Just over a year ago I had advertised my cancer diagnosis via social media, only to be flooded with support and encouragement (physical and emotional) from friends and strangers, which continues to this day. Initially, I had a very difficult time accepting the assistance, my self-reliant stubborness and attempts to burden others as little as possible remaining at the forefront of my motivations, but as I’ve detailed in previous blog posts, I let this fall to the wayside for good reason. Little did I know, post-surgery, I was going to need an incredible amount of assistance from others – physically, emotionally and financially. Suffice to say, the support I received from others (most of you reading this) kept my life intact while I was essentially bed-ridden from the invasiveness of the surgery, and I’ll never be able to express my gratitude for that assistance fully. Over the past year since then, I’ve tried to be a force of positivity and motivation for others, to repay as much of that encouragement I was given…but always with the hope that I wouldn’t need any further assistance. I just wanted to put that need behind me.
But…here we are again. A year and a half later I will be entering the same gutting surgery again, getting a matching absurdly long incision down my stomach (guaranteed to lose my bellybutton this time), and hopefully getting as much cancer (all of it?) out as possible, extending my lifespan into, as my surgical oncologist put it, “many many years”. As hopeful as that all is, the reality of the surgery and the complete physical destruction it entails can not be avoided. My life, come August 12th, will essentially stop again. I will be kept alive by machines for days. I will have tubes threaded in and out of my body, collecting and dispersing fluids through my systems. I will lose weight and strength. My body will react in ways that are downright alien. I will, to put it bluntly, enter a world of hurt. And that world of hurt will remain for months as my body slowly builds back from this latest trauma. The suppressed and overshadowed mental scars and “smaller” difficulties of the first surgery experience have been rising to the surface of my memory with each passing day.
But my body will build back.
And this time I’ll have the direct support of my girlfriend with me on a daily basis. I’ll also have the potential to keep working during the vicodin-enabled moments the pain subsides and my spirits lift, as I’ve begun building my freelance design/writing business, in part to prepare for this surgery potential. So there will be some positive differences, but that doesn’t completely quell the concerns I have about my daily activities coming to an abrupt halt….which brings me to the focus of this post.
To put it simply, I’m still quite concerned about my financial state post-surgery and I need to lay the groundwork now to keep things intact as my body heals and recovers. I certainly don’t expect another benefit to be held on my behalf, and my stubborn resolve has also recovered to the point that I don’t necessarily want one either. That doesn’t, however, change the reality of my financial circumstance, and so with that in mind, I’m throwing my own benefit. But I hope to organize it in a way that will equally benefit everyone who participates. Hear me out.
I’m going to host a “benefit fun run” (1. I’ll rebrand this with a much cooler name later 2. unfortunately, – or fortunately – this will not be a race…just a run). I’ve JUST pulled this idea together, so the specifics will be fleshed out as we move along, but I want to get the ball rolling on this as soon as possible to make this as cool as it can be. I’m not one to just mimic previous models and so hope to bring something really unique to this event. I want this to be a celebration of living, first and foremost, but I also want to offer everyone who runs/contributes some really cool items in return. There won’t be “swag bags” of useless product samples and flyers to pitch, but rather, personal items such as mix-cd’s, artwork, coffee certificates, etc. etc. etc. I plan to have limited apparel available, but also branded sports towels for everyone. Everyone who contributes will get something aesthetically nice, useful and infused with a personal touch. Again, I’m just pulling all this together, but the format will be as follows:
– Sunday, August 10th, Indianapolis
– “Alley cat” style run (no permits, no blocked streets)
– Various distances along the Monon trail & Canal Tow Path
– Water stops available
– Donation only (contribute as little or as much as you feel compelled)
– Branded items for everyone who contributes
– “Sleep-in” category (contribute, even if you don’t show up)
– No awards
– Useful “swag bag”
– Apparel available
– All prizes available to participants
– Post-run food/drink/hangout
– Etc. Etc. Etc.
I planned this run on a date that won’t interfere with other races around that weekend, and although it’s cutting it close to surgery (1 day after my birthday and 1 day before I check in to the hospital), I’m sure we can pull this off given the time to prepare. If you want to help out in any way (spreading the word, volunteering, etc.) or are a business that wants to help contribute and make this a really fun event, please feel free to get in touch.
In the meantime, I’ll be reaching out to individuals and businesses to make this run as successful and fun for everyone involved as possible. I’ve always wanted to give back to the running community in some way, and this is as best I can come up with at this point. I hope you’ll be excited to take part.
Again, I want to express my deepest appreciation for everyone that helped me out a year ago…I don’t want to think where I would be today if I didn’t have your support…and although I, unfortunately, may need assistance yet again, I hope that my efforts can benefit you just as much in return. I really look forward to giving back as much as I can before I enter surgery, then come back out of it and get to running with you all again.
To get in direct contact with me about this event – firstname.lastname@example.org