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Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Challenge to Cancer - 200x5

Hello! My name is Jeremy Everitt and I’m a Fat Cyclist. No, not THE Fat Cyclist of FatCyclist.com fame; I’m just a Team Fatty member. Our goal is to be the largest team and raise the most money in LIVESTRONG Challenge history. We want to leave a legacy for Susan Nelson, Mrs. Fatty, who has metastatic breast cancer. Our time to honor her is rapidly growing short.

Susan is not the only one I work to leave a legacy for, however. My connection with cancer now stands at 94 links. That's 94 people who have been touched by cancer – 94 friends, colleagues, and family members who are connected to my efforts working with the Lance Armstrong Foundation. And these are the folks who have shared their experiences. How many links are in your connection with cancer?

This is my fifth year of involvement with the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s LIVESTRONG Challenge series. I have also taken on a role as a local LIVESTRONG Army Leader in the Salem-Keizer area.

The past few months have brought many new experiences in my now five-year long effort to raise money for the LAF and it’s many programs. I spent many hours preparing graphic materials to share with teammates to help them fundraise and recruit to Team Fat Cyclist: Fighting for Susan. I rode 176 miles in 11 hours rolling time, in a loop only 0.15 miles long, raising almost $900 as a part of the second annual FatCyclist.com 100 Miles of Nowhere event. I spent three days at the Keizer Iris Festival sharing information, listening to stories and passing out yellow wristbands.

All in all, this has been a frenetic and fantastic few months in my involvement with the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I have one more big push in the last few weeks before the Seattle Challenge event: I want to try to raise $1000 in two weeks.

Here’s the catch: I want to do it by connecting to as many people as possible.

There is no way I can do this alone. I need your help. Please, ask everyone you know to go to this Challenge donation page and donate $5.00. That’s right, $5.00. Then go join the LIVESTRONG Army. Join the millions of people standing up and saying it is time to make cancer a national priority.

Here’s why:

There are an estimated 12 million cancer survivors in the U.S. today and that number is rising. Current statistics show 1 in 2 males and 1 in 3 females will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetimes. Cancer is the number one killer of Americans under the age of 85. If you don’t know someone who has had cancer, it is almost certain you will. You only need to talk to one about their experience to know a cancer diagnosis changed their lives forever.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation is dedicated to helping patients become survivors and survivors deal with the lasting effects of cancer. Money raised for the LAF goes to fund the programs administered directly through the LAF, like SurvivorCare and LIVESTRONG at School. It also funds grants such as these:

  • The Cancer Institute of New Jersey ($100,000) – New Brunswick, New Jersey – The LAF-funded Buildings and Bridges (B&B) Program aims to improve the primary healthcare workforce’s ability to identify practical and emotional needs of cancer survivors and facilitate access to services that may meet those needs.

  • University of California, Irvine ($147,377) – Irvine, CA – The "Improving Survivorship of Patients with Pediatric, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancer" project has been designed to aid transition of care from a pediatric-based care facility to an adult-care facility.

  • Emilio Nares Foundation ($149,050) – San Diego, CA – The “Ride with Emilio” program ensures that sick children have access to weekly chemotherapy and other crucial medical appointments when their families lack personal transportation and public transportation is not adequate.

  • Cancer Legal Resource Center ($149,513) – Los Angeles, California – This project, "Cancer-Related Legal Education for Health Care Professionals," will empower health care professionals in the cancer community to positively affect the lives of cancer patients and survivors.

  • The Breakfast Club, Inc. ($50,000) – St. Louis, MO – The EARS Program (Education, Awareness, Resources and Support) will provide culturally competent comprehensive breast health/cancer education and outreach and one-on-one and group support services and navigation assistance to uninsured and under insured breast cancer survivors and their families.

  • M.D Anderson Cancer Center ($150,000) – Houston, TX – The Cardiology and Oncology Partnership (COP) is a group of health care providers who are committed to eliminating cardiovascular (CV) disease as a barrier to effective cancer treatment.

  • Familias en Accion ($140,151) – Portland, OR – The Lance Armstrong Foundation will provide funding to develop a patient navigator program for Latino cancer survivors and their families, assisting them in accessing quality cancer treatment and support services. The program will provide special emphasis in providing cancer support services to adolescents and young adults – two groups who require culturally-specific and age appropriate resources.

  • Aberdeen Area Tribal Group ($150,000) – Rapid City, South Dakota – Funding from the LAF will support two Native American communities in South Dakota (Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the Rapid City Urban Community) to develop community-based and culturally-appropriate cancer survivor support initiatives.

Additionally, the LAF has just partnered with Penn Medicine to provide the LIVESTRONG Care Plan powered by OncoLink with connections to all the resources the Lance Armstrong Foundation can bring to bear in a battle with cancer. In fact, I referred a student of mine to it yesterday when she told me her grandfather was just diagnosed with colon cancer.

I am proud to be a member of Team Fatty and the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s grassroots efforts to make cancer a national priority. Every little bit each of us do in the fight against cancer.

In the words of Fatty:
"What helps — a little — is to know that I, along with you, am at least doing something in this fight. It’s not enough to help Susan, and I hate myself for not having done more sooner.

But it is something, and you’re all helping me feel like I’m doing something important. And that helps me. Thank you for that."

Your $5.00 makes a difference. Let’s work together to improve cancer care. I need your help. Please, ask everyone you know to go to this Challenge donation page and donate $5.00. Of course, anyone can donate more, but all I’m asking is $5.00 and a promise you’ll spread the word.

If you've already donated, great. Thank you very much. You have already made a huge impact. Please consider making your impact even larger by passing this on to folks you know who would like to join the fight against cancer.

If you’d like to know more about Team Fatty, be sure to check out FatCyclist.com. If you'd like to find out more about my experience riding 176 miles in a circle, check out my Challenge blog.

Thank you so very much,

Jeremy Everitt

LS Army Salem-Keizer local leader
Member – Team Fat Cyclist: Fighting for Susan

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