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!

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