Sunday, July 27, 2008

LIVESTRONG Weekend

The Livestrong Summit is finally over and we just got back from Columbus, OH and the 6.5 hr drive! Saturday was jammed packed with emotional and inspiring keynote speakers, team building exercises and breakout sessions. On Sunday, they gave out team awards and then hosted a panel consisting of Lance Armstrong, The Ohio State University President, Dr. Sanjay Gupta (CNN), and Dr. Bernadine Healy (U.S. News and World Report). In terms of team awards, I’m proud to say that Meghan’s team dominated the fundraising tract and won both contests over the weekend. For their winning performance, each member was awarded a small video camera. It’s a small handheld device no bigger than a cell phone or a blackberry, but she got one! (So now we can post video messages with our blog once we figure it out!)

Overall, the whole weekend was really a wonderful opportunity to be part of such a special movement. In my mind, the face of cancer is changing right before our eyes. As Meghan said to me in the car ride home, “I was surprised to see how normal and healthy the people were... I couldn’t separate the cancer survivors from the family & friends.” This was surprising to me. If someone like Meghan (who lives with cancer everyday) is surprised by the face of cancer today, I wonder what people who are new to the disease think when they hear the phrase “cancer survivor?”

The fact of the matter is that people with cancer do get sick, they can lose their hair, they can have surgical scars or radiation marks…….but they can also look like the mother of two next door, the dad coaching his son’s baseball team, a co-worker in the office next to you, or a 7 time Tour de France winner. The word “Cancer” or the “Big C” has changed so much in the past 5, 10, or 20 years. New technology, new research and increased funding & awareness have changed cancer from a taboo topic and silent killer. What was once not talked about openly in my parents’ generation has become a curable or chronic disease and one whose battle which will be a national priority and a welcomed household discussion. The people, the passion, and the energy of the hundreds of attendees will, as Meghan said, “translate into a powerful grassroots effort that will move the cancer mountain.”

I just want to thank the wonderful LAF staff from Brenda flagging down a bus for us the first night to Melissa, Haley, Tina, Matt, Doug, Nikki, Sue and just everyone for reaching out to Meghan and me. You guys put on an incredibly empowering weekend and your efforts shouldn’t go unnoticed as there are still many of us still battling the disease.

We'll post some pictures and more about the Summit later this week.

LIVESTRONG.

6 comments:

Anne Willis said...

Where were the competitions and cool prizes at the first Summit? Doug, I know you're reading this- where's my video camera?!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait till the Waeger Cup...I've been practicing...doesn't mean I am any better but I have a blast at it. Glad you guys had fun at the Summit.
You're in our thoughts and prayers!
Karin

Anonymous said...

Dan, You are such a good writer. Your skills have improved so much over the last couple years. Love, mom

Ramon Corrada said...

Hey,
Good to see you again at the LIVESTRONG Summit. Stpping by to check out your blog like you told me on Saturday at the Zoo. Keep up the good work and if you need anything let me know. Hope everything goes well on Friday.
Take care,
Ramon
from Puerto Rico

Brenda S said...

I will always remember the two of you (and James). I'm glad you enjoyed your weekend. I was blessed to have met you and hope our paths will cross again soon. Think about coming to Austin for the LIVESTRONG Challenge in Oct. it would great to see you there. Your friend Brenda

Nicki Borgstadt said...

It was so great to see you - and meet Meghan - at the Summit, Dan. Hope to see you again soon!!
~Nicki