Oct 06

“Make a joke and I will sigh and you will laugh and I will cry.”

Nycc I thought this particular Black Sabbath lyric was especially appropriate in setting up my blog about Saturday night's Young Survival Coalition charity comedy event at The New York Comedy Club.
YSC needs all the help it can get. Its mission is simple, but stark: raise funds for, and provide support to, young women who are diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, though, YSC doesn't attract the buzz that larger, better-funded breast cancer organizations such as Susan G.  Komen Foundation enjoy. Ysc_logo

And, the charity ride is anything but charitable to the riders. We logged 230 miles in two-and-a half days, battled high winds, steep hills and precipitous descents. In fact, three riders fell and broke collar bones on the first day alone. That said, no matter how painful the experience, all one had to do for motivation was look ahead, behind or to the side and see a cancer survivor battling the very same elements. How could any of us give up when these survivors, who had already endured so much, were pushing their bodies to the max? We peddled on…
So, in addition to competing in YSC's Tour de Pink charity cycling event this past weekend, several other Peppercommers will be joining me for Saturday's fundraising comedy event.
Finally, in the spirit of social media, allow me to be totally transparent. Today's blog is nothing more than a bald-faced attempt to hype Saturday night's event, increase the gate (all proceeds go to YSC) and help the Coalition with its noble task.
Assuming you don't have prior plans, we'd love to see you.  (8pm, Saturday October 9th, The New York Comedy Club, 241 East 24th St.; reservations are advised: 212-696-5233.) And, even if you do have a conflict, click on the YSC link  (or on my personal YSL fundraising page) and send them a few bucks. It all helps. And, that's no joke.

Oct 07

In the pink

I just joined 175 other cyclists for the 220-mile Tour de Pink cancer charity ride. It was a great event for a critically important cause. I won't wax poetic about what it all meant to me but, to answer one person's question: 'Yes, it was worth all the pain and agony and, yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat.’ So, here are some random thoughts and shoutouts about my epic adventure:

October 7 - pink

– Helmets off to Matt Purdue (pictured here along with erstwhile Peppercommer Trish Taylor and me) for organizing the tour. This is the sixth year that riders have set out from Hershey, Pa., struggled to climb the heinous hills of Pennsylvania Dutch country and finish two-and-a-half days later in Bridgewater, NJ. Matt and his fellow organizers have raised $2 million for cancer research in the tour's six years.

– The survivors. There were about 40 survivors who rode alongside us on various stretches. Whenever my neck, back or legs hurt, I just had to glance at a survivor to suck it up and keep pedaling.

– Don Middleberg for donating $500 to support me. Don's always been a hero of mine (he created a great dotcom agency and chose the perfect timing in selling it). See you at the Kitano, Don.

– The friends, family and co-workers who pledged money. It all helps.

– The Mennonite school kids who would stop in the middle of their baseball game, step out of a 19th century-like existence and cheer us on (Trust me: it was like watching an episode of 'Little House on the Prairie').

– The Tour de Pink support crews. We had unbelievable support teams who carried our luggage, tuned our bikes and fed us along the way.

– Valley Forge National Park. I'd never seen it before. It looked cold and bleak in early October, so I can only imagine the wintery conditions of 1776-77.

– My trusty assistant, Dandy Stevenson, who made sure everything had been arranged in advance ('Not to worry,' the Tour de Pink people would say, 'Dandy took care of that for you').

– The other riders, who were incredibly supportive and only too happy to help with advice, suggestions, etc. The cry of 'car back!' is still ringing in my ears (That's a warning from the trailing rider that a car is rapidly approaching from the rear).

That's it. Check the Fox & Friends coverage and, if the spirit so moves you, donate a dollar or two to the cause.

Sep 01

Headache? What headache?

September 1 Every time I’m nursing a sore muscle, feeling a tad blue or simply having a tough time motivating myself to exercise, I stumble across an article, news segment or viral video that blows my mind and sends me scurrying out the first door to log some mileage. The most recent one popped up in the September issue of Runner’s World.

In a section entitled, ‘HumanRace,’ the publication featured three athletes who could run rings around me (or anyone else I know, for that matter).

The first was 60-year-old Sister Mary Elizabeth Lloyd, who wanted to raise awareness for AIDS orphans. What did she do? Sr. Mary ran 100 miles in her habit! In the process, she raised $250,000 for the charity and was named a United Nation’s Servant of Peace. Talk about a religious experience. Holy cow!

Number two was Plymouth Meeting, Pa., kindergarten teacher Michelle Moyer, who organized a group of fellow teachers to run a half-marathon. Their goal was to raise money for one of Michelle’s students who had brain cancer. How did they do?  Not bad considering most had never run before. Not only did the teachers complete the 13.1 mile course, they ended up raising $10,000 for Nick. Nice.

The third and final case study featured John O’Connor, a 37-year-old engineer from Bradford, Massachusetts. Seeking to raise awareness of, and money for, the Wounded Warrior Project, O’Connor ran the Boston Marathon course four times non-stop in a staggering 24 hours and 50 minutes. In all, this Energizer Bunny of engineering covered 104.8 miles and raised $5,000.

Headache? What headache. I’ve got to go for a run.

Jun 24

Barry Schultz puts it all in perspective

My hamstring hurt. My allergies were bothering me. And, I was than thrilled to be rising at 5:30am thisFundraiser_2
past Saturday to drive 110 miles south to Cape May County, NJ.

It was already hot, humid and windy as hell when I arrived in a godforsaken schoolyard in the middle of the Pine Barrens. I was there along with hundreds of other bicycle riders to compete in a charity fundraiser. It was a great cause. But, let’s just say I wasn’t thrilled to be there.

Then, I met Barry Schultz. Barry has been struck down by ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was diagnosed with it two years ago, but shows little ill effects from a malady that carries a prognosis of two to five years.

Words do not due justice to Barry’s can-do attitude. He’s bright, bubbly and outgoing. And, he was champing at the bit to start the fund-raising bike ride.

And, ride we did. And, ride Barry did. And, sure enough, my hamstring cooperated, my allergies subsided and I cruised through the woods to the seashore.

It was cool to finish the race. It was cooler still to watch my fellow riders cheer Barry a few minutes later when he wheeled across the finish line.

Our team raised $19,000 for Barry and ALS research. It’s a drop in the bucket to be sure. But, every dollar counts.

What counts more is the lesson Barry taught us on Saturday. He showed us how one can, and should, live one’s life. Despite the death sentence, Barry makes the most out of each and every minute he has.

What a different world this would be if Barry was the norm, and not the exception. Talk about image and reputation management! Barry could, and should write a book. There are quite a few CEOs and politicians who would learn a great deal from it.