Over six months ago, I found myself sitting in a small pub in Oxford, chatting with friends over a pint and I had a crazy idea. I don't think I would have ever expected this idea to grow into what it has become, affect as many people as it has, or to be more successful than I could ever have imagined. Heck, had you asked that night, I probably wouldn't have even thought I had the stones to go through with it.
Yet here I sit overlooking the Toronto skyline, finally able to reminisce about one of the greatest journeys of my entire life. However, I realized this morning, that like all things, this story eventually needs to have a final chapter, and the past week could not have summed up a better conclusion.
After my Sept. 23 ride out to Oakville with Kevin Leshuk, Celgene Canada was gracious enough to feed me, surround me with amazing people, donate $10,000 to the ride, and even bring in a film crew to document the day and some points about what this ride meant to me.
In addition to Celgene's generous contribution, I can not say enough about Ortho Biotech, who was there from the beginning with a $4000 contribution and motivation for the road. I had a chance to meet with them, as well as some members of the Princess Margaret Hospital and have videos of those meetings as well:
Last week, I attended the launch of the Molly & David Bloom Chair in Multiple Myeloma Research at the Princess Margaret Hospital. It was a fantastic opportunity to catch up with some old faces and an incredibly positive night. The atmosphere in the air was truly one of strength and hope. With Dr. Donna Reece confirmed as the head of the chair, and over $4,000,000 at her team's disposal, everyone could feel that this was the start of something big. Myeloma research has come a long way in the past years, however with PMH's hard work, and the support of so many incredible and generous people, I feel like the coming years will see more than just treatments; we will see a true, and definite end to Myeloma.
For me personally, perhaps the best news of the past week was speaking to my father on Sunday night. Just recently, he had an overall checkup after finishing a half-year long treatment cycle and his health couldn't be better. He is still being monitored monthly, however I am confident that by the time this awful disease starts to act up again, his options will be numerous and once again, effective.
I already devoted an entire entry to thanking the countless people who made this journey possible, however let me wrap this up by once more acknowledging; my former company in the UK, Cyan UV, for their generous donation and support, Rocky Mountain cycles for their help with my little Gladys, Myeloma Canada for their amazing support and help, the amazing people who helped me on the road, and everyone who was able to make this trip such a success with your donations, words of support, and cheers. And yes, to answer your question, that was a horrible run-on sentence. With the support of so many, this campaign was able to crush my initial goals of $35k and raise a current total of $49, 523.79. I say current total, because donations are still trickling in, and I am confident we'll easily top $50,000.
**(Update Nov. 27, 09) I've just been informed that in fact the latest count puts us at $53.384.79!!! Apparently 'trickling' was a bad choice of words!
I could write for hours about what this trip meant to me, but I feel like I've said what needs to be said. The biggest piece of advice I can offer to anyone after this life-changing experience is that if you are EVER considering doing something foolish, crazy, out of this world, completely impossible or downright insane... there's no better time to start than right now.