Donate a Mammogram – Part 1

March 14th, 2011 | Posted by john in General - (1 Comments)

It’s that time of year! Time for me to offer to dress up funny on the 3-Day for the Cure in order to elicit donations! Please take a look and donate if you can at: http://walk60.com/donate

 

It’s a Little Early

February 10th, 2011 | Posted by john in General - (1 Comments)

It’s about this time of year every year that I look at my fund raising status and I start to worry.  Not because the 3-Day for the Cure is all that close, I’m walking in the last walk of the season this year so I still have a good amount of time to get there.  But despite all that time, I start running through all these doubts in my mind about whether I can do the fund raising again this year.  I looked at my fund raising earlier today and saw that it was still at $68.  That’s $2232 away from the minimum that I need in order to do the walk.  So that’s a little frightening.

I always start to think, “Are people going to donate this year?” or “Maybe they’re tired of supporting me as I do the walks,” and a number of other worrisome thoughts.  And really, when I look back at something I said a few months ago about having to average $200 a month in order to make your goal, I’m way below that number right now.  I think I’m probably at $15 per month so far. I didn’t do the math, that’s just a guess.  But then I start to think about what I followed it up with: you’re not always going to be raising that much money.  There are some months where you will be getting donation notices every day.  I will admit that usually around March to April is when I really start seeing a lot more donations come in.  It also happens to be when I really start pushing a lot more for donations than normal, probably because of the worry that I start to feel around this time of year.

I guess where I’m going with all of this is that it’s a little bit early to start worrying.  I realize that the people walking in Boston, it may seem like the right time to start worrying, but you still have almost half a year.  Just put your fund raising drive into gear and I’m sure that you’ll be able to make it there.

Now, while I may not be doing a whole right now directly to fund raise, I have started thinking about what I am going to do for my fund raising efforts this year.  That, I think, is the important thing if you want to be able to raise a decent amount of money:  if you’re not fund raising, you should be thinking about what you will be doing next for fund raising. With that in mind, I wanted to go ahead and put up some of the ideas that I have been playing with that may make the cut for fund raising this year:

  • Businesses – This is probably going to be the new thing I try this year.  I always try to do something new each year, so this will probably be it.  I have talked about this several times with several people that I know and I think that this year I am really going to devote some time to contacting businesses to see if they would make a donation to my fund raising. I’ll probably stick to local independent businesses so that I don’t have to talk to a corporate office in a far off land or something.
  • Door to Door – I raised a decent amount doing this last year, so I will probably continue on with it again this year.  I’ll probably wait until most of the school fund raisers are done so that people don’t feel like they are getting inundated with people asking for money.
  • The Video – I really enjoyed doing my video fund raiser last year and it got really good results.  I think that this year the challenge may be to get me into a pink tu-tu in addition to the bra.  Still working out the details on this, but I’m sure that in the next month or so it will go into effect.
  • Video Game Tournament – This idea has been on my list several times and has just never really made it to execution.  I would really like to get a video game store to agree to host the tournament (there’s a local store that has a room that is set up for something very similar to this) and use the entry fee as a donation.  Again, we’ll see what happens with this as it really hasn’t developed in the past.

OK, so those are the ideas so far.  Please share in comments if you have any ideas on fund raisers that I should do or modifications to any of the fund raisers listed.  Some of you may have noticed that The Speed Gamers are not on my list this year.  It turns out that most of the guys are graduating from college and will not have as much time to do so many marathons as they had in the past.  They have decided to choose 3 or 4 charities that they will raise money for because of that.  While I would love to work with them again, I know that they have charities that are near and dear to them, so I understand if my 3-Day walk is not selected.  They have done an awesome job over the past two years helping raise money in the fight against breast cancer and I can’t thank them enough!

I’ve kind of wandered around on topic here a little bit, so I will try to get back on point.  If you’re looking at your fund raising and getting concerned right now, then take a deep breath.  You are not yet to the point of worrying.  As long as you are doing SOMETHING to advance your fund raising goals, even if that something is trying to decide what you will do to raise money this year, then you are moving in the right direction to meet your goal.  I wish you luck in all your fund raising this year!

If you would like to help out with my fund raising, please consider making a donation at: http://60miles3days.com/donate

 

Application

January 25th, 2011 | Posted by john in General - (5 Comments)

Less than two weeks ago, many of you saw the e-mail that the 3-Day for the Cure sent out.  It was titled “Could You be the National Spokesperson for the 3-Day for the Cure?”.  I had to stop for a moment when I read the title for that e-mail.  I had only seen it once before and it was in 2007 when I was walking in my first 3-Day for the Cure.  At the time, they were looking for the national spokesperson that ended up being Jenne Fromme.

This e-mail meant a couple of things:

First, Jenne Fromme who had, for all intents and purposes, helped focus our pinkness for the past four years was no longer going to be up there on stage year after year.  As she has been the only national spokesperson for this event that I have known, I was a little bit sad about this.  I know that she has her reasons for stepping down, I’m sure it will be nice for her to get back to her regular job.  I sincerely hope that she has much success in the years to come, we’ll miss her at the 3-Day, but we will continue on.

The second thing that the e-mail meant was that this time I could actually apply for the job.  As I said, the first time that I saw the call go out for the national spokesperson was my first year walking.  There was no way that I was going to apply when I hadn’t even done the walk yet.  This time I had a number of years doing this.  I love the 3-Day community and I strongly believe in what we are all fighting for.  I felt that while I may not have the best experience in motivational speaking my passion for the cause might just help me to get through.

So I clicked through the link with instructions on how to apply and found that there were a few requirements that they wanted fulfilled.  One of which was an audition video and the other was an application.  The application would not be accepted without a video.  In the video, the 3-Day for the Cure people wanted you to read through a script which was basically an excerpt from the opening and closing ceremonies.  It was a lot to do and the schedule was tight, there were only 12 short days to get everything turned in.  To add to that, I was traveling almost every single one of those 12 days.  Add to all of that the fact that the job would require a significant part of my time for half of the year.  I would either have to find a new job that didn’t mind me being gone for that long or make some significant changes with my current job or somehow make enough money as the national spokesperson to not have to have another job (which I didn’t believe was possible).

Despite all these odds, I was still going to go for it.  I figured that I could read through the script and do some memorization while I was travelling and then do the recording the day before it was due and turn it all in on the day it was due just in time.  Of course, plans don’t always work out like we hope they will.

I got home on the day that the announcement was made and I told my wife that Jenne had stepped down as the spokesperson to which she replied, “Oh, you should apply for that job!”

Well, one hurdle down, or so I thought.  I replied that I was going to but that there would be a lot of stuff to be worked out if I happened to get it because of the time commitment required.  She hadn’t at first realized that this involved going to each of the 3-Day events.  When she realized that she said, “there’s no way you’ll be able to do that.”  I just told her that if it got that far then I would figure out what to do.  I pressed onward.

Travel did not provide as many opportunities to review as I thought it would.  I drove to Dallas, did work, back to Austin for a day and a half which I spent enjoying my family.  Drove back to Dallas, then flew to Orlando.  Each time I thought I would have the opportunity either ended up being nothing or significantly less time for me to review the script.  I flew back to Dallas on the 21st and then had to drive to Austin.  I got in at 1:30 in the morning on the 22nd and went to sleep.  And when I woke up I was still tired.  The focus that I had counted on having to be able to complete the video the day before the deadline was missing.  There was no way I was going to get this done.  By this time, I was pretty bummed.  Aside from the obstacles that seemed like the hardest, I had not even managed to get past the obstacle that I thought would be the easiest:  getting a video of me recorded.

While I was in Orlando a package had come for me from the 3-Day.  I had been really curious about what it was, Kristen had offered to open it for me and send a picture, but I opted to wait until I got home and see it for myself.  I posted about it on Twitter and several of the 3-Day Tweeps really wanted me to have my wife go ahead and open it so that they could see what it was.  I waited and on Saturday I was really glad that I did.  I opened it once I was a little more coherent and here’s what I found:

It’s a framed “flag” with information about when I was top fund raiser last year.  When I opened it I stopped worrying about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to complete the application.  This was sort of like my sign that I needed to keep pushing to raise more funds so that we can kick breast cancer’s butt.  Yeah, it would be pretty cool to be the spokesperson for the 3-Day for the Cure.  I would LOVE to be able to do it, but this isn’t my year.  There were too many obstacles in my way and I wasn’t really willing to concede, not defeat, to reality.  Maybe someday in the future it will be my time, but I’m hoping that time never comes.  Not because I don’t want the job, but because I hope that we find a cure and we won’t need a national spokesperson for the 3-Day for the Cure before that time gets here.

 

Ac-cen-tu-ate the Positive

January 3rd, 2011 | Posted by john in General - (1 Comments)

I was in DisneyWorld a few weeks ago.  I realize that since I focus on the 3-Day for the Cure here this may not sound like it fits with what I usually post, but bear with me.  As in any amusement park, there were lines and lots of them.  The week right before Christmas is a busy one for Disney and this year was no exception.  We went for a ride on one of the safari rides in the Animal Kingdom and the people that sat behind us were not happy.  Every time I heard them they were complaining about something: that we had to stop for an ostrich, that the bus they rode to the park was crappy, that their kids smelled and much more.  It got me to thinking, I know that it’s a marketing thing but here we are in what is called the happiest place on earth, couldn’t we be a little more positive?

No, I’m not going all rose colored glasses on you.  There were a couple of times on the trip that I got tired and tired of dealing with things and snapped at people when I probably shouldn’t have.  I think I was pretty good about realizing when that happened and making amends to the person I had snapped at.  We were at this place that we had spent a decent amount of money to get to and a decent amount of time planning for and I just didn’t see the point of being pissed off the whole time we were there.  Yes, there were things I would have changed if it was in my power, but at that point it wasn’t so there was no need for me to dwell on it.  Staying negative about those things I couldn’t change would just have made my trip less enjoyable not only for me, but my family as well.

This is the part where I turn it around and apply what I’m talking about to the 3-Day, are you ready?  Good.

All of what has been said above about a trip to Disney can be easily said about the 3-Day as well.  I’m sure that if you think about it hard enough you can find several examples on your own, but here’s some of my own that I think can probably be applied to your 3-Day experience:


Food

I distinctly remember the first year that I participated in the 3-Day I was pleasantly surprised in the quality of the food.  A lot of people are going to be taken aback at that statement.  Let me clear it up.  When you’re feeding 2,000 or more people on a fairly tight budget (we’re doing this for charity, not a four star meal) in the middle of a field, there are definitely some questionable things that you could do for the food.  Frankly, I think that for serving that many people in that amount of time in that setting with the goal of raising money for charity the food was great.  That’s a lot of qualifiers I know.

That first year, I was amazed at the number of people I heard grumbling about the food.  As I said in the first paragraph, it wasn’t superb food, but it was definitely a step or two above what I had expected for an “institutional dining” event.  So I was surprised that these people were harping on the food so much.

Skip forward a few years and I unwittingly joined the band.  I mainly joined because of the big C word.  Not cancer, at least not this time.  Change was it.  When they changed the food options in Boston last year I complained a lot more than necessary.  I realize that if you don’t like something sometimes you just need to say something.  You don’t need to say it over and over again.  After a little while, I realized what I was doing and stopped.  When I walked Dallas later in the year I stopped complaining and the food tasted better.  It’s funny how that happened.  I was a little more positive and because of that (at least that’s what I think) the food tasted better.


Fund Raising

Of all the things that you can be negative about, fund raising is probably the easiest to slip into those thoughts.  Let’s face it, $2300 can seem like a lot of money especially if you don’t start early enough.  Here’s some stuff that I have heard (and some that I have maybe said) about the fund raising:

  • It’s just too much money.  I don’t know how they expect us to raise all of this!
  • I don’t have enough time to raise that much money.
  • I don’t feel comfortable asking people to donate $2300!
  • Why do they make us raise so much money?

I don’t have any hard facts, but I would be willing to place a bet that the number one reason that people decide not to sign up for the 3-Day for the Cure is fund raising.  Most people have walked at least a couple of miles in their life.  It’s not hard to go from there to saying that you’ll be able to walk 60.  There are probably a decent amount of people, myself included, who have never done ANY fund raising before signing up for the 3-Day.  I’m not saying that they themselves haven’t donated to something, but donating and asking people for donations are two entirely different things.  It’s also easy to stay negative on the money side because it is the thing that is present the WHOLE time before the walk.  You need to keep fund raising and fund raising and fund raising in order to meet your minimum.  But staying negative about raising the money makes it that much harder to actually raise the money.

So try not to get negative on the fund raising.  That’s the real reason that we’re walking in the 3-Day.  It’s not to prove to the world that we can walk 60 miles.  It’s not to lose weight.  It’s not so that we can hang out with these awesome people for three days and camp in pink tents.  All that stuff is bonus stuff.  We’re all there so that we can kick breast cancer’s butt.  So let’s not complain about the fund raising, let’s embrace it!  I know it’s a lot of money, but you just have to start early and keep plugging away at it until you’ve exceeded that little minimum number.


Teammates

When you signed up the previous year, you were probably on fantastic terms with your teammates.  I hope that you still will be when your event is up, but I have seen a fair number of teams that seem to have a lot of infighting and end up completely staying away from each other during the walk if they end up doing the walk at all.  It could be any reason:  maybe there was some disagreement about how team fund raising should be distributed.  Maybe someone is mad about how much someone else is training.  Maybe you don’t like how the team captain is managing the team.

Whatever the reason is, I have to plead with you to let it drop.  I know that once the shiny happiness of signing up for the 3-Day has faded that it’s easier to find fault in your teammates, but let’s be honest.  Your negativity in this case can ruin the 3-Day experience for more than just you.  Maybe if it’s you that has the problem with the team, you should consider dropping out of the team to get some perspective.  Notice, I didn’t say drop out of the 3-Day.  We still have a cause to do.  But if people are just annoying you so much, or you them, then maybe it’s time to go your separate ways so that when it comes time to walk in the 3-Day you can be friends instead of bitter enemies.  Definitely try to work things out with your team first.  But if it is apparent that you can’t maintain the positive energy between everyone, that might be the signal to go ahead and go your separate ways for now.  That time away from each other may be just what you need to be able to walk into opening and closing ceremonies together.

Remember, the 3-Day isn’t about eating at 4-star restaurants.  It’s not about complaining to everyone you see about how much money you have to raise.  It’s definitely not about seeing who can win the power struggle in your team.  The 3-Day is about winning the fight against breast cancer.  There’s a lot of good stuff that comes along with fighting that fight, but you have to get your head out of the negative cloud so that you can enjoy it.

 

What Now?

November 22nd, 2010 | Posted by john in General - (Comments Off on What Now?)

This past weekend the 2010 series of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure came to an end.  If you participated any time this year, give yourself a big hand, you did an awesome job!  But now that it’s over, you may be thinking to yourself, “What now?” and I have been there myself.  When you spend a good portion of a year training, fund raising and generally preparing to walk and then having it come to the culmination of this amazing experience you can kind of feel like you have no direction once it’s all over.  I have been thinking about just that thing for several months and decided that I would write about some of the stuff that I do once my 3-Day year is over.


Relax!

This section seems pretty self-explanatory if you look at it on the surface, but as we continue to the next things that I do, you will see that sometimes it’s not as easy as it seems.  But the point is that you have accomplished something huge and you deserve a relaxing time.  If it’s your thing, get a massage to help with the relaxation process.  I’ve seen some people take vacations while others just slide back into their daily routine.  Whatever helps you relax, focus on that.


Get Ready

I have seen many people comment about having 3-Day Withdrawal.  So much so, I think that you could probably classify it as a medical condition.  After walking 3 days with all of these wonderful people where kindness rules the day, it may be a little bit of a shock to your system to go back into normal every day life.  You’re not going to have people lined up waiting to give you high fives.  You’re not going to walk by schools with hundreds of kids out screaming just because you’re there.  I know that it’s a little overdramatic to talk about this as a big let down, but it can be kind of eye-opening to get back into your everyday life after three days where everyone acts just a little different.


Sign up?

If you didn’t sign up to walk next year while you were at the 3-Day camp you may be thinking about signing up for it again in the weeks following your walk.  I know that for some of you, signing up to walk again may be the furthest thing from your mind.  I know that walking year after year is not for everyone and that sometimes fund raising is tough.  But despite all that I am still going to ask you, to plead with you to walk again next year and do the good that you have done this year.

I know that it can be a tough decision to make and after my first year it took me a couple of months to finally come to that decision, but after that it was easy.  I signed up for my sixth walk this past weekend and I will continue walking until breast cancer is eliminated.  I hope that you will join me in continuing the fight.  If you think you will walk, then sign up soon because there is a discount code for your registration fees that expires November 23rd.  If you use the code CURE2011 you will get $35 off of your registration fees.


Get Fund Raising!

Is it a little too soon to start fund raising?  To answer this question, the first thing I need you to remember is what we talked about firt: relax!  Now, while you are relaxing it wouldn’t hurt to think about some fund raising ideas for when you are ready to start fund raising.  Not to scare you or anything, but if you walk the same walk every year then you have to average about $200 a month in fund raising in order to get to the minimum fund raising amount.  That being said, you will probably have months that will raise much more than $200, but it is definitely something to keep in mind so that you are aware of the deadline and the amount.


Training

Most people will tell you that you should continue walking, just at reduced distances, in order to keep yourself in shape for future walks.  I agree that this is a completely rational way of thinking about training, but I have to be honest and say that I have yet to be able to maintain my dedication to training once the actual walk is over, even when I know that another one is coming up in a year’s time.

That being said, you should try to stay in with it, I don’t lose a ton of weight when I do my training, but when I stop I gain everything that I lost back so that should be a motivator.  Also, staying healthy is never a bad thing.  So try and keep training, it doesn’t have to be walking.  You can start or continue your cross-training by lifting weights or cycling or something else just to give you a little change up from the walking.


Enjoy!

I have said several times before that one of the reasons that we all walk is so that we can have more time with the ones that we love.  Now that you have completed the 3-Day and aren’t out training or fund raising every weekend, take some time and enjoy those loved ones you are fighting for.  I know that a 3-Day training schedule can be hectic, so if you are planning on doing the walk again you really need to take advantage of this downtime to enjoy the company of the people that you are doing this for.  Remember, your life is worth living and if it wasn’t then you wouldn’t be walking.  So go out there and live it.  Know that you can live your life and still plan to walk in another 3-Day for the Cure event.