Nov 12, 2008

Health update II

I had to visit my surgeon after some neck problems and just started my physical therapy for Grade 2 Whiplash- massage and fango treatments, which sounds nice, but with all the bruises and swelling and the headaches, it's really tough to get through.

I should be back to normal in about 4-6 weeks. The scar is healing nicely (on my right forehead, 18 stitches) and all my doctors were really impressed - I guess, I was lucky to have an ER doctor who did a really great job with stitching me up.

I'll hopefully be able to go back to college next week- three weeks of bed rest are more than enough- it's really getting boring. I tried to go back this week and failed miserably- so I guess you should listen to your doctor most of the times ;-)

Thanks to Leana, my accident or rather the minutes after the accident have been documented. Not my most gracious pictures, but quite impressive:


Oct 30, 2008

Health Update

Some of you might wonder how I am doing and why the hell I got wrapped around an iron fence. I will write another post once I'm feeling a little better. But don't you worry. I have a head injury (18 stitches), a concussion, and the right side of my body is bruised and swollen. I strongly resemble Frankenstein at the moment, but other than that I was really lucky- no permanent injuries, no eye injury, a negative ct scan, and I'm back at home to recover.

More to follow soon!

Oct 16, 2008

German public TV to suspend live coverage of the Tour de France

The 2 German public broadcasting stations ARD & ZDF announced today that they'd suspend live coverage of the Tour de France "until further notice", following the newest doping scandal involving B. Kohl, who was supposed to be part of the "new generation" of clean cyclists. Both station will continue to cover the Tour in their sport reports and the regular news, but that will only be a fraction of their usual coverage of approx. 90 hours. Private TV channel "Eurosport" is expected to continue TV coverage of the Tour in 59 countries, including Germany.

There are reports that the Tour of Germany will be cancelled next year following the latest happenings. The "Hofbräu 6 days" of Stuttgart are already scrapped.

The perception of professional cycling is at an all-time low. Everyone was hoping for a new generation of cyclists, who'd be smart and clean (even if that would mean that there weren't any new records), but it seems like some people just never learn.

Will banning the Tour de France coverage have an impact on the fight against doping? Patrice Clerc, Chairman of the Tour de France organizers replied to a similar issue last July: "it seems paradoxical to punish the Tour, which leads in the fight against cheating."

France has took the lead in the fight against doping- cyclists who will ride the Tour in 2009 know that their blood tests will probably be tested again and again whenever new tests for banned substances are approved.

For me, it would make much more sense to appreciate their efforts in the fight against doping and force other races, like the Giro in Italy to follow the same strict rules. The Tour de France organizers are on the right track- now others need to follow their lead, including other sports, like soccer, football, baseball, track & field, swimming, etc. It's about time for cheaters to be caught, in order to let the real and worthy "heroes" step into the well-deserved spotlight!

Oct 15, 2008

Lots to do, so little time...

The first weeks of a new university term are usually pretty hectic- people try to find classes that'll fit their schedule, you try to figure out how to transfer a class that you already passed into your new bachelor statistics, you get to meet a lot of new professors and students, and the days never seem to be long enough to fit all of that into the first week.

Now, add to that that I'm trying to get some training for the upcoming LIVESTRONG Challenge done. I know it shouldn't be that hard- after all I'm only doing the 45 miles, but the stress combined with bad weather and being a thyroid patient (who is doing pretty good at the moment) add a few challenges along the way. I talked to my professors yesterday, and they gave me the go ahead to take a couple of days off in order for me to be able to go to Austin- I guess they're used to students who miss a class without even mentioning it- so they seemed pretty astonished that I'd tell them about it. Of course, they expressed their concerns about the current developments in pro-cycling, but were open-minded enough to listen to my reasons for participating and wishing me the best of luck in accomplishing my goals with both fundraising and strengthening our local Army group.

If anyone is doing the 45 mile ride and wants to form a group to ride with, please get in touch.

Back to figuring out my schedule ;-)

Oct 8, 2008

Congratulations, Michael, on finishing your cross-country trek!

Sep 27, 2008

Paul Newman & Team Hole in the Wall

Actor, director, activist and race car driver Paul Newman died yesterday after battling cancer. He was 83. I really loved Paul Newman as an actor. I mean it's a rare thing for me to pretty much like every movie of an actor, but that was the case with Paul Newman, probably because he had a large repertoire of characters he portrayed: from the heartthrob to rebels to losers. Just think about his movie career: 10 Oscar nominations, 3 Academy Awards, more than 50 major roles, the list goes on and on.

He was different from so many people in the industry. He had one of those rare long-term marriages with Joanne Woodward, and once told Playboy magazine: "I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?" when being asked about any temptations to cheat on his wife.

But most of all he had a heart for underdogs, people who are challenged by life.

His food company Newman's Own donates all profits and royalties after taxes for educational and charitable purposes (with over $250 million dollars given to charities worldwide). "Shameless exploitation in pursuit of the Common Good" is a motto more companies should follow.

Over 20 years ago, he founded the "Hole in the Wall" camps, the leading global family of camps for children with life-threatening illnesses.

I have to admit I've never heard of those camps before my friend Michael wrote about his cycling adventure. He spent a week at camp as a volunteer counselor this summer and only had great memories to share. Those children really impressed me (and I wasn't even there).

Right now, Michael is on a 3392 mile (!!!!) bike ride across the sounthern part of the US (from Disneyland to Walt Disney World). I'm pretty amazed whenever I watch the Tour de France and their 3 week race across France, but those are professional cyclists- and they have 2-3 days of rest during those 3 weeks. Now Michael and the other riders accomplish an average 106 miles a day... without any off-days to rest. Now, that's impressive!

But what's even more impressive is that he's not doing this for himself (although it's been a big dream of his and he seems to enjoy it immensely), he's doing the ride to support his mother-in-law's continuous fight against cancer and to raise money for the "TEAM HOLE IN THE WALL".

Michael's goal is to raise enough money so that 10 children will be able to go to summer camp free of charge and "be able to experience the absolute magic [he] has seen for himself [...] It is amazing what these campers accomplish in one week; just as amazing are the obstacles they overcome on a daily basis, for these children suffer from serious illnesses such as cancer, sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS, and hemophilia. Camp helps keep them going – throughout the many challenges of serious illness. "

I know I pretty much begged people to donate to the LAF through my fundraising account during the last few weeks, but if there's even a small amount of money you have left to give to an inspiring and important cause, please consider donating to the "Hole in the Wall" Camps (just click here and you'll be redirected to the fundraising page).

If you need any extra motivation or incentive, please take a moment to watch this video and/or read Michael's blog (it's worth your time, I promise- lots of inspiring stories from the road, beautiful pictures, and a guy who has a heart of gold).




Let's remember Paul Newman's legacy and follow his and Michael's example. I know some people get sick of hearing it, but I'll say it again: Children are our future and laughter really is the best medicine out there!

Sep 25, 2008

Stunned Amazed Perplexed...

... thank you, thank you, thank you (to be continued a million times, at least ;-)

Don't know how I got lucky enough to have some people believe in me that much, but I'm very grateful! The last week has been a rollercoaster ride (with a lot of bad press regarding Lance's comeback in large parts of Europe, including my home country of Germany, I'm afraid; but also the wonderful mail I received from a mentor friend, a beautiful post about my fundraising efforts by my honorary soul sister, and now this...), it really proves that some people do believe in team work!

I know I'll be following my dream and working even harder to make cancer a global priority, no matter what some people may say, write or post! Sometimes, being stubborn really comes in handy ;-)

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sep 24, 2008

Sign the World Cancer Declaration!

From livestrong.org:

"The World Cancer Declaration 2008 was developed by the International Union against Cancer (UICC), adopted by the World Cancer Summit 2008 and endorsed by the World Cancer Congress 2008.

We the global cancer community call on governments, international governmental organizations, the international donor community, development agencies, professional organizations, the private sector and all civil society to take immediate steps to slow and ultimately reverse the growth in deaths from cancer."

This is something we all can do... all around the world. Click here to sign the World Cancer Declaration today!


Watch CBS Videos Online

Sep 22, 2008

A monumental challenge

I don't believe in violence or war, but I do believe in the global war against cancer.
Cancer is a global enemy.
We lose 2 Europeans and 1 American to cancer every single minute.

UNACCEPTABLE!

This is a monumental challenge and the results will affect each of us.
On October 25th, I will do a 5k run in downtown Austin.
On October 26th, I will do a 45 mile cycling ride around Dripping Springs.
I have a shirt and a jersey to wear.

What's missing is the names of cancer survivors/warriors/angels/caregivers to do this ride and walk in honor/in support/in honor of. What's missing is the names of the people that are the reasons we're all participating in this challenge.

So, if you make a donation to my LAF fundraising account and send me the name of someone you'd like me to walk or ride for, I'll wear a card during the challenge and mail that card to you afterwards. No donation is too small- every donation will make a difference and will help to save lives. Just give as much as you can!

We're often told that a single person can't make that much of a difference.
WRONG!
It might be your donation and your $$$ that will get us a major breakthrough in the fight against cancer.

Don't think about donating later- do it now! Make a difference now! Donate now!
'Cause what are we waiting for?


For those of you who can't make a donation but would like me to run or ride for a loved one, please contact me and I'll include you and/or your loved ones during the event and will e-mail you the card later on.

This is the global fight against cancer- this is the war against cancer I support from the bottom of my heart and the surface of my skin. Will you join me?

Contact me: LSArmyEurope[at]aol.com




Sep 10, 2008

Inspirational corner

My little inspirational/ motivational corner where most of my "getting back in shape"-training takes place at the moment:

Sep 9, 2008

new developments...

... Team Astana denied the news of Lance joining the team for the 2009 season today.

Astana team press officer Philippe Maertens told the Associated Press: "He is not part of our team. Team Astana has no plans with him."

However, this seems to be old news just a few hours later:

"I am happy to announce that after talking with my children, my family and my closest friends, I have decided to return to professional cycling in order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden," the 36-year-old Armstrong said in a statement released to The Associated Press. "This year alone, nearly eight million people will die of cancer worldwide. ... It's now time to address cancer on a global level."

This seems to be sending out mixed signals to the people who were trying to get a group organized in Europe to support the LIVESTRONG Army. I guess it means raising awareness on a different level, promoting the brand, etc.

It will be interesting to see how the Tour de France organizers, who banned Team Astana from the TdF last year because of doping allegations (not proof), will react to this new developent.

Sep 8, 2008

New trend: Retiring from retirement?

Will we actually see another sports star retiring from retirement? First, it was Brett Favre in a rather ungraceful step out of early retirement and into another green uniform (Go Pack! Go Aaron!)... and now this:

Armstrong to come out of retirement and ride for Astana

Just another rumor? A way to get pro-cycling out of a huge crisis? Who knows but it'll be interesting to see how this'll develop!

Sep 5, 2008

Stand Up to Cancer

We're spending millions and millions of dollars/euros/pounds
inventing new things to kill one another-
we need to get our priorities straight.
If we do, we can beat this!

Together, we can be the starting point to end cancer-
it doesn't take much
but we need to start acting now,
because "one day is always one day late".

Please take a moment to look at the survivors in the Errol Morris video. The extended version can also be downloaded for free on itunes.

Aug 25, 2008

"IT IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COMPENSATIONS OF THIS LIFE
THAT NO MAN CAN SINCERELY TRY TO HELP ANOTHER
WITHOUT HELPING HIMSELF. "

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Aug 23, 2008

One-on-One Cancer Support: Imerman Angels

Jonny Imerman was relentless in trying to talk to everyone present at the summit- and yes, I do mean EVERYONE- to the point where he almost lost his voice after the first day. Once you met him and listened to his story, you just couldn't help but be inspired by his story and the way he turned his own experience into something positive for so many people. Here's part of what he told me:

At the age of 26, Jonny was fighting cancer. Although he had the support and visits from his family and friends, he always hoped to meet a cancer survivor who had already beaten the same type of cancer in order to talk about their experiences- someone who'd just get it because he was in the same situation.

He also realized that not everyone in that hospital had visitors or even the support of their family. He went into other patients' rooms and started talking to them. He soon realized that it is a very important step of fighting cancer, to be able to talk with someone and find some kind of enouragement through successful cancer survivors. If they saw and talked to people who were in their shoes and made it, that would be a huge inspiration for them in their own fight.

Instead of going back to his regular life after surviving cancer, Jonny went to work and founded his own not-for-profit organization, called Imerman Angels. Basically, they connect cancer fighters with cancer survivors who have beaten the same type of cancer, so that this one-on-one interaction gives the fighter the chance to ask questions and receive personal encouragement from someone who's "uniquely familiar" with that situation. They also connect caregivers, so that the families and friends of a cancer fighter can talk to other caregivers who will get what they're going through because they experienced the same struggles, fears or challenges.

Based in Chicago, the organization connects cancer fighters and survivors as well as caregivers throughout the US and even worldwide. Sometimes they pair up people from the same city, but it is more important to find similar stories, than it is to find people living in the same geographical region.

Please visit their website to find out more about the organization Imerman Angels.

Thanks for reading!

Aug 22, 2008

... and sometimes those who inspire us do win medals!

The men's 10k open water swimming event took place yesterday. 7 1/2 years after his diagnosis with ALL (Acute Lymfatic Leukemia), Maarten van der Weijden took home the gold medal. After his race, he said: "When you're lying in hospital, being tired and in a lot of pain, you're not thinking about next week. You're thinking about the next hour. You're getting patient, lying in your bed, just waiting. It's the same with the race strategy today: being patient, staying calm and .waiting for your chance to come."

On his webste, he's being introduced as world champion and cancer survivor- now he'll be able to add Olympic Champion. He'll hopefully continue to spend a large amount of time raising awareness to leukemia and telling his story.

But that wasn't the only story being told in this race. Thomas Lurz of Germany finished third. He didn't cry because he wanted to win gold or because he got into a struggle with the Brit and thus lost a few seconds . He cried because he was thinking about his dad Peter (German coordinator of long-distance swimming) who died of a heart attack during a cycling tour last year. Thank you for an exciting race and showing us that some things are more important than winning.

Aug 21, 2008

Sometimes it doesn't take a gold medal to be a real champion!

Natalie du Toit was a very promising talent in South Africa's swim team, training hard to make it to the Athens Olympics. Those plans changed abruptly in 2001, when she had a terrible accident with her motor scooter, which resulted in the doctors amputating at the knee.

Did that stop her Olympic dreams- not even close. She had a sensational comeback in both disabled and able bodied swim events and qualified for the Beijing Olympics. She carried South Africa's flag during the opening ceremony, and finished the 10k open water swim event on Wednesday 16th (after having some problems with her cap and thus skipping drink stops).

She wasn't satisfied with her result, but already plans to be back at the 2012 Olympics in London. Plus, she'll compete in the Beijing Paralympics, where she's a heavy favorite, trying to defend the 5 gold medals she won in Athens.

Her coach gave her a poem prior to the accident, that didn't mean much to her at that time, but now serves as an inspiration:

"The tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goals;
The tragedy of life lies in not having goals to reach for.
It is not a disgrace not to reach for the stars,
But it is a disgrace not to have stars to reach for."

A great motto to live your life. Natalie is a true inspiration as an athlete and a survivor, showing everyone that you don't have to be treated differently just because you're different in some way. Please visit her website to read her story and be prepared to get inspired!

Aug 19, 2008

Fundraising auctions part II (Rickey Paulding and Dirk Nowitzki signed jersey +...)


Okay, today I'll take a break from "reporting" from the Olympics (although there is an awesome story from the German weightlifting team), and take a moment to write about my second fundraising auctions on a well-know auction platform (I won't mention the name, just because they refused to consider the Nowitzki jersey as part of a celebrity fundraising auction, which would have brought more attention and less fees- apparently, he's not a big enough star. So funny).

My lovely hometown basketball team, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were kind enough to support my LAF fundraising with a signed Rickey Paulding jersey (you can watch the item here) . Some of you might actually know Rickey from his college days, when he played for the University of Missouri. In his junior year, he scored 37 points and making an astounding nine threes against Dwyana Wade in the NCAA tournament. This summer, instead of taking a well-deserved vacation, he went to the Utah Jazz summer camp.


Plus, he has been wearing a yellow band, even before they knew about my LAF volunteer work. I gave a bunch of wristbands to the front office, too, so now they're all set to wear yellow (which matches the jersey really well.) This is from the team picture, also featuring our mascot, the thunderbird HUBIRD (I know, we get a lot of grief over that name ;-) This is a video from YouTube with Rickey Paulding highlights from last season- I kind of like that song, though. He sure is our MVP!



There's another basketball item, a signed jersey from our best basketball player, who also carried the German flag during the Beijing opening ceremony, Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks. I already mentioned that he supported my fundraising last year, too, so I'm just very thankful to the whole team around Dirk. Of course, the proceeds from these auctions will go to the LAF 100%. I'll pay for all eBay and paypal expenses (thanks again for not letting me sell those items as a charity item).

But I'll also auction off some of my Livestrong Challenge memorabilia. I looked around and found a keychain that was given to the top fundraisers of the 2007 season (so why did I get one? That's the beauty of being invited to the appreciation dinner), a LIVESTRONG Challenge duffel bag (which was an incentive for raising over $1000 last year), a LIVESTRONG water bottle, a shirt, and some other stuff. Though I liked all those items, this will hopefully help me make it to the Austin Challenge this year, so I'll part with those. Plus, I have lots of other stuff, and the best memorabilia really are the pictures with other participants and fellow mentors. Oh, and me on a Trek Madone bike wasn't too bad, either.

Here's a list of some of the items. All these items will end on August, 29th:
Thanks for reading!

Aug 18, 2008

Oksana Chusovitina

Oksana Chusovitina, a 33 year old gymnast, won the silver medal in the vault event final, yesterday. That's pretty amazing, when you think about the fact that her career in gymnastics has lasted for twenty years. Early on in her career, she competed for the Soviet Union and later Uzbekistan- now she's a member of the German team. The Beijing games are her fifth Olympics, she also competed in 10 World Championships and won a record setting eight World Championships on the vault.

Her son Alisher was born in 1999. In 2002, he was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. She went to a local hospital and was told that in order for the doctors to save her son, she would have to pay an enormous amount of money. She didn't have the money, but she did have some contacts to coaches of a Cologne Club. With their help, prize money and donations from all around the world, she was able to send her son to the University of Cologne hospital to start treatment and Oksana started training in Cologne.

In 2006 she received the German citizenship and started competing for Germany.

Not only is she the oldest female gymnast to ever win an Olympic medal, she's also a very inspiring person. She recently said in an interview that she planned to continue competing in the vault events and I hope we'll hear a lot more from this remarkable athlete and strong women!

Aug 16, 2008

Robert Müller

He's one of the best hockey goalies in Germany, has been one of the goal tenders of our national team at the world championships in Canada, and led the Cologne Sharks to 2nd place in the German league last season.

28 yearl old Robert Müller is also a husband and father and a brain tumor survivor. He had a successful brain surgery two years ago, returned to professional sports and made a sensational comeback only 2 months after his surgery. However, he was aware of the fact that cancer never leaves you completely.

Now, the Cologne Sharks announced that Robert will be back in hospital and is scheduled for another surgery on Monday to remove a tissue sample.

Our national team coach Uwe Krupp said it all: "He's done it once, now he'll need to cross the hurdles once again. With his attitude, he'll make it!"

Aug 15, 2008

Still speechless...

Still a little speechless, stunned, amazed and overwhelmed (all in a very good way). So I'll keep it short for now:

"You're part of the solution, or part of the problem.
You're gonna have to dance with one"
INXS

Follow your heart and do what you believe is right...
even if most other people ask if you are crazy!


Aug 13, 2008

Ready to quit ?

Yesterday, all my good intentions of writing a very upbeat 100th post went down the drain when a woman in her mid-twenties attacked me verbally at our local post office. I have no idea what brought this on other than the fact that I was mailing some yellow bands to people who were kind enough to donate a little money for my fundraising efforts. So, one second I was enjoying a really nice day (after all it was a truely golden tuesday for the German Olympic squad and my Red Sox had won), the other this girl started screaming at me.

She got rather personal and in the end asked me if I were aware of the fact that I killed hundreds of people. I was stunned, to say the least, and first I really thought she was drunk. But then she explained how I, as a cyclist and being involved with the LAF, have this huge responsibility in people's death caused by doping and cancer. All I could think of was "WHAT?". I was too shocked to respond in style, I'm afraid.

I experienced all the crazy religious comments about how I was responsible for my illnesses, because I didn't pray enough or wasn't a good enough Catholic. I dealt with that, but it just never stops and quite honestly, I'm getting sick and tired of these people.

So, here it is: my very own pro and con list of why it would be a wise decision to quit:

PRO:
  • no more trash-talking and rude people who can't make the difference between people involved in the fight against cancer and hobby-cyclists and those criminals using doping to cheat on their opponents and the fans
  • no more questions about why in God's name I'm raising funds for a US-Foundation when I don't get anything out of it (concerning tax breaks or monetary rewards)
  • no more explanations that being a mentor is not a paid position
  • no more explanations that I'm not doing this to hero-worship Lance Armstrong
  • not being disappointed when yet another person who promised to support my fundraising efforts doesn't follow up on his/her promise
CON:
  • I've never been a quitter and don't plan on becoming on in the future
  • I have the best support system in the world (you know who you are, but just to mention a few: Kate and Michael are always the first to build me up after another low point of my cancer-related activities)
  • Trash talking people come and go, but there's this amazing group of veteran mentors and staff at the LAF who inspire me on a daily basis. I'm part of a great team and plan on staying on it for years to come. You're not getting rid of me that easily ;-)
  • Being a mentor connects me to some of the most dedicated participants of the LIVESTRONG Challenge. We might not be the top fundraisers or win any of the LIVESTRONG Challenge awards, but we do have to overcome some very high obstacles. I honestly believe that you guys are more committed to this cause than some other who might have a higher total in their fundraising efforts. Letting down this group by giving up is not an option!
  • Being involved in the LAF's grassroots program connects me to some of the most wonderful volunteers that a foundation could wish for. I met a lot of these people at the summit in Columbus or read their stories on their blogs. I couldn't be more proud to be in their company and I won't disappoint you by giving up.
  • There are close to 3.000 deaths per day related to cancer in Europe. That's the casualties of 9/11 every single day... and that's just Europe. If I'm not involved in trying to change those statistics, how can I expect our politicians or other Europeans to get active, to write letters to our politicians, to get cancer research and early detection into the news?
  • Being involved in the fight against cancer truely is a matter of the heart and it's part of my life, it's personal and I have an obligation to keep on going and fight for my loved ones who've been touched by cancer: my mom, my grandma, my aunt, my cousin, my great-cousins, my great-uncle, my friends, etc.
What's important is to give it your best and at the end of the day feel good about what you were able to achieve. If it's recruiting one person to join the LIVESTRONG Army and get active in cancer advocacy, that's a good thing. If it means raising $5, that's good, too. If I won't make it to Austin this year (I have a deal with a sponsor who'd take care of the whole travel expenses if I manage to raise $2500), it's not the end of the world. It's not a sign of failure, although I hope like hell there will be a miracle (or another sponsor for that matter).

When it comes right down to it, the Cons are way more powerful and way more important than the Pros. I can deal with the stupidity and ignorance of some people now and again. I will continue to explain my side of the story to people over and over again. This is too important an issue to just quit.

It'll be tough, it'll hurt at times, it most likely won't earn me any appreciation in my country. But once an athlete, always an athlete: Giving up will never be part of my vocabulary!

Thanks for reading.
I'll keep the more upbeat post for my 101st post, I promise.

Aug 10, 2008

Olympics: teamwork at its best...

The core of the German basketball team has been playing together ever since their youths and it shows. It's a perfect team (no I don't define a perfect team as someone who always wins gold medals) with a lot of good players, and a star forward who's now being joined by a NBA center. This is not about players, this is about team effort only.

Without a doubt, Dirk Nowitzki and Chris(toph) Kaman(n) are the most prominent players and they led the team to a 95:66 victory against Angola this morning (Yahoo!). Let's face it, Dirk Nowitzki has been leading the team all the way to the Olympics, but he also led the team during some tough play-downs over the years and I don't know a lot of NBA stars who'd do that.

The whole team is walking around the Olympic village like kids in a toy store. Their enthusiasm is obvious, and you can't help smiling whenever you see on of those great haircuts ;-)

But what's most important to them these days, is to dedicate each victory to their team mate, Ademola Okulaja, whose at home recovering from a broken vertebra. He had back pains for quite some time prior to his diagnosis and the doctors are now predicting a tumor might have caused this injury. He's in for more tests, obviously.

Thanks for reading.

P.S.: I'm so proud that Dirk Nowitzki's foundation has once again donated a signed jersey that'll benefit my LAF fundraising. In times when being involved in the fight against cancer doesn't give you a lot of publicity, they rise to the occasion once again. I cannot thank you guys enough. The online auction will start within the next 10 days and I'll post about it soon.

Aug 8, 2008

3X Young Adult Cancer Survivor & friend nominated for Glamour’s woman of the year



"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional!"

My friend Rachel Baumgartner Lozano made the top 5 of Glamour's "Woman of the year" award. She's a 3-time survivor of Askin's tumor of the spinal cord (a malignant sarcoma that is a small-cell tumor of the soft tissues in the thoracopulmonary area). The doctors' prognosis after her relapse weren't very good (what an understatement). Quite honestly, she was given months to live. Everyone else who ever had Askin's Tumor and relapsed after a transplant had died within weeks. Click here for more of her story!

People say that there are 2 ways to react once you got diagnosed with cancer:
  1. survive and then try to ignore you ever had cancer and try to live your life just like you did prior to the diagnosis
  2. fight like hell, survive, and then become active in the fight against cancer. Telling your story so that others can benefit from your experiences, advocate on a local, state or national level to improve cancer research and early detection, etc.
Obviously, Rachel chose the second option. Not only did she survive (which is a miracle all in itself), she became actively involved in seven cancer charities. Rachel is an advocate and a great role model for young adult survivors and warriors, an artist, a university student following her dreams (Yahoo!) and just a very inspiring young woman. There are still lots of ups and downs emotionally and psychologically and physically, I won't tell you her life is a piece off cake now that she's a survivor, because it's not, but does she ever impersonate the quote mentioned above.

Rachel is an advocate for the LAF (she was invited by the LAF to be one of the two delegates from the state of Missouri in May 2007 to address members of Congress in support of increased funding for cancer research), she started her own blog after attending the 2006 summit in Austin: http://iamobsessedwithlife.blogspot.com and recently, she served as an honorary ambassador for The Wellness Community walk.

If you know anyone who might like to vote for her, please pass along the link- and don't forget to vote right now. You can vote for her once a day:
https://secure.glamour.com/magazine/sweeps/woman_of_the_year_2008/entry/long/

From one hypothyroid girl to another: You ROCK, Rach, and I'm glad to know you. Even though you couldn't make it to the summit this year, we'll meet some other time!

Aug 1, 2008

Back from the LIVESTRONG summit

After getting back from Columbus on Tuesday, I had some minor problems (most of them due to the high humidity and my thyroid issues), but I'm doing okay now, so no worries.

First of all, I can't tell you how amazing the summit was. Not only because we got to hear some amazing speakers and had some good training sessions, but most of all because of the other delegates and their stories. Even prior to the opening reception, I met some very inspiring people- most of them cancer survivors, but some co-survivors and care-givers, too. The stories all sound familiar in some way, but they're also very unique in other ways and sure broadened my "cancer horizon".

It was amazing to meet so many people that I only knew from other blogs, websites or forums. Some of them even happened to be on the same track as I was. Just to mention a few people: L, Sarah, Gail and Ang (fellow crazy sexies)- it was absolutely amazing to meet you all. I know we all wished that Callie could have been there with us, but you all are amazing women. Your stories, your strengths and weaknesses inspire me on a daily basis, you're not pretenders, but the real thing and I appreciate that. I'm so glad I got to meet you in person and share a wonderful experience and quite a lot of smiles!


I also (finally) got to meet my truely wonderful friend Kate. I got to know her through some blogs and it's funny that we considered ourselves "friends" even before we met- guess in this electronic age, things like that just happen. Kate is the local LIVESTRONG Army leader of Utah, and also helped me with a couple of blog problems and fundraising (even though she probably would say she didn't do much- wrong, she's amazing and a true friend). We met at the reception, but when we went back to the hotel to change into the "vote yellow" LAF shirts (did I mention we were roomies?), there were all these cute little gifts she brought me from Utah, including a lovely necklace, some fun t-shirts and some sweets/honey/salt from Utah. I brought some small gifts, too, to thank her for all her help over the years, and fortunately had the right idea, cause she really liked my German Gnome and the LIVESTRONG Army Utah bag I made for her. Yep, that's the gnome in the picture...


I also got to meet Scott (fellow mentor and LIVESTRONG Army leader), Brian Dowd (cancer advocate and fundraiser), Dee (a fellow LIVESTRONG Army leader), Christina (Greater Miss Las Vegas and fellow LIVESTRONG Army leader), Sarah (a LAF grassroots coordinator)- the list really goes on and on, so don't be mad if I didn't mention your name ;-)

Oh, and definitely one of the highlights of the weekend: meeting Doug, the LAF's president, fellow cancer survivor and soccer player! I know there were a lot of people who were a little star-crazed over getting to see Lance Armstrong, getting a picture or an autograph. Well, that's not really my thing, but meeting Doug was really special. Every time he went on stage and talked about fighting cancer you just felt that he's really passionate about it and in it to win... also, he wasn't afraid to wear a yellow tie (not like some other people I won't mention here).

I met Doug at the Columbus Zoo dinner and he was kind enough to talk to me for a few minutes- mostly about the new ideas to take the Livestrong idea and movement and apply those strategies and some programs internationally. Hopefully I can make a tiny impact in helping them build a stronger base in Europe by forming a LIVESTRONG Army Europe. Apparently, someone standing very close made a rather funny comment, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was ;-)


With all those amazing people I met, there are also a few people who were planning to attend and had to cancel at the last moment - all had some pretty good reason to cancel. But we missed you, anyway: Rachel, Michael, Patricia, Callie. You all ROCK!!!

More on the summit to come soon- so check back! And thanks for reading!

Jul 20, 2008

Right here with you

Two of my favorite singers, both cancer survivors and very much active in the fight against cancer, Australian superstars Olivia Newton John and Delta Goodrem teamed up for this song, that I meant to post for quite some time. Today, I listened to Delta's most recent album - and remembered the video.

Delta, now aged 24, is a Hodgkin's Lymphoma survivor and Olivia is a breast cancer survivor of 15 years. The song is a contribution to Olivia's fundraising event called "The Great Walk to Beijing", an amazing event that challenged participants and supporters to change the way the world treats cancer.

On her website, she stated: "Olivia Newton-John and a team of celebrities and everyday cancer survivors faced one of the toughest physical and mental challenges of their lives in April 2008, trekking 228 kilometres over 21 days with the Great Walk to Beijing to raise funds for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre Appeal."

Leading to the summer olympics, it's a song to motivate and empower cancer survivors, their friends and loved ones and anyone affected by cancer. It's about the fight against cancer and remembering that we can't give up and need to continue all the efforts to win this fight in the near future.

If you missed the walk, but would like to take part in the active fight against cancer, please consider to join our team of "Cancer Warriors" for the Livestrong Challenge Austin

If you don't want to participate, but are willing to donate and make a difference in the fight against cancer, please visit my fundraising page: http://austin08.livestrong.org/henrike

Thanks for reading.

Jul 15, 2008

Jail sentences for Galavit scam

Today the Kassel court sentenced a 64 year old man to 7 years and 3 months of prison time. He was the head of a group of 5, who sold Galavit to cancer patients, falsely claiming it to be a wonder drug against cancer. The doctor who was involved was sentenced to 5 years and 8 months and a journalist who put out articles about the "wonder drug healing cancerous tumors" was sentenced to 3 years in jail.

The group told their patients (approx. 132 cancer patients), that the drug was developed in the Russian space program and showed good results with cancer patients- both lies. The Russian space agency denied any tests in space almost all patients died within a few months after being treated.

Those patients paid 8500 Euros for the treatment, while you can buy the stuff at Russian pharmacies for approx 66 Euros- a total scam. But more important than those hideous fees is the fact that those patients lost a lot of precious time to treat their tumors. The group shamelessly used cancer patiens who were vulnerable and desperate, and it's good to see that we don't tolerate that behavior.

Let's just hope the sentence won't be reduced after a possible appeal.

Jun 8, 2008

ACS gets a 2 star Charity navigator rating

The American Cancer Society, probably most prominent for their "Relay for Life" events, was given only a 2 star (out of 4) Charity Navigator rating. I'm not trying to say that those of you who support the ACS should immediately stop their efforts or that the ACS is a unworthy recipient of your hard-earned money, all I'm saying is educate yourself first, then chose a foundation that will represent you and your interests best.

There are a couple of points that I don't quite understand about the ACS:
  • Reserves of assets
Shouldn't the $88,700,000 excess be used for research and to fight cancer, not to accumulate financial reserves? Just as a comparison, the LAF (3 star rating) had a deficit of $-5,391,455, the National Cancer Coalition had an excess of $368,543.
  • compensation of CEO: $659,676
Don't get me wrong, I do believe CEO's should be paid well, but that's in comparison to other charities, that's almost twice as much as their CEO's were getting (LAF: $311,423, National Cancer Coalition:$232,498).
  • questions about contributions to the Republican National Committee: The ACS explaines the contributions as encouragement or sponsorship of "voter registration, candidate questionnaires, or political forums. That's fine, but why not include candidates of other political parties?
Matthew Zachary of "The Stupid Cancer Blog" and "I'm 2 Young for this" has written an interesting blog entry about the topic, that certainly makes you think about what cancer foundation to support : American Cancer Society: The World's Wealthiest "Nonprofit"

It certainly proves the point that you should get all the information necessary and educate yourself about what cause you want to support, before making a commitment. I definitely learned that during the recent scandal involving the use of donations at UNICEF's German branch, which resulted in the branch losing the seal of approval from the country's leading watchdog for charities (DZI).

Jun 2, 2008

Find your passion and follow it!

Professor Pausch returned to Carnegie Mellon University for the commencement ceremony. He was given 3-6 months to live last August- and is currently in his 9th months. What he does with his "extra-time" is truely inspirational. He indeed follows his passion, talking about his journey, inspiring others, working as an advocate.

"You will not find that passion in things and you will not find that passion in money, because the more things and the more money you have, [...]there will always be someone with more. So your passion must come from things that fuel you from the inside [...] that passion will be grounded in people." Randy Pausch.

Jun 1, 2008

Cancer Survivor Day

A cancer survivor can be defined as anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, from the time of diagnosis and treatment through the remaining years of life.

However, many cancer hospitals also use the term to describe the people in the lives of cancer patients who are affected by the diagnosis, including family members, friends and caregivers.

June 1st is Cancer Survivor Day, celebrating and honoring cancer survivors, their caregivers, and those who advocate for them.

There is much to be grateful for...take a few moments, just some time to reflect on your journey and enjoy your day!

May 31, 2008

World No Tobacco Day

Today is "World No Tobacco Day"!

Created in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes, it concentrates on Tobacco-free Youth this year, calling for a total ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products and creating 100% smoke-free environments.

Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death in the world, the only legal consumer product that can harm everyone exposed to it - and it kills up to half of those who use it as intended.

This year, tobacco will kill more than five million people - more than tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.

For more information, go to: "World Free Tobacco Day"

May 22, 2008

Joan


Our CSL friend Joan passed away last week after her third bout of cancer. She was 48.

Cancer shaped her, but she was a true warrior through it all: even with chemo she still ran the Livestrong Challenge 5K and also went and got her brown belt in karate. Most of all her attitude to never give up, to hope against all odds and her warm smile will be remembered. A hero and role-model for many, this is a profound loss to the cancer community and especially her loved ones!

When we're doing the 5k Livestrong run in October, we're going to include her by wearing one of the "In honor of/In memory of" BIBs. I'm sure she would've done the run again this year, so now she will take part through her CSL friends!

This is exactly why this whole event is so important- remembering and honoring everyone touched by cancer, the warriors, survivors and angels.

Rest in peace, Joan!

May 20, 2008

Un-(bleeping)-believable!


This was supposed to be a different post, and I know that most people who read this have no interest whatsoever in baseball, but quite frankly, this kid is amazing and it doesn't get much more inspiring than this! (Never mind that he's playing for the Red Sox, he's also a fellow capricorn and cancer survivor- how's that for similarities ;-))

Jon Lester was diagnosed with a treatable form of lymphoma in 2006, got back to spring training in 2007, and won the series-clinching Game Four for the Red Sox in the World Series. After that game, fellow cancer survivor and Red Sox player Mike Lowell had this to say about Lester:

"He’s obviously a fighter and he got presented with an awful thing and he never complained and never said, ‘Why me?’ He just went about beating it. And then to come back in baseball shape and have to develop himself as a pitcher on top of it, I’m telling you, I can’t wait to see this kid and what the finished product is because it’s going to be exceptional!"

Well, we got the first glimpse of that last night (which got me to stay up really late or rather quite early), when Jon Lester added a no-hitter to his stats. He already came close late April against Toronto, so we all knew he could do it, but to actually see him do it, watch the team and the whole crowd at Fenway cheer for him, was just a very emotional experience.

Jon Lester often said that whatever happens to him from here on out, whatever challenges he’s given, he can persevere. Let's just take that attitude and stick with it, why don't we!?

Congratulations, Jon, you're Un-(bleeping)-believable!

May 15, 2008

LIVESTRONG Army Europe- uniting Europeans in the fight against cancer!

If you're a reader of the LIVESTRONG Blog, you might have read about the LAF's plan to investigate how they may best serve the international community as well. You can read the post by clicking here.

As the International Mentor for the LIVESTRONG Challenge, I'm so excited to see the LAF investigating a way to make an even bigger difference in the global fight against cancer.

In Europe, there's a serious problem of funding cancer programs. By the year 2005 the US spent 7 times more money on cancer research (per person) than the 25 members of the EU. Plus, research is concentrated very much on basic scientific research at the expense of preventive and clinical research.

Just recently, the European Union addressed the fact that often cancer research in Europe has the problem of competing interests and researchers. That of course results in duplication of research and slows down research that would be more effective and/or covering a broader spectrum. We need national and international collaborations to concentrate our efforts- we should all remember that it's not about personal gains or prestige, but all about uniting as a global team to fight cancer.

One example of joining forces in the fight against cancer is the partnership between the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. To read the press release (04/25/08) click here.

MORE THAN 25 MILLION PEOPLE ACROSS THE GLOBE ARE LIVING WITH CANCER.

MORE THAN 11 MILLION PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD WILL BE DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER THIS YEAR.

ONE IN THREE PEOPLE WILL BE DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER DURING THEIR LIFETIME.

As Europeans, we have a voice when it comes to fighting cancer- we just need to speak up louder and unite. So, in an effort to unite Europeans, and because I got a lot of feedback from Europeans who were interested in supporting the LAF on a personal level, I started a new LIVESTRONG Army Europe group. It's a place to get and discuss the latest cancer news, the latest LAF news or even plan events to get other people involved and raise awareness.

The LIVESTRONG Army-Europe is just a small step on the way to a more global fight against cancer, but we need to start somewhere, right?

So, if you're either living in Europe or know someone who does and who might be interested in joining us, please pass along our group's page: http://groups.myspace.com/livestrongarmyeurope

Thank you!

May 12, 2008

Good Morning America

Just a quick note for those of you who didn't watch ABC this morning.
Lance made an appearance on Good Morning America. He talked about LIVESTRONG Day and the LIVESTRONG Summit.

Lance on Good Morning America

May 9, 2008

Livestrong Day, May 13th 2008


May 13th is LIVESTRONG Day. There are tons of events all around the globe- and here are just a few examples organized by people I am honored to call my friends. Some events are still waiting for approval, so I’ll hopefully get to expand the list within the next days.

If you want to participate in the fight against cancer on this special day, but can't visit any of these events, you can either plan your own event, or consider making a small donation.


You can also register for the Livestrong Challenge. If you plan on attending the Austin Challenge, please join our team 08 Cancer Warriors http://austin08.livestrong.org/cancerwarriors by clicking on “Join Our Team”, agree to the waiver and then fill out your personal information.

Please note: All participants must pay $50 at the time of registration. However, if you join on Livestrong Day -May,13th 2008- and enter a code that will be displayed here, you'll get 50% off, so it'll only be a $25 registration fee.

For a complete list of events, please go to: View all Livestrong Day 2008 events


  • LIVESTRONG DAY Evening Dining at "SOBO american bistro"- Boulder, CO

SOBO american bistro
Boulder, CO
05/13/2008
5:00 pm-midnight

An evening fine dining in the relaxed yet elegant atmosphere, in one of newest and nicest restaurants in Boulder, CO, for cancer survivors, and cyclists to raise awareness of cancer advocacy and survivorship.


  • LiveSTRONG Day Unity Walk

Roosevelt's Billiards Bar and Grill
Farmington Hills, MI
05/13/2008
5:30 pm-10:00 pm

Wear Yellow and join us for a Family walk through our neighborhood. The walk will start and end at Beechview Elementary School; located at the end of Westmeath Street in the Kimberly subdivision. Start time for the walk is 5:30 pm. Following the walk, dinner, drinks and games at Roosevelt's Billiards Bar and Grill (under 21 allowed untill 9:00pm). Roosevelt's will donate a portion of the nights proceeds to the LAF.


  • LIVESTRONG Day on the New Hampshire Seacost

Synergy Health & Fitness Center, Exeter Hospital
Exeter, NH

05/13/2008 2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Healing Arts Class Exhibit led by Kathleen Robbins MFA
Tuesday, May 13, 4:00 to 6:00 PM

Synergy Health & Fitness Center
5 Alumni Drive
Exeter, NH


  • Livestrong Day Pampered Chef Show- San Antonio, TX

Stoneybrook Apartments Club Room
San Antonio, TX
05/13/2008
7pm- 9:30pm

A Pampered Chef fundraising show to benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation via the Livestrong Challenge. We will cook healthy meals and have the opportunity to order Pampered Chef cookware as well as hear about the message of the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I'm going to try to have a silent auction during the event also.


  • Vicky Fletcher's Cookies for a Cure Bake Sale (she is the LIVESTRONG™ Local Army Leader Utah Valley).

WHERE: In Front of The Orem Wal-Mart SuperCenter, 1355 S SANDHILL RD, Orem, Utah.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


  • LIVESTRONG! Cycling Spinning for Cancer Awareness- Seattle, WA

Puget Sound Plaza Sidewalk
Seattle, WA
05/13/2008
11:30am-1.30 pm

Come join in as I ride my bike on a stationary trainer in downtown Seattle, raising awareness of the Livestrong efforts to support cancer survivorship. You can cheer us on, join in the spinning (just bring your bike and stationary trainer), or drop by to pick up LIVESTRONG Literature. It was a great event last year, so please drop by to provide support! Please contact me if you are interested!

May 1, 2008

A topic close to my skin ;-)


May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month!!

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer - accounting for about half of all the cancers.

The best way to lower the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer is to avoid intense sunlight for long periods of time. But don't sweat it: you can continue to exercise and enjoy the outdoors while practicing sun safety at the same time. There are some guidelines for sun safety:

  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Seek shade, especially in the middle of the day when the sun's rays are strongest. If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun's rays are at their strongest.
  • Slip on a shirt. Choose comfortable clothes made of tightly woven fabrics that you cannot see through when held up to a light. That's also a great tip for people with sun allergies.
  • Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Use sunscreen even on hazy or overcast days. Use it generously and reapply when needed.
  • Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat, shading your face, ears and neck.
  • For those of you who prefer baseball hats: remember to protect your ears and neck with sunscreen.
  • Wear sunglasses with 99-100 percent ultraviolet (UV) absorption
Get familiar with your own skin- check the pattern of moles, freckles and beauty marks. Let someone else check your back. Changes in the number, size, shape or color of spots should be reported to your doctor/dermatologist.

Don't use tanning beds- not only will they make your skin age much faster and let's face it, who wants to have wrinkles at an early age?- it also has lasting effects on your skin. Besides, pale is the new tan, right? ;-)

Time 100 List


Great news from the LAF! Check out the new TIME 100 List
:

http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1733748_1733756_1735280,00.html

Apr 20, 2008

The truth about cancer

Why are people still dying from cancer?

That's the question Linda is asking. She's returning to the Boston hospitals where her husband Larry (who died from lung cancer) received his care. It follows patients like Jamie, who's fighting metastatic pancreatic cancer who receives some bad news or Vinay, a medical student with leukemia. Following their stories makes cancer personal, even to those who are lucky enough to never have experienced cancer. They make you care and hopefully think about cancer and ultimately get involved in the fight against cancer (I hope).


One of the oncologists mentions Lance Armstrong and the fact that people now believe that if they fight hard enough and be strong enough, they could beat metastatic cancer. And that those people wouldn't understand that Lance Armstrong "won the lottery".


Not everyone will survive, but that's exactly the point. We need people who inspire us, people who beat the odds, who are still with us even though their prognosis wasn't very optimistic. And we need to tell other people about those inspirations, educate people about early detection and self-exams. Most of all, we need to talk about cancer, bring cancer to the news, and get more people involved in fight against cancer.


The easiest way is to donate as little as $5 to a cancer foundation, talk to your friends/families/co-workers/neighbors, etc. about cancer, visit cancer patients in your community and offer them a smile or some cheering up- or just the chance to talk. There are numerous ways to get involved and pick your fight with cancer. Every little step helps, so please consider donating some of your money or some of your time and make a difference.


As Melissa Sileo from the LAF staff wrote on the Livestrong Blog: "Although watching this film won’t cure cancer, it has the possibility of reaching more people, educating more people and inspiring more people to become invested in the war against cancer."

Metastatic cancer doesn't stop- it spreads and spreads and spreads... and that's exactly what we need to do- spread the knowledge about cancer- spread and spread and spread....


If you didn't catch the show, you can watch it online at:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/takeonestep/cancer/video-ch_01.html

Thanks for reading!

Apr 13, 2008

Curse of the new Yankees stadium... well, almost!

As a Red Sox fan, you can probably imagine my "relationship" with the Yankees. But this is just too funny!

A construction worker planted a Big Papi #34 Red Sox jersey in the new Yankees Stadium and thus planned to curse it. Team officials learned of this rather creative way of making the new stadium unique and then decided to have construction workers jackhammer through the concrete and pull out the jersey. 5 hours of drilling- the jersey in shreds, but it will be sent to the Jimmy Fund, a charity affiliated with Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and auctioned off. So, the Red Sox fan actually did a good thing in the fight against cancer!
Let's just hope Dice-K and the rest of the guys will take that as some extra-motivation to nail his third victory and end the series on a high note!
_____________________________________

Okay, Michael, as I would've been very disappointed if you hadn't mentioned the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry, I'll agree on the I-55 series as one of the greatest rivalry in baseball. Just like Buzz Bissinger said, "it's about geography and territorial rights". Let's just skip the first part of the quote
;-)

Apr 7, 2008

Cathy Bueti: Breastless in the City

"Life can be a wild ride, taking us places we'd rather not go. What differentiates us is how we handle the bumps and jolts, and what we learn from them."


I first got to know Cathy Bueti through her myspace page- we became friends through the side and exchanged comments and thoughts. When the Crazy Sexy Life Forum was introduced, I found her profile there as well, so we started communicating again. I always meant to read her book, but somehow couldn't buy it (long story), and she was kind enough to send me one.


The moment it arrived, I dug into it and couldn't make myself stop. Her story seems to be a never-ending series of challenges, starting with her dad being an alcoholic, her becoming a widow at the age of 25, and being diagnosed with breast cancer around 30. She leads us through that part of her life, about the struggles to make the right choices about her treatment options, not feeling comfortable with your own body and having low self-esteem, loosing your hair... and in the midst of it all, starting to date again. You wouldn't believe the guys she met- unless you read about it, of course. Let's just say, this book will probably make you cry at times, but it'll also make you laugh out loud when you read about experiences you've gone through, as well.

Cathy shares her own fears, weaknesses, and triumphs. The reader follows her to everything from doctor appointments and her blind dates to her first day back at work as an OT, when suddenly she is not the patient anymore.

Today, Cathy is inspiring young cancer warriors, raise awareness for Breast Cancer and is involved in the I'm Two Young For This! Cancer Foundation

If you would like to read more about Cathy, please go to her website CathyBueti.com
and check our her book!

Mar 20, 2008

Become a sponsor and pick a fight with cancer today!

I am inviting you to become our sponsor for the 2008 LIVESTRONG Challenge in Austin, Texas this october.

The LIVESTRONG Challenge is the signature fundraising initiative of the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF).

Our team "Cancer Warriors" is aiming to raise at least $10.000, but we can’t do it without your help.

All sponsorships will be in form of donations directly to the Lance Armstrong Foundation and are tax-deductible within the US to the extent allowed by law. You can find all the information and sponsors' benefits/forms of recognition, by clicking here:

Sponsor Recognition

You can make a safe donation online by clicking on the "Benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation- Livestrong" Logo on the right sidebar.

If you’d like to make a donation via phone or would like to mail a check, here’s the form you need to fill out to send with your check and the phone number to call (please state the participant ID and name mentioned on the form when making a donation via phone).

How to donate by check or via phone

Thank you for your contribution and for helping us to empower cancer survivors to live life on their own terms!


Update: Chantal Sébire

Chantal Sébire was found dead in her house yesterday. Cause of death is yet to be determined.

The district attorney Allachi has already questioned her relatives and is thinking about ordering an autopsy of Chantal's body. So, even though her sufferings have ended, it seems as if her relatives will have to go through another round of questionings and painful experiences. I don't understand why they won't leave them alone to cope with the death of their mother. It's just painful to watch, even from a distance.

The French government is thinking about changing their law about PAS and create a national commission to discuss those cases. Too late for Chantal...

Mar 17, 2008

Chantal Sébire

"An animal would not be allowed to endure what I have to endure."

If you're living in Europe, chances are you have heard about Chantal Sébire, recently. I'm well aware of the fact that euthanasia is a very difficult subject, dealing with both ethic issues and the doctor's code to save lives, but if you read about Chantal, it might make you think...

Chantal is a 52 year old mother of three and is suffering from a rare and uncurable disease (esthesioneuroblastoma) that has left her disfigured by facial tumors. I'm not going to post a picture of Chantal, but you can find her story here: The Daily Telegraph
I can't imagine that those pictures will leave anyone cold! They clearly show all her sufferings.

Those tumors that left her blind and robbed her senses of taste and smell, will also damage her brain over time and eventually kill her. Chemo and other forms of treatments did not work. Now, she appealed to French President Nicolas Sarkozy to allow her to die by euthanasia.

All she wanted was go out and celebrate with her family, then go back home and die in dignity.
However, French law does not allow for euthanasia, so it came as no surprise that her wish was declined today.

Where does that leave Chantal? Well, there might be the opportunity of passive euthanasia- being hospitalized and put into an artificial coma without being fed until she dies. Chantal objected, this form was "neither dignified, humane, or respectful of me or my children."
Instead, Sebire's lawyer says she'll either appeal, if she feels the strength to fight on, or check into a Swiss facility specializing in assisted suicide.

I can't even imagine in what kind of pain she and her family have to be- having to deal with cancer and the fact that she will die, and fighting for a way to die in peace and with her dignity intact. Chantal and her family are in my thoughts and I hope they'll have the strength to keep on fighting- wherever that might lead them.

Mar 15, 2008

Update on Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch (You know, the professor whose Last Lecture was featured on the internet) just got out of hospital, after they had to get rid of some fluids around his lungs. Instead of getting back home and recover like most people would, he travels to Waschington, D.C. to testify before Congress and advocate better funding for pancreatic cancer.

http://download.srv.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/news/index.html

He's a true inspiration!

Mar 1, 2008

Special recognition

I‘ve never been one of these people who worship their idols or display the autographs of famous people they‘ve met.

For that matter, the only time I asked someone for an autograph was when I got to meet Matthew Modine, who‘s my all-time favorite actor and who I got to talk to during the Oldenburg film festival in 1997. Then I got a signed picture of Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, who I met at the Mall of America during my Wisconsin year abroad. He talked to me for about 5 minutes when everyone else just got the opportunity to get an autograph and some girls really gave me the evil eye. Funny stuff!

So, two days ago, my attitude towards signed items (or rather one special item) drastically changed. I received a huge package and couldn‘t even place it, since I didn‘t order anything. After removing tons of wrapping material, I discovered a framed and signed Newsweek issue that has the yellow band on its over. And below the magazine, there‘s a small inscription that says: „In recognition of Henrike for her outstanding commitment in the fight against cancer…“

I can‘t even say how proud and touched I am of this special recognition. All I can say is that I am incredible proud to work with such amazing and inspiring people (both cancer survivors and volunteers) all over the world and to be part of the cancer community, who always offer words of encouragement.

It‘s also incredibly motivating to keep fighting and keep kicking cancer‘s butt, even at a time when I‘m not my personal best. Just like Martin Luther King said:

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jan 16, 2008

2008 Livestrong Challenge

The 2008 Livestrong Challenge series has been officially launched!!! There's a great incentive for people who decide to register as one of the first participants: Today (January 16th) there'll be a $10 discount when you enter the code LSC2008 during the registration process.

The dates are:
Portland, OR – June 29

Bay Area, CA – July 13
Philadelphia, PA - August 24
Austin, TX - October 25-26

In case you plan to participate in the 2008 Austin Challenge, please join our team 08 Cancer Warriors, by going to the LAF website: http://austin08.livestrong.org/cancerwarriors


Just click on the "Join our team" and you'll be led through the registration process. It'd be a great honor to welcome you to the Cancer Warriors Team real soon! Thanks for making a difference in the fight against cancer!!!

If you don't plan to participate in the Challenge, please consider making a donation by clicking on the honor roll button or going to my fundraising account: http://austin08.livestrong.org/henrike

This is my 5th year of fundraising for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and to celebrate, every donor will be included in a raffle that will be drawn during the 2008 Austin Challenge weekend.
I'm greatful for each and every amount you can give, whether it's $5 or $100. Prizes include Lance Armstrong and Livestrong items, including books, pens, magnets, shirts, etc. So please help me raise awareness and money for the LAF and make your own personal contribution to help us fight cancer!!!