I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season. As we left it last letter, We were beginning to set up a bone marrow drive in April, our Easter Egg fundraiser in March and a big splash event with HMS racing in September. These have all progressed since the last letter. We have also gotten a Tech student on board who has received a bone marrow transplant from his brother. Tim Copeland is doing better and will again be attending classes this semester. He is one of three persons that I have come across on the Tech campus who has a form of Leukemia. He wants to do his part for the cause and will help us promote our upcoming events as someone affected by this terrible disease. Our Easter Egg fundraiser is starting up in full force this month. We will be soliciting donations from area businesses for gift certificates etc. These will be placed in eggs for people to win. They buy the eggs, and will hopefully at least have a one in eight chance of drawing a prize. Last year we raised $1300. This will go well right before our drive,as the money will be timely. I'm still looking for help on this event. Anyone interested in helping please email me or call. Our drive will be either one of the days of April 23rd,24th and 25th or a combination there of depending on interest. We have $1200 already in reserve from our last drive for typing, so we have a good start. We would like to especially place an emphasis on minority donors as their typing is free. I have been dropped a hint from the coordinator that this funding might not be available next year. So this might be the last opportunity for minorities to be typed for free in this area. If you have any contact with area minority organizations, please get the word out. Our HMS event is progressing. It looks like it will take place in September on the 3rd or the 4th at The Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center. Courtney from HMS racing is going great guns and has gotten The Parents of Baby Henry and Lisa the publicist from NRV speedway on board. We have contacted a purveyor to charities of autographed memorabilia for some interesting items. The requests from various celebrities is ongoing and I have either received items or commitments from Michael J. Fox, Terry Bradshaw, Minnie Driver, Bobby Bowden, Roger Staubach, and Leelee Sobiesky. Not too bad for this early on. For more information on any events or to see what we've done previously, please go to our links page or schedule of events. Again, I hope everyone has a happy New Year. May it be better than the last.
February 2002 Newsletter:
I hope everyone had a great January. We are starting into February, bringing Valentine's day. In this, the month of "LOVE", we hope that people remember those suffering from a blood related cancer. Sometimes when people are diagnosed with a life threatening illness, it can be easy to forget about them. Especially if they have to spend a lot of time in the hospital. For most people suffering a from a blood related cancer, they are removed from our lives, and their own, and are relegated to a different world, full of tests, chemo therapy and other not so pleasant hospital experiences. I would like to ask everyone to give the true gift of love and become a voluntary bone marrow donor. As Someone once told me, "It could save someone's life and change our own." Our Easter fundraiser is coming along. I have received or been promised, over $800 in retail gifts from area merchants such as The Salem Avalanche, Munroe Muffler and New Town Fitness. For a more detailed list, please see our links page and click Easter Egg Hunt/Raffle. This month we will be setting up places, times and dates where we will be setting up. The Team in Training spring season is under way for this area. I attended the fundraising clinic this past Thursday, 1/31/02. There were only three people in attendance. For those of you who would like to do something in the fight against Leukemia, but don't know how, this is a good means. You can walk, run or a mixture of both, a marathon or half marathon, in such places as New Orleans, San Diego, or Walt Disney World. It is by no means an easy thing, and there is some fundraising involved. But if you consider what a Leukemia or Lymphoma victim goes through, and the fact that it is something they can't do for themselves, the hardship pales in comparison. Besides, Oprah did it. For more info see our links page and click TNT. We are also progressing on our Gala event for September with HMS Racing Marrow Program. We are (I say we, but actually it is Courtney) getting some key figures involved that I feel could make this a very successful event. NASCAR will be involved. I'm not sure the extent yet. Our theme will be an Americana flair to commemorate The 9/11 tragedies, since it will be almost the year anniversary. We are contacting small town festivals across America for info and recipes. We will also be holding a silent auction for celebrity paraphenalia. There will be some Hendrick items there (he owns Jeff Gordon's and Terry Labonte's NASCAR teams) and some interesting stuff from a supplier to charity events, which I don't know what it will consist of yet. We also have donations from Jerry Springer, Leah Reami, Jennifer Connely, Matt Damon, Bobby Bowden, Coach K of Duke, Nancy Wilson of Jazz, Heather Paige Kent, Terry Bradshaw, Lonestar and promises from Roger Staubach, The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and Michael J. Fox. Mostly autographed pictures, but Jerry Springer did send me a certificate for four VIP passes to a future show. Every once in a while something interesting turns up. For more information on The Hendrick Marrow Program please see our links page. Our next planned marrow drive at Virginia Tech will be either the 23, 24, or 25 of April, or a combination, or all three depending on interest and funds raised. Please keep an eye out for information. I will keep it updated here. Have a swell February, and here's me hoping that everyone has someone to share that Valentine's day with. Be happy and healthy, and remember those that aren'
April is upon us. First I would like to recap our Easter fundraiser. It raised $450. I had set a goal of $1000, but charitable contributions are tough to come by this year. It is $450 we didn't have last week, and with the donations garnered by The Red Cross Club and APO Fraternity, brings to a total of $800. This should enable us to type 30 people at our drive in April. We are still expecting some funding from The Hendrick Marrow Program.
Speaking of our April drive, dates have been set. April 23 will be the informational meeting with Steve Lovelace the coordinator for the area. I wish everyone would come out and see what is involved in registering to be a potential donor. April 24th we will be typing minorities only. Minority typing is provided for by The US Navy. This may be the last year and the last drive that this funding is available. April 25th typing will be open to everyone. Again, we may type unlimited minorities. We will type everyone else on a first come first serve basis until funding has run out. Still, everyone should come out to get typed who would like to be typed, and we will make a list of people unable to be typed for a drive in the fall.
We had our first meeting for the Hendrick gala event on September 4th. Attending were Courtney of The hendrick Marrow Program and her Mom, Lisa of NRV Speedway, Michael Kidd a driver at the speedway, Kymn Hamley of The United Way and The Christiansburg Rotary and Fran Schezyani of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Oh, and I was there. We basically layed a foundation for who to invite. For updated meeting info, please visit the Gala site under our links page.
That is all the news from this corner. I hope everyone is doing well. Please remember those that are less fortunate.
JUNE 2002 Newsletter:
I would like to say hello to everyone. I am writing this letter with heavy heart. The news of my friend Jennifer's passing has hit me very hard. The reason I got involved with trying to set this up, the reason for the contacting of all these agencies, the reason we knock on doors, the reason we write over a thousand letters, emails and faxes, the reason we sit out in the cold or the rain or the heat passing out brochures and peddling for money, that reason is gone. None of it helped and nothing done in the future will help. After a 17 month, valiant struggle and one month shy of her 24th birthday, she passed on.
It has been an overly hard year. Though we've pulled in several organizations, like The Red Cross, The christiansburg Rotary and The Hendrick Marrow Program, I've lost two friends. Most people volunteering have gone by the wayside, so that BAVAL should be shortened to volunteer instead of volunteers. It makes me wonder why I keep fighting, why I write these things that no one reads. Then I think about Jennifer and what a beautiful smile she had. I think about it and I get mad.
So I will continue to write these. I will continue to place information on here for the New River Valley. I will continue to do all the other things I've listed, even if I'm the only one left who reads them or who cares. I will hold onto the hope that by doing so, I may help someone. If I can help one person, just one, it will be worth it. It's extremely personal now. But it won't bring her back....
AUGUST 2002 Newsletter:
I'd like to apologize for my lateness. I've been out of town and my training for marathon running has taken most of my time. Plus I've had some trouble in editing this site.
As I said I am training to run a marathon. The informational meeting will be August 28th at the Blacksburg library. The two marathons are the Mardi Gras Marathon in February and the Disney Marathon in January. As I said i plan to do a TNT website complete with a training log and all that I encounter on my quest to complete this grueling event. As soon as I can get my scanner back up, hopefully next week.
Light the Night Is October third. There will be a hot air balloon and they are looking to have a NASCAR showcar there. There will be other forms of entertainment. It is a nice family event. An easy way to raise money for a cure.
As I said I have space reserved for September 18th. I am trying to put together the event we did last year, but am a bit behind. I'll make it tentative, but should be set by next months newsletter. I hope to use this to raise money for the TNT participants for the winter.
I have a ton of things to get done in the next two months. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I hope this finds everyone well
September 2002 Newsletter:
Late again. Seems like I have so much to do and am not getting any of it done. There is a new link for NRV TNT on our links page. I have signed up for the Mardi Gras Marathon in February in 2003. There were several people at the informational meeting, and not as many at the fundraising clinic. There will be a shoe clinic on Sept. 19th, and the group runs every Saturday at 7:00 a.m.
I have changed the date for Nite at the Races and am going ahead with it. I have 47 different celebrity items to auction. The new date will be September 29th at 6:00 p.m. All money raised will go to sponsor TNT participants, and ultimately toward a cure.
Light the Night is coming in just 4 weeks.
I've been promising a TNT website of my personal journey. I am going to work on that after I finish this page. I was going to publish general NRV stuff, but since they already have done a page, I will just put a link to it
October 2002 Newsletter:
I'm not even going to mention how late I am this month. My schedule just keeps me very busy. This last month was The Light the Night Walk, I held The Nite at the Races fundraiser and my training continues for running a marathon in February.
Cassandra Fowler of OTS at the Vet Med School is attempting to put together a drive this November for students over there, and we are still trying to tie up loose ends from our April Drive.
Light the Night was very successful again. It is one of several such walks held in Virginia and is the most lucrative. The atmosphere was great from my perspective. There was a hot air balloon, a NASCAR show car, and several mascots and radio personalities there. Over $50,000 was raised. It's only my second time, but I thought it was far and above the first one I attended.
The Nite at the Races was successful in that we raised money and had some more press. But there were only 8 people attending. I am at a loss on how to get the word out for people to attend. I guess the best thing that came out of it were several offers to help promote it should i do it again. I've come to realize that my strengths lie in the set up of an event and not the marketing of it.
My training is coming along nicely in that I have it mind to actually qualify for Boston in April '03. That would be a 3:10 time and is an outside shot, but my speed has picked up and there are four months left so I won't rule it out. I have raised $500 so far out of my $3000 goal, and have just sent out my campaign letters. I am running for my friend and for a local boy Ross Andrew. Ross was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was 6. He is 13 now and has been off of treatment for 2 1/2 years.
Sometimes when fundraising or other things I attempt don't go well, I feel like Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Unfortunately, these windmills are not visions. they are real life and death dangers. So I continue....
Hello everyone. I hope your holidays are going well, and you are able to spend time with the ones you love. I hope everyone remembers that this is the season to remember others; family, friends and those less fortunate than you. Thanks to a very special person, I choose to remember those suffering through blood-related cancer, but there are plenty of others going through equally trying times. As I've been told "we all have our sad stories". Some are just sadder than others.
This has been a trying year. My friend passed away after a 17 month struggle with Leukemia. I've found that people who can get interested in trying to put something together can get uninterested just as fast. But I've also learned that this is worth fighting for. That there are plenty of other people out there who want to fight this, or need a way to fight this. If nothing else I can provide them that opportunity.
I just finished raising money for my marathon in Febraury. That brings funds raised for the LLS over the last two years at @$6000. We have put together over $14000 for typing of prospective bone marrow donors. Sometimes it feels like we accomplish little for all the work we put out, but this is nothing to sneeze at.
I'm not sure where we stand for the coming year. I'll try to get in touch with interested parties in January to talk about another marrow drive. I need to finish my Marathon, then see if I would like to do another. From that the door is wide open. I wish everyone well.
March 2002 Newsletter:
Hello everyone! I hope everyone is ready for spring. Spring is my favorite season. Like a rebirth every year. I'm busy this month. Spring break has started here on The Virginia Tech campus, so I have one week before the students return and our efforts to complete preparations for our bone marrow drive in April begin in earnest. Our Easter fundraiser, as of now, will be at The Christiansburg Wal-mart on Sat. March 23rd and in NRV mall on Sunday March 24th. I am still looking for a couple of dates on campus that week. For more info click on the site on our links page.
I've talked to The Red Cross Club and APO at Tech, and they have great ideas for raising funds for the April drive. I've also had a new volunteer who has an idea for a concert benefit at The Lyric Theater. Our first planning meeting for our September event with HMS will be March 26th (tentative). The Light the Night committee has started up, and The Light the Night walk will be October 3rd in Vinton. Their next meeting is March 5th in Roanoke.
As you can see things in spring are very busy indeed. For more info on any event listed above, please contact me at my email on our contact page. If you have any other ideas on events for fundraising or creating public awareness, also please contact me. My goal for this drive is to put together $7300 to type 100 people. The Red Cross Club and APO have set there sights higher, and that is fine. We can use any help putting these funds together that we can get.
Also I would like to reemphasize the need for minority donors. Minority typing is free, but I have heard that this might be the last year the funding is available. Please get the word out for minority donors.
I know that spring is a time to get out doors after a long winter, though this winter was pretty mild. I'd just like to leave you with the words of Tommy Shane Stiener:
"Little girl sittin' on her daddy's lap, Hidin' her disease with a baseball cap. You can turn the channel, most people do. What if you were sittin' in her daddy's shoes?
Maybe she's an angel sent here from heaven, and she's makin' certain that you're doin' you're best. To take the time to help on another, brother are you gonna' pass that test. You can go on with your day to day, tryin' to forget what you saw in her face. Knowin' deep down, you could have been her savin' grace........Maybe she's an angel....."
Leukemia is the leading disease killer of children under the age of 15. Only accidents take more young children from us......
Here it is May already. First I would like to recap our last drive. Our last bone marrow drive on April 24th and 25th was very successful. We were able to add 95 Causcasian donors and we also typed 31 minority donors over two days. Hendrick Marrow Program really came through, offering funds for a couch donated by Wyman Furniture company. I would also like to thank APO fraternity and The Red Cross Club who raised almost $1000. Plus getting the donation for the couch that enabled the majority of the funds used to be allocated.
Please keep checking back for our next drive sometime in the fall.
April 27th was the recruitment date for the fall TNT session. The big marathon there will be Dublin, Ireland. Anyone interested, please contact Fran from our contact page.
With summer approaching and things slowing down. We will be focusing on the event held at DBHCC with Hendrick Marrow Program. Our goal is $50,000. Some of that will be used in the community for future drives. Please check the web page for more info, and how you can help.
Please remember that you can give blood and platelets to help patients going through treatment as well. There is always a shortage of platelets, and that must be done in Roanoke. Please contact The Red Cross to find a blood drive near you. For all of those traveling or taking some time to themselves, please be safe and have fun
JULY 2002 Newsletter:
Hello. The last month my motivation has been lacking. For those of you who read last month's letter, you know my friend has passed away. The last year or so, I have been obsessive about finding marrow donors and raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. It was kind of a race against the clock for me. Like the more I accomplished the better her odds. It's hard to "get" that you can't always help people you care about. It makes you take a hard look at yourself, your life and the world in general. It is a scary thought to realize how little control you have over yours and the lives of those around you.
There have been many times over the past year that I have consider not doing this anymore. But I would think about Jennifer and how much she must be going through and how she had no choice. That made any difficulty I encountered much more bearable. It would again be so easy to quit now that she's gone. I know no one would blame me for it. But I know also that she never quit. That she lived life right up until she was called home. To quit now would do her a great disservice. So here we go.
The program with Hendrick later this summer has run into some snags. The day we had planned was bumped due to another function. the space is donated with the understanding that if someone would like to do a large function, we will be displaced. We tried to move the day to later in September, but the celebrity guests already had confirmed on their calander. Plus, the major events of HMS Marrow are in the last two quarters of the year. So we are moving the event to spring to give them a function early in the year and to accomadate people who have trouble with the new date. Right now we are looking at march.
The Team in Training recruitment for winter will be ocurring sometime in August. I plan in setting up a TNT page for information to be placed on soon, so watch for that. I have also decided to sign up for this. I have passed out many brochures and decided I should back up what I'm selling. Plus, after the news of Jennifer's death, I started running, And though I couldn't get away from that fact, I'm at 7 and a half miles now. I think crossing the finish line in memory of her will be one of the most fulfilling things I will ever accomplish.
Mettings for Light the Night are continuing. The event will be October 3rd in Vinton. For more info, or for highlights of our participation last year, please go to our links page.
I still have space reserved for September 18th, and plan on using it. Either to help raise money for TNT or LTN. I will be posting information on that as I get more details finalized. That's all the news I have for this month. I would like to thank those who have encouraged me to continue. Sometimes the well runs dry, and you can use some......something. Iwould also like to thank all those who have said prayers for my friend. I'm sure she knows and appreciates it. Take care.......
November 2002 Newsletter:
I don't have much to report, as I was so late last month it was only a couple of weeks ago that I wrote my last update.Sometime this month, Vet Med service fraternity should be holding a drive for marrow. I didn't really get on board with this one as I am extremely tied up with my running. For more info contact Mitzie T uck of the Blacksburg Red Cross on Jackson Street. While there sign up to give blood.
Speaking of running, the Blacksburg team participated in Dublin, Ireland and the Marine corps marathon on October 27th. I haven't spoken to them since they returned, but I hope things went well, especially with Hiedi. Please go to the NRVTNT page on our links section to get more updates on our team. To see how I'm doing, please visit my personal site from our home page. I will say here that I have raised $1800 of my $3000 goal. Did a side catering job to raise some of it. Maybe that isa the best kind of fundraising I can do. Certainly the easiest and there is no disappointment when no one shows.
I don't know who reads these I get the feeling some people stop by when I update. I'll see we have visitors when I check our counter, but few of them leave a message. I'd just like to say, on a personal note, that I miss my friend Jennifer. "Sometimes a person's life can change for the better in one moment of grace, like a miracle almost. Someone so special can come along, all unexpected, and pivot you in a new direction, change you forever......." Dean Koontz, One Door Away From Heaven. Sometimes you don't get a chance to tell that person. Wherever she is, I hope she knows.
I've often said, sometimes I feel into a stiff wind, that it will happen to someone else here on The Virginia Tech campus. There was news last week that one of the football players may have Lymphoma. They are doing a biopsy. Please pray for the best...