Tag Archives: Fundraising

2015 Fundraising Appeal – Obliteride

Today I’m kicking off my fundraising for Obliteride, my third annual ride to benefit Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), and my annual request to friends to help support my favorite charity.

I’ve written before about my work towards helping to repair the world – I feel an obligation to share what I can, and I hope you’ll join me. Many friends ask me to help with their fundraising; this is an invitation for us to be part of a “circle of giving.” If you’re interested, post back to let me know what you’re doing, and how I can help.

I’m particularly excited about Obliteride and Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, for the following reasons:

  • Bone marrow transplant was invented at Fred Hutch.
  • Immunotherapy and Genomics – today’s research focus at FHCRC – have a very strong potential of curing most human cancers within 10 years. These therapies involve sequencing an individual’s cancer genes, and then using that individual’s own immune system to attack and eliminate the cancer.
  • FHCRC vision to treat cancer: Blood test, small surgery, vaccine. Amazing stuff, and way better than chemo!
  • FHCRC is also one of the top researchers in the world for HIV. Their research focus is “DNA editing enzymes” which has broad potential for treating HIV and other viruses, which also frequently complicate cancer patients’ recovery.
  • Obliteride money raised last year actually helped FHCRC develop new blood-testing technology. It used to cost $500 per person to get a blood test in Africa or S. America. Now, a Fred Hutch-developed paper-based carrier can be used with a splatter of blood, and mailed to a testing center for just $0.50, dramatically reducing the cost – and increasing the reach – of blood testing.

One more reason – as if that wasn’t enough to inspire you, is a very personal one for me. It was exactly ten years ago that my good friend and mentor, Marty Levin, died from Multiple Myeloma, a deadly blood cancer. Marty enriched my life, and the lives of so many people, in so many ways, that I’ve dedicated my fundraising efforts this year to try to eradicate cancer – in his memory and gratitude for our friendship.

Obliteride is August 9th. In addition to donating $250 of my own, I’ll be riding 100 or so miles with 1000+ like-minded people, and I hope you’ll support my fundraising goal of $1500, with a small donation of your own. Here’s the link to make an online donation. Do it today and help me support Fred Hutch and remember my good friend, Marty!

Josh and the tub

Newly Impassioned Soul

I heard Mumford & Sons “Roll Away Your Stone” on the iPod the other day. It was one of those gorgeous warm afternoons we’ve been savoring as part of Febru-ly in Seattle (follows June-uary, thank you to Gail, apologies to my fellow skiers and NY in-laws!)

The song brought me back to an epic ride from August 2011, that I thought I’d share with you. Conveniently, Josh and I made a video about it, which you can now watch here.

Courage Classic is a 3-day charity ride (i.e. non-competitive) that runs each August in the mountains east of Seattle. What made the ride so amazing for me was that it was the first time out for more than just a short day ride with my son, Josh, who had just turned 16. It was a father-son rite of passage, something that happens once in a lifetime — if you’re lucky.

The basic elements of the ride: Three days on the bike, two nights camping. All-you-can-eat meals and snacks catered by volunteer organizations competing for your votes of appreciation. Portable shower truck at each stop and the finish. Camping gear hauled for free by UPS. On-road support vehicles. Live music. Beer. Waterfalls. All you have to do is fundraise/donate, train for a couple of months, then climb and descend Snoqualmie Pass, Blewett Pass and Stevens Pass, a total of around 180 miles (of bliss!)

For the movie, we mixed a time-lapse sequence from Josh’s GoPro Hero HD, along with cellphone stills and an amazing hula dance (what some people will do for a free T-shirt!) Some fun facts that take you back: Josh is wearing a Windows Vista jersey; and at one point during the time-lapse, you get a quick glimpse of Jay Inslee, who was beginning his campaign for governor at the time, and riding with his son.

Since that ride, Josh has become quite an adventurous outdoorsman (check out his YouTube channel here.) The ride was a hard one for him – he was about to come down with mono, and almost bailed – but I’m so grateful to have been able to share something so special with my son.

By the way, if you think the whole thing sounds like fun, but want to try something a little less challenging, I have a tip for you. The guy who ran Courage Classic is now running Obliteride in Seattle, with rides from 25- to 180 miles, the second weekend in August. The hospitality isn’t exactly the same, but pretty darn close, and it’s a great cause! I have a team, and we start training in May.

Why Swim, Why Give

Why Do I Swim?

I’m 47 years old, and discovered my love for sports, particularly outdoor endurance sports, at age 40. My wife had given birth to our second son, and we got a treadmill to help us lose the post-pregnancy weight. I tried it and liked it, but soon discovered two things: I didn’t like working out indoors – even in the gym – nearly as much as in our great Northwest outdoors; and I wanted something competitive to hold my interest.

I took up triathlon and have now done about 15 of them. The highlight was competing in the Olympic distance in Lake Stevens a few years ago, before they cancelled it in favor of the 70.3. This year, my training buddy got really into running, and convinced me to try the Seattle and Mercer Island half marathons. Following those, I tried the LiveSTRONG 70-mile bike ride and then the PSBC Swim for Life. Now I’m hooked on going after longer distances and bigger challenges.

Swimming for me is such a healthy, graceful and peaceful sport. Healthy, because it’s low impact on me and on the earth; graceful, because you move fluidly through the water, hopefully without flailing or overtaxing any of your bodily systems; and peaceful because as I swim, I can forget about all the normal daily distractions of my life, and focus only on my thoughts. In the end, it is just the water and me….

I loved swimming in the 2009 Swim for Life event with 240 like-minded souls. It was a gorgeous morning, with friends old and new, a good challenge – I nearly gave up stricken with a leg cramp 2/3 of the way to Madison Park, but persevered through it – and in the end, was greeted with a warm beach, great coffee, and a feeling of having conquered a significant new challenge. Wow!

Why Do I Give Blood?

I’ve been giving blood all my life. This year, I switched to plasma, because PSBC asked me to do it. I’ve always believed that if I can help, and don’t have a good reason for not doing it, then it’s my responsibility to do it.

We’ve all seen the signs saying, “Imagine Saving a Life,” which is the Blood Center’s latest advertising campaign. While this is probably aimed at recruiting new donors, it makes me feel good whenever I see it or whenever I think about my donations. It feels as if I am personally responsible for saving not just a single life, but many lives every day. I find it easy to believe that many of my friends and neighbors who have been sick or injured have benefitted from my donation – even if they did not receive the exact blood that I gave.

Perhaps it is the ability to help others in the community who are least able – at that moment – to help themselves. Perhaps it is the fact that this is a way we can ensure there is help for us if we ever need it. But the most compelling reason, to me, is that it’s so easy – it requires no money, no more than an hour or two, and your body quickly regenerates whatever you give.

For all these reasons, I will continue to give, and I will continue telling my friends, my kids, and my workmates, how good it makes me feel. To life!

David Lazar

Bellevue, WA