Sunday, June 24, 2012
Thanks to blogger's new dashboard, the number of posts you have uploaded sits right in your face once you log in. This is the ONLY reason I know that this is my 500th post here. Does that mean anything? Yes. Blogger sends you a gold ribbon when you reach 500 posts... just kidding. If nothing else, I can say it certainly feels like that many posts. I started this journey in 2009 right after Bella was born just to get news updates about her 'out there.' My how times have changed in technology even since then. Facebook wasn't as ubiquitous, my cell phone got NO reception in Angelique's hospital room (by comparison, I can make and receive calls, surf the internet, etc. inside the elevator inside the hospital I work in), and email was about the extent of my social media. I had heard of blogs, but I thought they were diaries for people with an overblown self image (LMAO, now that I have one, that sounds about right). I mean why would anyone care enough to read my thoughts and feelings? The befuddlement in that question for me lied in the fact that I didn't care enough about anyone else's feelings to read their blogs. I was self absorbed, and in many ways still am. I care way too much about other people's opinion of me, I'm vain, elitist, self righteous, with a pretty big ego to boot.
On a good day, I've got a few good qualities as well, and I try to water those and nurture those qualities more than the aforementioned. Inside me lies an infinite world of possibility to entirely muck up the world, or make it a little better, and this blog has been a playing field for me to hopefully do a little bit of the latter.
There are parts of us (the Ringgold clan) in you, and parts of you in us. That's what brings us all together. We are all just little individuations of the whole of God, like cells in his body. So, we resonate with each other, and in doing so, we prove that we have the capacity to resonate with any other... at any time we choose to... it's all just a matter of choice.
We continue to choose you, and you continue to choose us. Thank you for this communion. It has been extraordinary.
(This concludes my 'deep thoughts surrounding my 500th post' segment. Now onto the local news...)
Tomorrow, we begin our trek to Minnesota! First, it is across the O.C. to grandma and grandpa's house. Being that our flight is out of LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) on Tuesday morning at 9am, we decided to use the grandparents' house as our staging camp and have grandpa play his usual role as airport shuttle for us. Thank you grandpa! You make trips a lot easier logistically and financially for us! Once we arrive in Minneapolis late Tuesday afternoon, we pick up our rental car, and head north to the lakes to the cabin of our dear friends, Bob and Lynne. We'll hang up in Nisswa on the lake for Wed, Thu, and the first half of Friday. Then, it's down to St. Cloud to BBQ dinner on the farm at our friend and EB ambassador Christie Zink's home. We are so excited to be invited (I probably invited myself... let's be honest... I do that a lot when we're traveling) to her place, meet her family, and share a midwest home cooked meal together. Then, it gets funny. Since St. Cloud is a bit of a hike from downtown St. Paul where the race is on Saturday morning, Christie got a hotel room downtown in St. Paul. So we thought, "Hey, that's a pretty neat idea!" We were planning on staying at a friend's house in Albertville, which is also quite a jaunt from St. Paul, so we rented a room in the same hotel! So, after dinner, we'll all pack up our caravan, and head to St. Paul.
Then, Saturday morning, it's TIME TO FLY! We need to be there by 7:45 to set up. My 5k run is at 8:30, the family 5k walk is at 9:30, the kids 1k fun run is at 10:30, and the awards I think are at 11:00 or so. After attending out first Time To Fly last summer, Ang and I got a good look at how the event is run, and what sort of presence we wanted PUCK to have this summer. Being the competitive BOY that I am, I saw this amazing team of family and friends last year RUN AWAY with the largest team and largest fundraising awards. They're called "Jack Attack" and they walk for their 3 yr-old son who has an inoperable brain tumor. Despite the umpteen procedures and hospital visits, Jack is bright, happy, and full of life. (Sounds like Bella, right?) I was so inspired by their organization and camaraderie that I took their stats from last year and picked those for our goals this year. I think they had 93 team members and raised like $24,000 for pediatric cancer research... WHILE Jack is still undergoing unending procedures and chemo to try to beat this tumor. THAT is inspiring.
While we might not beat those goals this year, I am IMMENSELY proud of and grateful for allllll the people that have stepped up to be a part of Team PUCK this year! Right now, we are at 72 strong and have raised over $16,700.00 and we are gunning for a couple of thousand more before next Saturday. We'd also LOVE to have more people join our team! It is a really fun event, and my hope is that after everyone experiences it the first time, they will come back and invite their friends and family for next year! This is only PUCK's 3rd year in this event. The first year I think they had a dozen or so participants, last year we had about two dozen, and then we just decided to GO BIG.
Confession: Did I mention that I am competitive? I am. I have to confess that what really happened was that I watched the awards ceremony at the end of the event where they recognized the fastest runners, biggest teams, biggest individual fundraisers, and biggest team fundraisers. I saw a giant hall full of people clapping and cheering for one another, and I wanted in. I wanted to be part of that club. I wanted to win. With EB, it just seems like we lost. We lost the day Bella was born with it, we lost the day she was intubated, we lost the day she died, and we lost so many times in between... well, you have some idea if you've been along for the ride. I just wanted to experience winning something related to EB, even if it was as juvenile as building the biggest team or running the fastest time. Even in the raising the most money category, we have watched our awesome EB brothers and sisters from DebRA, EBMRF, and JGSF raise some tremendous sums of money over the past 3 years to further VITAL research into viable treatments for EB. I just wanted to see us, PUCK, the little guy, come in first for a change.
Totally 4th grade.
That's okay, too.
Because there's another side to all of that as well. It's the part where on Saturday, after the run, I get to walk side by side with the Moorelands, and Marc and Mandy Seymour, whose daughter Quinn lost her battle with EB during transplant, just like Bella and Sarah did. I get to walk beside other EB families like the Provosts who are coming all the way from Illinois. I get to see Denise Heydn, who is coming from Wisconsin; a devoted blog reader who drove with her family and own special needs child to Bella's Minnesota memorial, and back home again in the same day. I get to walk with Christie Zink, who has single handedly IGNITED the EB community with her I REFUSE EB campaign, and donated all the proceeds to PUCK. It's the part where on Saturday, over 70 teammates will have PUCK business cards in their hands with Bella's Text to donate campaign on one side, our website QR code on the other, and our logo and name to boot, handing these out to 250 other peeps there who after Saturday, will realize that Children's Cancer Research Fund is even cooler than they realized. After Saturday, hundreds of people from the local community will realize that there is this bizarre, awful disease called EB, and that the docs at U of M, and PUCK, CCRF, and the Minnesota Medical Foundation (MMF is who we coordinate the text to donate campaign with) are leading the charge locally to rewrite history, so that 10 years from now, there are various treatment options for this once incurable disease, and no child ever has to die from it again. After Saturday, the docs might have from one event the amount of money we raised IN ONE YEAR just a couple of years ago. After Saturday, I'm gonna celebrate with a cold beer! LOL, had to throw that in there.
So, there you have it. I'll be 39 and 10 months old on Saturday racing in the men's 30-39 bracket. Last year, I ran 22:21 and placed 8th in my division. Today, I ran 22:23 in 80 degrees on a much hillier route than Saturday's race route. I'm gonna run my little behind off, and I'm going to try to beat 22:00 (I really think I can do that) and see if I can pull off winning as the oldest guy in my division (My confidence isn't as strong on that one, but I'm gonna give my best and see what happens). My consolation is that next summer, I'll be the youngest guy in the 40-49 field! Weeeeeeeee!
Last but not least.
This whole trip and event is overshadowed by the really intense time Charlie Knuth is having. Please keep him, his supermom Trisha, and his whole family in your prayers this week. They were planning on being a part of Time To Fly, and right now, they need every prayer and thought to keep Charlie going. You can read Trisha's latest update from today HERE. Go send her some love, will ya?
IF you can make a donation to our team CLICK HERE
IF you'd like to join our team, show up Saturday morning at 8am at Harriet Island Park in St. Paul!