Oct. 19, 2007

Everything I hoped it would be and then some...

Okay, I'm back from Austin, and still a little jet-lagged, but really happy.

I had the most wonderful time in Austin- the weather was great (hey, now that I'm back it's starting to freeze in Germany, so my tan will be gone in no time, oh well), I got to meet some really amazing people, many of them cancer survivors, a lot of them involved in fundraising activities benefiting the LAF, some of them mentees from Europe, other fellow volunteer mentors from the US and Canada, LAF staff and friends.

I'll tell you all about the weekend in the next few days but I thought I should probably post my photos, so you can get some impressions in case you didn't make it to Austin this year!

2007 Livestrong Challenge- Austin, TX

Oh, and Kate, I'm so sorry I didn't get to call you. Somehow my phone acted up and then the ride was there and things got a little hectic. But I didn't forget you and honestly hope we'll get to meet some day, maybe at next year's Challenge?! Thanks again for all you did and still do fighting against cancer!!

Oh, and I thought you might like to know, that I included you in the Challenge- take a look (sorry, I didn't get more names on the card):

Oct. 8, 2007

Off I go...

You won't here a lot from me for the next week, as I'm flying to the US tomorrow and won't be back til Wednesday, 17th. Oh, the excitement- it really gets me just a few hours before the flight and I can't wait to meet all the great people involved and/or participating in the Livestrong Challenge.

To those of you who will be in Austin, as well and would like to meet me, just head to the Livestrong Village. I will be at the LAF booth during registration on Friday (4-8 pm) and on Saturday, probably after lunch.

I just know we'll have a great time and we can celebrate our joined efforts in the fight against cancer- I mean who would've thought the amazing progress that happened in cancer research and treatment?! If we keep on fighting, we'll be able to cure cancer at some point of time in the nearer future- at least that's what we can hope for and work towards.

So, I'll see you in a few days or you can find out about my 2007 Challenge experience after I got back!

Oct. 5, 2007

Back to you

I came across the Philadelphia 2007 LiveSTRONG Challenge Messenger Award Speech by one of my fellow volunteer mentors, Scott Joy recently. Always meant to write about it, but somehow I never got to it. Well, wait no more...

In his speech, he talked about asking a lot of people to sponsor his ride and help fight cancer, and he got a pretty amazing response. Many people told him about their fight against cancer or a person that was very close to them and actually thanked him for asking and most of all doing something against cancer.

So, Scott urges us to keep asking for donations, keep being a messenger and to continue delivering the powerful message of hope and strength and life.

It doesn't matter whether you're one of the top fundraisers, like Scott who managed to raise an incredible $ 20,425.00 (his team raised $96,256.50), or you make a $5 donation- it's all very much appreciated and it helps us getting another step closer to fight cancer and give cancer patients and their loved ones a reason to hope, a reason to keep their strength and be able to look forward to a healthy life after surviving cancer.

I'm one of those people, who are not even close to making a huge benefit for the LAF, being a student doesn't leave a lot of money left for me to donate. Plus, people in Germany or Europe in general are very skeptical about making a donation to a US foundation, even though the LAF supports various European projects.

But, to all of you who did support my fundraising efforts, I just want you to know how much I appreciate your great e-mails of support, telling me about your experiences in the fight against cancer and keeping me motivated to continue my endeavor in times when I got nasty e-mails from people criticizing my involvement with the LAF. The LAF is an organization that will always be very close to my heart, with a great bunch of people working and volunteering for it and I'm very proud to be part of the LAF family. Thanks again for your help and please consider to continue your support of the LAF!

Oct. 3, 2007

German Unity Day

Today is our national holiday- the day we celebrate the German reunification. It's already been 17 years, but when I see the pictures of people climbing over the Berlin Wall, it always manages to give me goosebumps. Although I was only 12 at that time, I still remember everything about those weeks, especially since I have family living in the former GDR. We were all so excited and enthusiastic that we were finally a united nation, again.

Although in many people's mind some of that enthusiasm has disappeared, I believe we should be proud of our nation. Of course, there are still some difficulties left, but that's a small prize to pay for what truly has been a historic event.

Did I mention that besides being a complete sports nut, I'm also a huge music fan- pretty much covering all kinds of music from rock or punk music to hip hop or country. But there are only very few bands or musicians that make me buy their CD whenever something new comes out, including Tara MacLean, Sarah McLachlan (yep, I seem to prefer Canadian artists, it seems), or the Push Stars (I first saw them performing at the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse where they took part in MTV's Choose or Lose, and have been a fan ever since).

And then there's my favorite band, Matchbox Twenty (although it's a close call between those guys and the Push Stars). They were gone for quite some time, but now they're back and you can imagine my surprise, when I saw their new video and there were scenes from the German Reunification in it. It's called "How far we've come".

It chronicles many big events in history: landing on the moon, President Kennedy, the feminist movement, Pele, tearing down the Berlin wall, Live Aide, the new millennium, Princess Diana, the Middle East peace process, Live Earth, and minorities (at least when it comes to their representation in politics) as front runners for President (Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton).

Oct. 1, 2007

Portland Livestrong Challenge

It's October, 1st, and Web sites will "Go Pink" during the month of October to bring attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, get people talking about breast cancer, and raise money for research (check out their website: pinkforoctober.org for details).

You can get a ton of information by visiting the websites on my sidebar or donate to my fundraising account at the LAF.

A week to go before I'll head over to the States and two weeks before the Austin Challenge! Can't wait- I'm just so excited to go there and meet everyone.

Yesterday, the Portland Challenge obviously was a great success- with not so nice weather condition... it's reported to have been rather wet and cold, so just like in Germany ;-)

Anyway, I'm trying to get a bit of an overview for those of you who haven't been there, so if anyone knows of some pictures or news reports, let me know. This list will be updated as more information becomes available.

Third annual Livestrong Challenge in Portland

Nearly $2 million raised during Livestrong Challenge

Thousands Join "Livestrong Challenge"

Rain doesn't stop Livestrong riders (KOIN News 6)

Thousands Run, Bike to Beat Cancer (FOX 12 Oregon)

Armstrong leads 3rd annual Portland fundraising ride