Saturday, January 31, 2009

To Begin

"Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts - it's what you do with what you have left." -Hubert Humphrey

Arik and I have lost family (4 grandparents between us) and friends to cancer. My gut reaction to each new diagnosis was one of overwhelming helplessness. I have no control over who cancer picks, how quickly it spreads, or why it decides to take people away when it does. It's like cancer was the 6th grade bully on the playground and I was the pipsqueak in the sandbox: I knew what was happening was wrong, but I was no match for it.

This hopelessness weighed me down like a cold, wet blanket, but when my childhood pastor died this past December at age 50, something changed. You'll hear more about Kathleen Baskin-Ball in coming posts, but for now it's enough to know that she was a light-filled spirit brimming always with love and optimism, even as cancer swept through her. In the weeks following her death, we were inspired to do something, anything, to fight the disease, however poor our odds of succeeding.

Arik and I had long been planning on doing a West Coast bike tour as a post-bar exam, pre-"Real World" last hurrah. We recently realized it provided a great opportunity to take the fight to cancer, and to remember and honor those who had been or were now personally engaged in that fight. We plan on raising $3711 ($1/mile each) for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which does an awesome job of helping cancer survivors and working toward eradicating cancer worldwide.

What you can look forward to seeing in our blog in the coming months:

-Profiles of people we ride for: A big focus of our ride is that we honor and remember those fighting and lost to cancer. We'll do this both by profiling them in our blog, and by writing their names on our jerseys so that they can ride along with us. We'd love to feature profiles of people you yourself know or have lost and/or wear their names on our jerseys- just email us at or leave a note in the comments.

-Training updates: It's 15 degrees and snowing right now in Michigan, so most of our training consists of stationary biking in our apartment. We should have some more exciting updates once we're back in Dallas in May.

-Fundraising updates: We don't have any fundraising experience, so raising 3711 bucks should be a crazy, exciting challenge. We'll keep ya posted!

-On the Road updates: We're not sure what the internet situation will be, but we hope to post somewhat regularly while we're on the road. Ride along with us as we get flat tires in the middle of nowhere, try to un-numb our bums after 6+ hours/day in the saddle, cross the Golden Gate Bridge, see the Redwoods, sleep under the stars, and who knows what else?!

Last, but not least, please donate. We know times are tough, but you won't find cancer at any job fairs- it's got plenty of work to do, and it never rests. Just hop on over to our fundraising site: . Anything you can give is awesome. All donations are tax-deductible, and 100% of what you give goes to the Foundation, as we'll be paying our expenses ourselves.

Thank you for reading, and for giving. With your help, we can tiptoe up to that 6th grader, tap him on the shoulder, and give him a nice, solid kick where it hurts.

Be well,

Arik and Mia