Archive for June, 2010

Half way home and time to formalize my grassroots effort

Okay it’s official! It is now time to transition my grassroots charity event to a formal, well communicated event that is focused on meeting it’s goal, objectives and tactics. What might those be you ask? Well, it’s fairly simple:

Goal: Raise $100,000.00 to benefit Children’s Hospital

Objectives:

  1. Walk 3000 Miles across America
  2. Build Facebook fan base of at least 5000 members

Tactics: (May be applied to one or both of the objectives)

  1. Walk an average of 23 miles per/day for a total of 140 days
  2. Post at least twice per day to Facebook
  3. Post updated blog entry at least once per day
  4. Post an average of at least 5 photos or videos each day
  5. Conduct over 50 newspaper interviews
  6. Conduct over 10 television news interviews

Beginning July 4th I will begin updating the pledge/donation totals at least once per/week. The frequency of the updates will increase as we get closer to the completion date. In addition to weekly updates, a table will be added to the bottom of each new blog entry, communicating the actual #’s compared to the plan.

So where are we at? The current combined total for pledges and donation is $4,470.00. Specific details include:

Donations

  • 3 donors
  • $800.00

Pledges

  • 5 pledges
  • $3,670.00

The first milestone for evaluating the walk’s progess is on July 4th. By then, I hope to have reached a total of 625 fans and $10,000 in pledges/donations. Individuals, if you are in a position to help us reach the donation goal, PLEASE DO!

An audience I have yet to direct my message to is the business world. From small to large businesses, this is a demographic who could really help us to achieve the $100k goal. I hope to reach this audience via my interviews and through the Facebook fan base. For the 90% of you who are most likely employed, I encourage you to share my message with your employer and request a donation of at least $250. As expected, all donations are tax deductable and absolutely 100% of all funds go direction to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

 I am absolutely amazed on how much progress is being made each day! Did you know that only 25 of the 504 (current count) fans are my ‘friends’ on Facebook? Some of you are a few degrees of separation from them, but most of you are people who I have met, or perhaps you heard about my journey along the way. I can’t begin to tell you how exciting it is to watch the audience grow and have an opportunity to make a real impact!

 I’ll simply say “Thank You” for now. 🙂

Day 56 – Out with the Old Spice, in with the Vanilla!

Today is one of those days where I realized how lucky I am to experience this country close-up and personal. Actually, everyday is that way, but last night I happened to get a good nights sleep.

Before taking my first steps this morning, a couple of construction workers (Leonard & Michael) asked me if I was ‘The Walker’? After some brief conversation, I mentioned how I was going stir-crazy from the Gnats. They told me the secret was either Vanilla or a special fisherman’s blend that is sold at a local sporting goods store. Before I could say “Thank You” for their advice, they handed me a fresh bottle of Vanilla to take with me. Not only that, after I started walking, Leonard made a trip to the store and met me with the special fisherman’s blend about a mile down the road. Wow!

Thank you Leonard & Michael!!

Throughout the day you could see the Gnats everywhere…except close to my vanilla scented head. 🙂

Walking through town I was surprised on how nice the town of Yankton was. Wide streets, lots of small business, and a historic downtown that was actually full of old/new businesses. Most surprisingly, was the well designed walking paths around town. I later found out that the paths were partly donated by their famous  prio resident, Tom Brokaw.

Thanks for the walking paths Tom!

A couple of institutions were mentioning are the Yankton State Hospital and Federal Prison Camp. Both provide about 1000 jobs for many of the residents, as well as many people in nearby towns.

With my MP3-player charged and vanilla applied, everything just seemed right today. It was getting hot today, but the 20+ mph winds kept me cool most of the day. Several bends were in the road, which gave a bit of variety to view of the road.

There wasn’t a single stop on the way to Tyndall, but I did walk around the town of Tabor. As I later learned, both of these towns are locals of primarily Czech descent. The town of Tabor has an annual festival that increases the population from 500 to 10,000. Unfortunately for me, I just missed it by a week. Damn!

The hard part about South Dakota so far is that lack of places to rest. Unlike other areas of the country, most of the homes are about 1/2 mile off the freeway. Before I could usually take a break on peoples grass or under their tree. I would think about sitting down in the tall grass on the side of the road, but the Gnats and Mosquitoes will eat me alive! For now, whenever I see a guard-rail, that becomes my rest-stop for the moment. I just wish they were covered from the sun.

Table for one?

So far, South Dakota has the best roads to walk on (overall) on the trip. 100% of the road has provided for ample shoulder and minimal angle. Thank you South Dakota D.O.T.!

Fundraising Pledge/Donation Goals
Goal Date 7/4/10 7/14/10 7/23/10 8/2/10 8/12/10 8/22/10 9/01/10 9/10/10
Donations $10,000 $15,000 $20,000 $30,000 $40,000 $50,000 $70,000 $100,000
Actual +/-                

 

Facebook Fan Base Goals
Goal Date 7/4/10 7/14/10 7/23/10 8/2/10 8/12/10 8/22/10 9/01/10 9/10/10
FB Fans 625 775 950 1250 1875 2500 3750 5000
Actual +/-                

Seattle Children's Hospital: 74 Days, 100 reasons to give

I watched a movie the other night called My Sister’s Keeper. If you haven’t watched it, I recommend it, but have a box of tissues handy.  I seriously haven’t cried like that during a movie – ever.  As I was watching the movie with my family and looking around the living room, I was really overcome with emotion and felt so blessed for all that we have.  We’ve been fortunate that in our family there hasn’t been any serious illness; just a few broken bones, some infections, the normal stuff.  And I think that is how it happens for most people, you just cruise through life then one day you’re hit with something that changes your life forever.  I know families where it has happened exactly that way.

We’ve been writing a lot about all the reasons to support Jack and his amazing journey to raise money and awareness for Seattle Children’s Hospital.  I realize though that sometimes it’s better to hear the stories of others to truly understand the gift that Seattle Children’s Hospital is to families, our community and to the practice of medicine.  So I’ve decided to post some videos produced by Seattle Children’s and KOMO 4 news that will shed some additional light on the great work that Seattle Children’s Hospital is doing.  Take a look, think about it, and make the decision to help support something that meant so much to Jack that he decided to spend  the next four months of his life walking across the country for it.

Seattle Children’s Hospital: 74 Days, 100 reasons to give

I watched a movie the other night called My Sister’s Keeper. If you haven’t watched it, I recommend it, but have a box of tissues handy.  I seriously haven’t cried like that during a movie – ever.  As I was watching the movie with my family and looking around the living room, I was really overcome with emotion and felt so blessed for all that we have.  We’ve been fortunate that in our family there hasn’t been any serious illness; just a few broken bones, some infections, the normal stuff.  And I think that is how it happens for most people, you just cruise through life then one day you’re hit with something that changes your life forever.  I know families where it has happened exactly that way.

We’ve been writing a lot about all the reasons to support Jack and his amazing journey to raise money and awareness for Seattle Children’s Hospital.  I realize though that sometimes it’s better to hear the stories of others to truly understand the gift that Seattle Children’s Hospital is to families, our community and to the practice of medicine.  So I’ve decided to post some videos produced by Seattle Children’s and KOMO 4 news that will shed some additional light on the great work that Seattle Children’s Hospital is doing.  Take a look, think about it, and make the decision to help support something that meant so much to Jack that he decided to spend  the next four months of his life walking across the country for it.

Seattle Children's Hospital: 75 days, 100 reasons to give

I love lists, especially lists about the cities or places I’ve been.  Healthiest Cities, Best Cities for Kids, you name it.  In case you’re wondering (and depending on the publication) Boulder, CO ranks as healthiest city (Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index) and the best city for kids they say is Tinley park, IL. (Business Week).  We have a few of our own lists here in Seattle, and in 2008, Seattle magazine featured 89 Seattle Children’s Hospital physicians in its annual Top Doctors listing. 

 If you like lists, why not join the growing list of people who want to make a difference and help support Jack on his long walk home.  Any gift, no matter how small, will help Jack power through the wind, rain, heat, unfriendly dogs, and occasional tornado warnings.

Seattle Children’s Hospital: 75 days, 100 reasons to give

I love lists, especially lists about the cities or places I’ve been.  Healthiest Cities, Best Cities for Kids, you name it.  In case you’re wondering (and depending on the publication) Boulder, CO ranks as healthiest city (Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index) and the best city for kids they say is Tinley park, IL. (Business Week).  We have a few of our own lists here in Seattle, and in 2008, Seattle magazine featured 89 Seattle Children’s Hospital physicians in its annual Top Doctors listing. 

 If you like lists, why not join the growing list of people who want to make a difference and help support Jack on his long walk home.  Any gift, no matter how small, will help Jack power through the wind, rain, heat, unfriendly dogs, and occasional tornado warnings.

Seattle Children's Hospital: 76 days, 100 reasons to give

We missed a day – day 77, so we’re giving you a double-shot of reasons why Seattle Children’s Hospital rocks.

Seattle Children’s Hospital has been providing superior care for more than 100 years!  Additionally, Seattle Children’s Hospital offers the most comprehensive heart care in the region for infants, children and teens.

We’re lucky that we have that kind of care in our back yard.  Help support Jack as he makes his way back home by pledging your support and making a donation today.  Here’s a bonus reason to make a contribution to Jack’s cause:  Seattle Children’s Hospital uncompensated care program gives all children in our region access to outstanding medical care, regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay.

Seattle Children’s Hospital: 76 days, 100 reasons to give

We missed a day – day 77, so we’re giving you a double-shot of reasons why Seattle Children’s Hospital rocks.

Seattle Children’s Hospital has been providing superior care for more than 100 years!  Additionally, Seattle Children’s Hospital offers the most comprehensive heart care in the region for infants, children and teens.

We’re lucky that we have that kind of care in our back yard.  Help support Jack as he makes his way back home by pledging your support and making a donation today.  Here’s a bonus reason to make a contribution to Jack’s cause:  Seattle Children’s Hospital uncompensated care program gives all children in our region access to outstanding medical care, regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay.

Day 55 – I'm about to eat the heads off of matchsticks

I should have slept in today. There were too many signs telling me to spend another day in Vermillion. Nope, I had a schedule to keep and needed to keep moving west. 

 Google wanted me to take a left out-of-town. I figured I would take a different route and walk through town. Almost a mile exactly down the road, I reached for my money to get some supplies. The pockets was empty! Damn, I must have left it next to the bed! 180 degrees in the opposite direction I now walk back another mile.

When I arrived, there wasn’t any money on the table. Before freaking out I start to rummage through the cart. At the bottom (of course) was another pair of identical shorts…with the money in the pocket. Ugh! When packing this morning I had somehow put on the other pair of shorts and packed the others. After kicking myself a few times, I now started walking away again. This time I told myself that I had better take the route Google had suggested. 1/2 mile down the road I got to the first turn according to Google. NOPE, this was definitely not a good way to walk! There was absolutely no shoulder. I mean really! The edge of the road was an 8″ curb, which would have me walking in the lane of the road. So now, I’m walking a 1/2 mile back to where I started…again.

About this time is when I started to get swarmed by the 1st Calvary Gnat and Mosquito division. In the middle of town and no swamps nearby. WTH? This wasn’t stopping and I soon realized that I needed to put on a coat (one of many) of bug spray. This helped from them landing on me, but not from hovering constantly an inch from my face. Fifty of them at a time would just hang out on my glasses or the brim of my hat. They were relentless, just waiting for defense layer to sweat away.

Beautiful day, but I sure did miss the nice wind from yesterday. Today’s temperatures were in the mid-80’s and almost to the point of being hot. Absolutely manageable and not too terrible to walk in. The sun was pretty bright though and gave me some red cheeks.

Like yesterday, the first turn in the road didn’t occur until about the twelve-mile mark. The grain silo that I focused on all day will forever be burned into my retinas. There were a few more trees and even some small hills to see to the North and South. Other than that…boring.

A couple of miles into the walk I was going to take the first picture of the day. As I turned on the camera, it used the last of its charge and closed right back up. I guess I should have purchased a more expensive camera, or, at least a camera that had a battery meter. This normally wouldn’t be an issue, but the spare batteries are in the bottom of my storage bin. The bin is NOT something that I want to open on the side of the road. Mainly because its packed so tight, that without the restraint of my bungee cords, it’s ready to blow at any moment.  I also didn’t want to give the Gnats a chance to regroup and plan their next wave of attack!

At the 8 mile mark I stopped in the small town of Mengling, SD. Mengling consists of  a handful of homes, Toby’s lounge and a Grain Silo. I went into Toby’s to take a break from the sun and drink some water. I was surprised to be greeted by a very attractive female bartender. Hubba Hubba! Easily influenced at this time, she convinced me to try their fried chicken. If she had been more of an aggressive salesperson, I’m sure I would have a cart full of Toby’s lounge t-shirts and hats in my Runabout. Such a sucker…

The fried chicken arrived and I can’t lie. It was close to the best chicken I have ever had! It was the same, if not comparable to Double Front Chicken in Missoula, MT. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend stopping at Toby’s in Mengling, SD for some chicken.

Upon leaving the bartender said to “Come back again”! I was very tempted to say I would be back tomorrow.

The rest of the road to Yankton, SD was full of gnats, mosquitos and the sun was a bit relentless. The good news is that there was a bend in the road ahead, allowing me a different point to focus on for a couple of hours.

At the Best Western in Yankton I was greeted by Sarah, who I believe is a manager. I gave my usual request of a discount or even donated room. Sarah mentioned that she saw me on the television the night before and could give me the employee rate. Awesome! I proceeded to go straight to my room and assume the horizontal position for a couple of hours.

While snoozing, I got a call from the Yankton newspaper. Jeremy, a reporter and overall very nice guy, was coming out to take some pictures and interview me. Ten minutes later, we were in the street taking some action shots! At first we were going to just hang outside for the interview. This quickly changed when Jeremy’s head was consumed by a swarm of gnats/mosquitos. Acting quickly, we retreated to the confines of the motel lobby!

Jeremy and I talked about the walk for about an hour. At the same time several people sat close by and were generally entertained by the information. A guy (who travels frequently) got a kick out of the fact that I couldn’t remember the name of the town I was in yesterday. He laughed and commented that he can empathize. Before leaving, both him and his friend shook my hand and wished me luck.

It’s those little sentiments that always re-charge my battery and help me keep going. 🙂

After the interview, you can probably guess what happened next? Yip, catch-up on the blog and return to the horizontal position.

Btw, I have at least 13 (and counting) mosquito bites on my arms and legs from today. There is absolutely no way that I can deal with 10+ hours of swarming on my face each day. If the repellent doesn’t work tomorrow, I may have to take drastic measures. My friend Jett (who I write in previous blog entries) suggested that I eat the heads off of matchsticks. Knowing Jett, this was probably a cruel practical joke that he knew would take some time to develop. If serious, he mentioned that the sulfer from the matchsticks would make me undesireable to insects. 

I’m pretty sure that I would be undesireable to anything that moved, walking around smelling like rotten eggs. We’ll see…I may try it!

Day 55 – I’m about to eat the heads off of matchsticks

I should have slept in today. There were too many signs telling me to spend another day in Vermillion. Nope, I had a schedule to keep and needed to keep moving west. 

 Google wanted me to take a left out-of-town. I figured I would take a different route and walk through town. Almost a mile exactly down the road, I reached for my money to get some supplies. The pockets was empty! Damn, I must have left it next to the bed! 180 degrees in the opposite direction I now walk back another mile.

When I arrived, there wasn’t any money on the table. Before freaking out I start to rummage through the cart. At the bottom (of course) was another pair of identical shorts…with the money in the pocket. Ugh! When packing this morning I had somehow put on the other pair of shorts and packed the others. After kicking myself a few times, I now started walking away again. This time I told myself that I had better take the route Google had suggested. 1/2 mile down the road I got to the first turn according to Google. NOPE, this was definitely not a good way to walk! There was absolutely no shoulder. I mean really! The edge of the road was an 8″ curb, which would have me walking in the lane of the road. So now, I’m walking a 1/2 mile back to where I started…again.

About this time is when I started to get swarmed by the 1st Calvary Gnat and Mosquito division. In the middle of town and no swamps nearby. WTH? This wasn’t stopping and I soon realized that I needed to put on a coat (one of many) of bug spray. This helped from them landing on me, but not from hovering constantly an inch from my face. Fifty of them at a time would just hang out on my glasses or the brim of my hat. They were relentless, just waiting for defense layer to sweat away.

Beautiful day, but I sure did miss the nice wind from yesterday. Today’s temperatures were in the mid-80’s and almost to the point of being hot. Absolutely manageable and not too terrible to walk in. The sun was pretty bright though and gave me some red cheeks.

Like yesterday, the first turn in the road didn’t occur until about the twelve-mile mark. The grain silo that I focused on all day will forever be burned into my retinas. There were a few more trees and even some small hills to see to the North and South. Other than that…boring.

A couple of miles into the walk I was going to take the first picture of the day. As I turned on the camera, it used the last of its charge and closed right back up. I guess I should have purchased a more expensive camera, or, at least a camera that had a battery meter. This normally wouldn’t be an issue, but the spare batteries are in the bottom of my storage bin. The bin is NOT something that I want to open on the side of the road. Mainly because its packed so tight, that without the restraint of my bungee cords, it’s ready to blow at any moment.  I also didn’t want to give the Gnats a chance to regroup and plan their next wave of attack!

At the 8 mile mark I stopped in the small town of Mengling, SD. Mengling consists of  a handful of homes, Toby’s lounge and a Grain Silo. I went into Toby’s to take a break from the sun and drink some water. I was surprised to be greeted by a very attractive female bartender. Hubba Hubba! Easily influenced at this time, she convinced me to try their fried chicken. If she had been more of an aggressive salesperson, I’m sure I would have a cart full of Toby’s lounge t-shirts and hats in my Runabout. Such a sucker…

The fried chicken arrived and I can’t lie. It was close to the best chicken I have ever had! It was the same, if not comparable to Double Front Chicken in Missoula, MT. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend stopping at Toby’s in Mengling, SD for some chicken.

Upon leaving the bartender said to “Come back again”! I was very tempted to say I would be back tomorrow.

The rest of the road to Yankton, SD was full of gnats, mosquitos and the sun was a bit relentless. The good news is that there was a bend in the road ahead, allowing me a different point to focus on for a couple of hours.

At the Best Western in Yankton I was greeted by Sarah, who I believe is a manager. I gave my usual request of a discount or even donated room. Sarah mentioned that she saw me on the television the night before and could give me the employee rate. Awesome! I proceeded to go straight to my room and assume the horizontal position for a couple of hours.

While snoozing, I got a call from the Yankton newspaper. Jeremy, a reporter and overall very nice guy, was coming out to take some pictures and interview me. Ten minutes later, we were in the street taking some action shots! At first we were going to just hang outside for the interview. This quickly changed when Jeremy’s head was consumed by a swarm of gnats/mosquitos. Acting quickly, we retreated to the confines of the motel lobby!

Jeremy and I talked about the walk for about an hour. At the same time several people sat close by and were generally entertained by the information. A guy (who travels frequently) got a kick out of the fact that I couldn’t remember the name of the town I was in yesterday. He laughed and commented that he can empathize. Before leaving, both him and his friend shook my hand and wished me luck.

It’s those little sentiments that always re-charge my battery and help me keep going. 🙂

After the interview, you can probably guess what happened next? Yip, catch-up on the blog and return to the horizontal position.

Btw, I have at least 13 (and counting) mosquito bites on my arms and legs from today. There is absolutely no way that I can deal with 10+ hours of swarming on my face each day. If the repellent doesn’t work tomorrow, I may have to take drastic measures. My friend Jett (who I write in previous blog entries) suggested that I eat the heads off of matchsticks. Knowing Jett, this was probably a cruel practical joke that he knew would take some time to develop. If serious, he mentioned that the sulfer from the matchsticks would make me undesireable to insects. 

I’m pretty sure that I would be undesireable to anything that moved, walking around smelling like rotten eggs. We’ll see…I may try it!