The world would be a better place if more people said “Thank You!”

I have been struggling with my fund raising this season. Last year I blew my own goal out of the water without barely trying. I raised so much that I now have a full wardrobe of TNT branded attire – sweatshirt, fleece pullover, back-pack, and was even able to upgrade to the hotel option. This year, not so much…  I am stuck at about 60% of my much smaller goal and recently had to fork over a credit card number in case I can’t raise the rest. Ouch. I was pouting and feeling sorry for myself and wondering why it had to be so hard. I guess I kind of forgot that it’s not actually supposed to be easy. I have been having such a delightful time walking instead of running that I sort of assumed it would all be fun and games.  In my quest to bond with other walkers, I even posted a comment on a discussion board about being a non-traditional (er, uh, heavier) athlete. Much to my surprise, I got this in reply from a fellow named Steve:

*Just want to say a big THANK YOU to Lyda for her work with TNT. I’m a leukemia survivor and a failure at TNT fundraising. I think asking people for money is harder than doing the distance. Lyda you did both!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!*

I was blown away as I hadn’t said anything in my post about fund raising, but it was exactly the message I needed at that moment.  I asked Steve if he would be willing to share his story and below is his email to me in it’s entirety. Steve and I have never met, but his words have touched my heart and inspired me to raise the bar on my fund raising efforts.

If you have been meaning to donate, but just haven’t gotten around to it, or if you have been trying to decide if supporting a half-marathon walker is where you really want to ear mark your donation dollars this year, or if you just haven’t been moved to give, read Steve’s story below and please consider making a donation in his honor.  Maybe $52 dollars for the age he was when he was diagnosed, or $6 for the years since the diagnosis, or $35 for the years he’s been a pilot. Any amount is welcome and every bit counts. And if your budget simply doesn’t allow for a donation, your emotional support is every bit as important to me and for that I say “Thank  You!”

Lyda,
I was very touched and moved by your wanting me to be an honoree but I'm
just a guy who was lucky/blessed/gifted (from others hard work) to
survive a bad disease.

I went into the hospital on Valentines weekend in '05.  I had Acute
Myelogenous Leukemia and was told I would have to have a bone marrow
transplant. AML has a 20-25% 5 year survivor rate  (I didn't find this
out till much later.)  but most people get it an an older age, I was
52.  My first question to the doctor was "How long till I get my life
back"?  He said 6 months but it was more like 8.   Being in the hospital
for a total of 93 days over 4 stays sucked as I'm an outdoor kind of
guy.  I had been walking 800-900 miles a year for 10 years after
quitting running.  (Running is hard work and walking is just putting one
foot in front of the other.)  I have been a pilot for over 35 years, for
20 years in hang gliders and for the last 20 sailplanes
(gliders/airplanes without engines). And I did a lot of outdoor/field
work with my job.  (I'm a tech in earthquake research)

I received a tremendous amount of support from my wife and son, father
and siblings, the doctors and nurses, co-workers, friends and strangers
and one of the biggest was the wonderful cells from my sister. These are
the people that did the hard work I just stayed in the hospital and got
taken care of.  No way was I going to let them down.  I have been very
lucky through all this, I kept my job and was able to work part time as
my strength came back, my insurance paid the (huge) bill, my sisters
cells work perfectly ( I was off the anti-rejection drugs in a few
months with just the right touch of graft vs host).  I remember the day
during recovery I walked to the corner, it was a big deal!

In '08 I got the idea for doing a half marathon but as I was already
doing 8-10 mile walks I thought that a marathon would be more of a
challenge.  So after 8 weeks of training I did San Diego Rock and Roll
in 6:10.  You know how that feels.  I signed up for TNT for the next
year but didn't like asking people for money so I came up short of the
needed amount.  I paid my way and did the marathon in 5:38.   Last year
I did it for the LLS "Make Cures Happen" and was able to get a few
hundred in donations.  I'm better in giving money than raising it.  I
also broke 5:30 with a 5:24 finish.  For me the hard part of training
was 14-16 mile walks so I never let myself get out of condition.  In
2010 I did 51 walks of half marathon distance or better.  I always feel
so good after a long walk.  But after weekends of 18, 18, 20 and 20 mile
walks training for Carlsbad I hurt my foot (planner fachitis- misspelled
I'm sure).  It's slowly getting better and I should be able to do the La
Jolla half on the 17th.  Then training starts for real for SD R&R in
early June.

Maybe more of my story than you wanted.

I just wanted to thank you as I try to do with others from TNT when I
get a chance.  Your raising funds for LLS helps real people (like me).
The world would be a better place if more people said "Thank You!".  So
once again THANK YOU!

Steve
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2 Comments on “The world would be a better place if more people said “Thank You!””

  1. […] how they secured speaking engagements or news interviews through their blogs. For me personally, a post I wrote about fund-raising resulted in a total stranger making a $100 donation on my […]

  2. […] how they secured speaking engagements or news interviews through their blogs. For me personally, a post I wrote about fund-raising resulted in a total stranger making a $100 donation on my […]


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