kathy (BTW)
    • Minnie’s Sis (BTW)
    • Cecilia Ledevehat
    • Mylette Simone
    • Dana Perry
    • Elaine
    • Karen
    • Ruth O
    • Don B
    • Ed S
    • Gwen H
    • Bill H
    • Robert C
    • Olga
    • Dorothy
    • Matt K
    • Sam C
    • Ed S
    • John D
    • Paul C
    • Eric P
    • Olivia S
    • Delores L
    • Hilary
    • Joy
    • Marlene Z
    • Paul Neises
    • Ivan Noble
    • Pat K
    • Leona
    • Vince
    • Wayne S
    • Danny K
    • Scott P
    • Judy Kay
    • Craig W
    • Ena Mae Robb
    • Sunny
    • Peter Jennings
    • David
    • Lori
    • Richard Lee Karpf
    • Dori
    • Ljubo
    • Marge
    • MaryEllen S
    • John P
    • Dana Reeve
    • Eric Shaffer
    • Jim L
    • Anne Milbauer Jo
    • Carol M
    • Jessica (blogger at Cancerbaby.typepad.com)
    • Sydnor
    • Aunt Dot
    • Uncle By
    • Uncle Ken
    • Roger Bleeker
    • Courtney
    • Miles
    • Peter Huseboe
    • Sherry
    • Bud Macbride
    • Kimberly Myers-Gordon
    • Tom McConaughey
    • baseball mom's grandma






5.15.2007

A call for new inspirations...

I'm making a list of new Inspirations not for me, but for those who will be visiting my garage sale later this week. I want them to be inspired so that they will dig deeply into their purses and pockets when they are making their purchases. Yep. I'm not pricing things, ladies and gents. I'm simply saying "Won't you please look around you at the people who inspire me to do this year after year and give generously to the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life?"

Since our last garage sale in May of last year:

  • Our friend Tom passed away.
  • A fabulous woman we had invited to be our honorary chair also died, leaving behind three beautiful little girls, her devoted husband, and her identical twin sister, all of whom are lost without her.
  • A musical brain tumor warrior celebrated his 11th year of survivorship, a true miracle in his case.
  • Our Torch Bearer from the Relay of 2006 entered a trial... and after his condition worsened, had to leave it again. :(
  • I met a gentleman, who is the producer of a local cable news show and is currently editing a small bit we did about the Relay for his show to air next week. He emailed me tonight to say he begins chemo next Tuesday. He is also about to undergo a cancer trial because he was diagnosed in March of this year after a routine colonoscopy. His tumor was considered high-risk for return. People! Get those routine exams! They could save your life!
  • My sister-in-law lost her dear friend Dale. Pancreatic cancer is an awful beast.
  • A little baby was born here in my home town and he had a nasty brain tumor. It was removed and he now has the fun task of going through chemo. But Connor is a tough little cookie and his family will be a part of our Relay ceremony potentially. (click on journal if you head over to his site)
  • A classmate of Keli's lost her dad, Bud MacBride after his battle with a brain tumor.
  • The principal of Kel's high school was diagnosed and battled breast cancer.
  • The head of FBLA at her high school was recently diagn target=blank osed with leukemia and has entered his fight.
  • Another classmate of Kel's lost her very long battle with breast cancer.
  • A coworker of my SIL lost his battle with brain cancer.
  • A teacher from Kel's elementary school was diagnosed with melanoma inside her sinus cavity which has spread to her lungs and liver, and her sister who is battling ovarian cancer.
  • RelayForLife.Org has taken off with fabulous information to be found. Their motto - Celebrate! Remember! Fight Back!
  • Katie's MIL was diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • We lost my Aunt Dot after a very difficult battle.
  • Busy Mom lost her mother.
  • I learned that my friend Beth underwent breast cancer treatments.
  • I met a new friend, Cindy. Chemogirl as she is generally known online, is battling lymphoma.
  • My SIL Diane's father has been in and out of the hospital battling his cancer.
  • My friend Ken at InkJetBlues had a malignant melanoma removed from his shoulder.
This is just a 'top of my head' go of a recent list of inspirations for the garage sale. You can bet it is a running list and much more will be added.

I hope if you have additions to make, you will do so in the comments. Your help in building my inspiration wall for the garage sale will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!