Hey there -
Do me a favor and check out the pictures at left of my buddy Sandy. Pretty sweet, right? Hand-built boat, Croakies, blonde on the bowsprit, sunshine. That's where Sandy's been recently, crushing through the Western currents in the "Starla Belafonte," a fiberglass drift boat he built in his parents' barn in western Massachusetts. Makes me pretty damn happy to see him like that. Sixteen months ago, I was terrified I never would again.
Sixteen months ago, I heard that Sandy - a lifelong hockey teammate, ski partner, fellow Sox fan, BBQ fiend, all-around-good guy and phenomenal dancer - had aplastic anemia, a blood disorder that affects one's ability to produce the blood cells the body needs. Not sweet at all. Sandy needed chemo, a bone marrow transplant and a lot of luck and a lot of love. He was not ferrying rad coeds down whitewater rapids. He was having trouble doing the stuff we take for granted, like reading a few pages or walking around the block.
Now, do another favor - this time for anybody who's ever needed a miracle and gotten the help they needed - and donate to this truly worthy cause. This donation could be in honor of someone you know and love, or someone you've loved and lost, or it could be simply to recognize the fact that life takes a lot of turns, often sudden, and just as often for the bad as for the better.
16 months ago, Sandy was just starting to accelerate out of one hell of a turn - he wasn't crushing through river waves, he was going back and forth to Boston to his blood swapped out as his body adjusted to his treatment. Not fun. But, steps in the right direction - steps everybody who loved him watched and cheered - steps he didn't take by himself.
You'll see Sandy's younger brother Nate manning the bow of the "Starla B" in another of the pictures i've uploaded here. The Flints don't just share the boat deck, a thirst for adventure, stellar genes, and the title of "awesome," they also share bone marrow - Sandy was lucky enough to have his older sister Betsy qualify as the miracle match he needed to provide a marrow transplant and save his life. Donating bone marrow to somebody, brother or not, is not like dropping something off at Toys for Tots - it's no small sacrifice, but it is a genuine miracle. Most donors who register are never called upon to provide that miracle match, but the fact that they are on call to be tapped is what matters - so that they can get the news we got, that Betsy was a match that could give Sandy what he needed, that the luck turned from bad to good.
That's a turn for the better, and it's also about giving to someone in need.
Sounds cliche because it is but it's cliche because it's true. There are tens of thousands of people with cancers (such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma) or a disease that affects the production of bone marrow cells, such as Aplastic anemia, a severe immunodeficiency syndrome, or sickle cell anemia) that are undergoing chemo or radiation therapy, need a transplant, and are waiting on a match.
When you donate to Racing to Register, you're directly funding the testing and registration process that builds and grows the National Bone Marrow Registry so that it can match and help as many good people like Sandy as it can.
It's an amazing organization pushing a truly worthy agenda and saving actual lives.
True, Sandy did not need to rely on the National Registry - he was incredibly lucky that his sister Betsy was a match - but so many other patients are not that lucky and need a match - I've been working with RTR for a little while now and it hasn't taken long to hear a pretty hefty share of stories both heartwarming and heartbreaking - and both are equally motivating to me to try and spread the word, get people registered, and help out as much as I can.
Apart from Sandy, I've never known anybody who needed help like this. I do know, however, that the process of learning about his sickness, watching him go through treatment, seeing him with no hair, not being able to hug it out because he might catch a cold his stoppered immune system couldn't handle, hanging on every word in an email update, all that jazz - to hearing him get stronger over the phone, helping him put another layer of fiberglass on the hull of the Starla B, hugging it out, getting the word he was through his treatment free and clear, hugging it out again, seeing pictures of him rowing the boat he built down raging whitewater with a cutie up front ... wouldn't all that make you want everybody to have the same chance Sandy did? It's a tall order but totally achievable. Step by step, donor after donor, dollar for dollar.
Please give what you can - thank you so much.
If you want to learn more about Sandy, aplastic anemia, the Starla B, hugging it out, the National Bone Marrow Registry, or Team Racing to Register, give me a shout - firstname.lastname@example.org - 860 921 8540.
And here's some stock text for your viewing pleasure...
RACING TO REGISTER wrote -
2013 and time again to be a part of the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. Come on, who doesn't like flat, fast and fun races. Bands throughout the course keep you going and thousands of spectators make you feel like....well....a rocker! Help us encourage more people to join the National Bone Marrow Registry by enjoying this half marathon. Whether the first time for you, or one of many races, no better way than to add a cause to your efforts!