A week and a half late is better than never. I blame my lack of lack of life on the delay.
Last January I made one simple goal --- to live every day of the year with no regret. There was no “get in shape,” no “swear less,” and no “reduce stress.” Just live life with no regrets, which turns out is much easier said than done, but makes everything a hell of a lot more interesting. I would need more hands to count the stupid shit I did in 2013, but 30 fold more to count the things that would have been impossible if trapped inside some cubicle.
I visited 10 countries; worked on a boat; farmed rice (drank too much rice whiskey); visited America; rode a train through rural Tanzania; learned to scuba dive; motor biked across SE Asia; paid homage to the world’s (current) longest reigning king; gave bikes to school children; swam with manta rays; attended a funeral in Thailand, a wedding in Vietnam; was a best mate’s groomsman; bet in an underground boxing club; bungee jumped more than a football field; saw 2 natural wonders of the world, one 1,000 feet above in a glider, and one swimming through it; went sky diving with my dad; obliterated my bank account…; ran a marathon (kind of); played with monkeys and snakes; and moved to a new country, to name a few.
Of course I also was lucky enough to have my parents and friends visit me abroad, became closer to my brother than imaginable, made some great new friends, learned heaps equally about myself and others, and arguably more regarding business than was learnt whilst professionally consulting.
But everything wasn’t cheery: the grandparents are aging fast, an old friend committed suicide, one family member was diagnosed with lymphoma, another located a tumour, and friendships have most certainly been lost. Communication with folks back home could definitely have been improved; although, conversations become more and more difficult as time progresses, and I’ve got to admit: I think we all forget that conversing works both ways.
Where would we be without Al Gore inventing the Internet? I'd probably be a few pounds lighter, a bit more educated, and perhaps even have a girlfriend. And what about Google? We'd probably still be paying for email and asking things like "a/s/l" to strangers in Yahoo! chat rooms.
I used these 2 new age inventions to learn some things about the country where I'll land in just a few hours. So in the spirit of education, here's a comparison between America and what I think I'll be calling the great country of Zambia (I'm not pulling a Snowden, just a mere, factual comparison).
Fun fact: I've always timed my trips, no idea why. But as of now, I left Atlanta 32 hours, 27 minutes, and 53 seconds ago. That's apparently the time it takes to get from ATL to LAX, via 3 completed flights, 7 missed flights, a connection in Vegas (...damn) and 1 lost piece of luggage, which turns out to be not ideal when you only have 1 piece of luggage to your name. But they have 12 1/2 hours to find it before my 13 hour flight to Sydney... I joke, but for the price of this standby ticket, I'd easily do it all over again.
It's been a great few weeks visiting friends and family --- who have mostly become one in the same --- in America, but I'm ready to hit the road again to get back to Australia to see my f&f there. Between the wedding, lunches and dinners, sleepovers, Braves games, and everything else, it was great catching up with the dozens of people I was able to see, whether it be intentionally or by luck.
There were 2 toasts made that I'll warrant as being decent enough to write:
First, I told Wes at his wedding, if you were to look at our past 5 years, we haven't seen each other that much. Sure, we grew up together; but he went to Georgia, and I to Tech; he works 80 hours a week making movies, and I traveled with consulting; he moved to Atlanta, and I to Australia. A couple of trips here and there for football or a general visit, but for the most part, life has changed so much since we saw each other every single day back in high school nearly a decade ago --- after all, the purpose for the entire trip was the wedding. But the beauty in friendship is that it does not matter if you saw each other last week or last year, you pick up like it was yesterday. I love that and consider myself lucky to have such good friends where that happens. It's like we never missed a beat.
The second was said at Plishka's "surprise" birthday party. Here's the gist: I've made some great friends all around the world. Hell, I could circle the globe and not pay for a bed if I needed to. But having lived in 3 continents, I'm still amazed how absolutely incredible my friends in Atlanta are. I fear the day when we're all "too busy" to get together each week to eat, hang out, and generally crack jokes at one another. And to be fair, after learning about what everyone has accomplished in the past year, whether it be a new career, a new partner, or even a new kid, that day could be coming upon us quickly. (Not that I disagree with careers, partners, or kids.) But as we were talking that night, I sure as hell don't want to be 40, sitting at my child's baseball game, look around, and think "how the fuck did I get here?" and "where did the last 15 years just go?" pop into my head.
So, a simple ask. Make the extra effort to get together once every week or two for a dinner. Have a movie night. Go to a Braves game. Travel. We are all living in the prime of our life right now --- let's not let it pass us by.
Nov 22, 2011 - Drenched
After being surprisingly sore from flag football on Sunday, I got back out and ran again today. It hurt. I need more people to run with. And it was pouring down rain, the entire time. From start to finish. Lesson learned - don't run on the sidewalk when MARTA buses are driving up and down the street.
Nov 28, 2011 - Running to Dexter
Legs. Are. Sore. Ran 7 miles from Inman Park to Buckhead last night (more rain) for steak fajitas and Dexter. Completely worth it.
Dec 1, 2011 - AML remission up, LLS fundraising is saving lives through new drug
LLS has partnered with Celator Pharmaceuticals on a new breakthrough drug, currently titled CPX-351. Now entering the final Phase 3 clinical trial, this new AML treatment is being called one of the biggest cancer research breakthroughs in 30 years. In trials, it has been shown to increase the AML remission rate from 31.6% with the current “7+3” treatment, to 56.3% using CPX-351. Click the below link to learn more about this life-saving new drug.
Dec 13, 2011 - Bowl Pick 'em for Team in Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
As part of my fundraising efforts for Team In Training, I am inviting you to join my private College Bowl Pick 'em Pool called TNT Bowl Pick 'em. The pool is being hosted on a website called officefootballpool.com. We’ll be collecting $10 for each entry that will be broken out in the following manner: $6 to support the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and $4 to the prize pot (1st place gets it all). It’s a worthy cause and a great way to have some fun this bowl season.
70+ runners sent out an email similar to this post. If each runner and 5 of his/her friends sign up, that puts the prize pool over $1,600, which is over a 160x return on your investment. And you know it's not gambling if you know you're going to win. Needless to say, the prize should be very, very bigl.
I appreciate all your support and I ask that you please help me by doing the following:
1. Please make sure to copy and paste my name (Patrick Darsey) in the pool website text box labeled "Supporting" when registering each of your entries. It needs to be pasted exactly as it is written above.
2. Invite as many people as you can to join the league and have them paste my name under "Supporting"!
HOW'S IT WORK?
Participants pick the winning teams from a list of all the bowl games starting on December 20th.The entry with the most correct picks wins.
PAYMENT DEADLINE AND METHOD:
Try and get all payments in by December 20th but we can wait for checks in the mail. Payment can be made in one of the following ways:
1. Give cash/check to me, Patrick Darsey
2. Send PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org (choose family/friends option to avoid fees)
3. Send Paypal to Kevin (the pool coordinator): https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=XVT8T9QCD9DDY
4. Send check payable to:
808 Greenwood Ave #101
Atlanta, GA 30306
INSTRUCTIONS FOR JOINING:
Click on the link below and you will be guided through the process for joining this pool, including registering on the website if you haven't registered before.
Click here to join my pool:
If you have any questions about the pool rules or format, please write me back. If you have any technical problems joining my pool, please let me know or contact the website. If the above link doesn't work and you need the Pool ID# and Pool Entry Code (a.k.a Pool Password), they are shown below:
Pool ID#: 80110
Pool Entry Code: yt4j8g
Dec 29, 2011 - 10 miler + wrong turn = 15 miler
Be sure you know your route before you start off.......
Jan 13, 2012 - See this story on the honored patient who inspired a man to create the TNT program
She Inspired a Charity Running Phenomenon
Posted by whitleyt in Team In Training on Jan 7, 2012
New York, January 7, 2011 – Georgia Cleland, now 28, is the little girl who helped spawn an entire running for charity movement – the largest of its kind in the world. A leukemia patient at age 2, when the chance of survival was just 55 percent, today she ran her first half-marathon with Team In Training, t
he organization her father founded in her honor 23 years ago. She ran the Walt Disney World half-marathon. Thanks to her father Bruce Cleland's imagination, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training has had a remarkable influence on the world of marathon running and on blood cancer research.
The Cleland Family was busting with pride as they watched Georgia cross the finish line at the Disney Half Marathon. As the inspiration for more than half a million people who’ve trained with Team In Training over 23 years, Georgia is more than an Honored Teammate, as the charity’s poster children are called. She’s the catalyst for more than $1.2 billion of research and services for people with blood cancers.
“I’ve seen many families who’ve suffered in so many ways because of a blood cancer diagnosis,” LLS CEO John Walter said. “The Cleland family transformed the experience into a life-saving, energizing and healthy program for hundreds of thousands. As they look out at the sea of purple running shirts this coming weekend, they’ll know that they’ve made a lasting mark for which we’ll be forever grateful.”
Twenty-three years ago, Bruce Cleland took the first step as the first marathoner-for-a-cause, as his daughter fought to survive leukemia. His idea – to support leukemia research by raising money and running his first marathon with a team of friends -- inspired a running movement that has touched many, many people. 540,000 runners have now followed in his footsteps and raised $1.2 billion dollars to fund cancer research through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Early in 1988, Cleland, of Towson, MD, had a brainstorm of an idea. He gathered his friends and colleagues and, inspired by his mission, they trained together to run the New York City marathon on November 6, 1988. Each had gotten pledges from people they knew, raising an unexpected $320,000 for blood cancer research. Despite being in his forties and suffering from a bad knee, Cleland, who lived in Rye, NY, at the time, asked his friend and fellow New Zealand native, Rod Dixon (Olympian and winner of the 1983 NYC Marathon) to train the group of 32 novice runners. The group successfully completed the marathon in honor of Cleland’s 5-year-old daughter Georgia, who had just completed two years of treatment for leukemia. They donated the money to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which then asked Cleland to help replicate the “Team In Training” idea for its chapters across the country. And thus, the ‘fund-racing’ model was born. Team In Training has become the largest endurance-training program in the world, and its success – now broadened to triathlons and century rides – has been a big part of the surge in endurance sports over the past decade.
Cleland had unknowingly tapped into a crucial dynamic: “There were two things that made it work,” he said. “We connected it to a cause we were passionate about, and that provided the motivation. And, second, was the power of the team.
“In the old days, running was a lonely thing to do, and it was easy to get discouraged. Now, all of a sudden, you had people to encourage you,” he said.
As the Team In Training program took hold, doubling and tripling in size every year, millions of new dollars became available for cancer research. At that time, Cleland’s daughter was given about a 55 percent chance of survival. Recently, the daughter of an acquaintance was diagnosed with the same kind of leukemia that Georgia was diagnosed with at age two.
“Her survival rate is probably about 95 percent,” Cleland said. “That’s the kind of transformation that’s taken place.”
To Sign Up
Recruitment is underway in January for the summer marathons, including the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon and ½ Marathon. To learn more, call 800-482-TEAM or visit www.teamintraining.org.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training is the largest endurance sport training program. It raises millions each year to support blood cancer patients and the scientists searching for a cure. LLS prepares thousands of participants annually for marathon and half marathon runs and walks, triathlons and century (100 mile) bike rides. www.LLS.org
Feb 1, 2012 - A Series of Markers, Dates, Finish Lines, Moments in Time
From the Huffington Post (source). For more by Jenna Benn, click here.
My life has become a series of markers, dates, finish lines and moments in time.
The days no longer bleed into each other, but rather stand out -- waiting to be counted -- hoping to be acknowledged, and eager to be added to my list of memories, hardships, challenges and victories.
The list is growing -- because I need it to -- because I want it to -- because I am not sure I remember how to live without the acknowledgment of what was and what is.
And so I honor, I remember, I celebrate and I mourn these makers, these dates, these finish lines, these moments in time.
The date I was told I have cancer, the date I was told there was no sign of disease, the date I was told I was infertile, the date I had my eggs extracted, the date I started treatment, the date I finished treatment, the date I thought I was going to die, the date I knew I was going to live, the date I entered the hospital for the first time, the date I left the hospital for the last time, the date I shared my story with the world, the date I felt I had lost my voice, the date when I could do the running man and the Roger Rabbit, the date when all I could do was the twist, the date when I was able to run for 13.1 miles, the date when I was unable to climb a flight of stairs, the date when I returned to work, the date when I couldn't remember where I lived, the date I started to accept and embrace this new self, the date when I let myself mourn my former self, the date my eyebrows mysteriously grew back, the date when I decided to shave my head, the date when I found refuge in running, the date when I nearly passed out after walking a block, the date when my white blood count was 0.0, the date my blood count was 8.1, the date when I raised $18,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the date when I was billed $18,000 for a CT Scan, the date when my toes reconnected with sand, the date when I was unable to wiggle my toes, the date when I felt grounded and still, the date when I finally was able to take flight, the date when I fell out of love, the date where I found love again, the date where I felt everything had been taken and the date where I felt everything had been found.
As I continue to choose to be surrounded by markers, by dates, by finish lines -- and by moments in time, I am reminded that it is the acknowledgment of these events, it is the the list that keeps on growing, and it is the experiences of what was and what is that reminds me that I am here, that I am alive, that I am present and that I am ready for what what is and what will be.
Feb 13, 2012 - He's running for a good reason
By Jessica Milicevic. Source: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/01/22/2940185/hes-running-for-good-reason.html
Karl Kauffman, 39, will admit he has a problem.
He's addicted to running.
"I used to not be a runner at all," he said. "Now I run four or five times a week. It's an obsession."
Kauffman's obsession has benefited many people, as he has raised almost $140,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by running 13 half and full marathons.
"I'm just blessed to have so many generous friends," said the SouthPark resident. "The donors are the ones who do the heavy lifting. I just do the running."
Kauffman's running began nearly seven years ago, when he was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in January 2005. He went to the doctor with symptoms of gallstones and left with a diagnosis of a malignant tumor.
"I couldn't believe it because I didn't have any symptoms of the disease," said Kauffman. "But I tried not to dwell on it. I know things like this can get fairly depressing. I wanted to be strong for my family."
The tumor was removed, but his doctor didn't want to begin treatment until he started showing symptoms. Kauffman said that until then, he tried to live as normally as possible. He was preparing his taxes when he came across a check he'd written to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
"I had completely forgotten about it," said Kauffman. "I'd written a check for a colleague of mine who had run a marathon as part of the society's Team in Training program. I thought, if there's a way to fight against this thing, maybe this is the way to do it."
The Team in Training program is a training process that prepares members for running half marathons - 13.1 miles - full marathons of 26.2 miles and triathlons.
"The training was pretty challenging," said Kauffman. "You get up off the couch and your body's not ready for it. You're not mentally prepared for it. My first five-mile run was amazing and exhausting all at same time, and that's not even half of a half marathon."
Kauffman was also getting treatment for his lymphoma while he was training. He was enrolled in a clinical trial of immunotherapy that enabled him to continue running.
"There were virtually no side effects," he said. "I was very lucky. It helped me to discover how much I loved running."
Kauffman said that after his first half marathon, he wasn't sure he'd ever do it again.
"It's daunting, but once you get over the hump where you think you could never do it again, that's when you are prepared for the next one," he said. "The full marathon is still a struggle for me, but I'd really like to work my way up to a triathlon."
Kauffman raises money by sending email blasts, talking with people and holding events. Every year he hosts two events, The Money Bomb and Oktoberfest.
"The Money Bomb is our big email donation day where we, as nicely and non-naggingly as possible, get our donors to donate all on the same day," Kauffman said. "We were able to raise $6,000 this year during the event."
His favorite event is Oktoberfest. Kauffman and his family moved to the SouthPark area about a year ago from Washington, D.C., and he said that although they didn't know many people in the area, the event went well.
He and his wife, Stephanie, matched up to $1,000 of donations. Bank of America, where Kauffman works as a lawyer, also matched the $1,000 donation.
"It's basically a glorified happy hour, where we do raffles and a silent auction," he said. "But we made between $4,000-$5,000 dollars. That's a pretty good happy hour."
So far this year, Kauffman has raised $20,000 for the society. His lymphoma has been in remission for six years.
"They are doing so many great things in patient care and research and are doing so much in the way of potential cures and treatment," he said. "My type of lymphoma is most likely to come back, but these are such good people that it encourages me to keep going."
Jessica Milicevic is a freelance writer for South Charlotte News. Have a story idea for Jessica? Email her at email@example.com.
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/01/22/2940185/hes-running-for-good-reason.html#storylink=cpy
Feb 13, 2012 - We're official OVER $100,000
Today, we are just shy of $112,000 raised. Our team goal is $182,000. Thank you to everyone who has contributed. It makes a tremendous difference; hitting the goal allows TNT and LLS to maintain their research grants and patient services for those in need.
Feb 24, 2012 - Do the math.
Every 4 minutes there is a blood cancer diagnoses, and every 10 minutes a death.
Think about this: Every Saturday, our team shows up at 7:45a for long runs. Tomorrow, we'll stretch and head out for a 20 mile run, let's say at a 9 1/2 minute pace. That’s 190 minutes. In those 190 minutes, 47 diagnoses and 19 deaths have occurred.
Thank you for your donations -- they make a difference!