Sunday, May 15, 2011

See Andrea Run

June 12 seemed really far away when I first learned of the Donate Life 5k. I was sure my goal of running a mile straight was achievable. I secretly hoped I’d be able to run the full 5k but opted for a more modest goal. Theoretically, I thought, a young and otherwise athletic person should be able to run at least a mile ELEVEN months post-transplant.

But things don’t always go as expected – I can certainly attest to that. For a variety of reasons my exercise has progressed more slowly than I’d hoped and running a mile straight remains a lofty goal.

It’s a loft goal yes, but one that I’m fully committed to making a reality in a few short weeks. I know I can do it if I can drum up some serious support! Here’s where you come in.

Do you run? If so, please sign up to walk/run with me! (There is a $25 sign-up fee.) You’ll be supporting me and all future recipients of life-saving transplants in New Jersey. The more people I have jogging [slowly] beside me, the better the chance I have of running that full mile!

Are you loud? A bunch of cheerleaders near the end of the race would move mountains for me. Just picturing cheerleaders helps me push for an extra minute on the treadmill, so imagine the power of a real live cheering section!

Can’t make it in person? Please make a donation of any size to our team! The NJ Sharing Network (also known as Donate Life New Jersey) is the organization responsible for raising awareness of organ donation in this state, matching donors with recipients and facilitating contact between the donor family and transplant recipient. Needless to say, I’m extremely passionate about this wonderful group.

Like t-shirts? You’re in luck. Commemorative team (See Andrea Run) t-shirts are in progress…more to come!

Aside from returning to work, this is my biggest post-transplant milestone thus far. Please help me achieve my goals of raising $1500 for this critical cause and running that full final mile on Sunday, June 12.

The event takes place at 10am in New Providence, NJ. Click on the link below for our team site and look for the buttons that say “donate here” and/or “join this team”.


With your support, I can do this and we can all help raise awareness of organ donation. THANK YOU!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Nacho Mama, MY Mama

Well, an eleventh hour Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there! I’d say Mother’s Day (with Father’s Day as a close second) is the most important of Hallmark’s invented holidays. There are a lot of mothers that deserve thanks and celebration today, and I’d like to honor four here.

First, my sister-in-law Maggie is celebrating her own motherhood for the first time this year, so this Mother’s Day is extra special! A couple of weeks ago she became mom to the sweetest little monkey in the world, my very first nephew Michael. I can’t wait to meet the little man in a couple of weeks! Maybe the little guy will give you the gift of sleep for your first Mother’s Day!

The second mom I celebrate today is my donor’s mother, Denisha. As I’ve said before, I wholeheartedly admire the strength and courage of this wonderful woman. Even on this first year that she celebrates Mother’s Day with one fewer child in her household, she is able to reach out and think of others. Please join me in praying for this gracious woman today. I am beyond delighted to announce that it looks like I’ll be able to meet Denisha this summer (more to come)!

Third, I celebrate Kathy Ritvo, the woman that trained Mucho Macho Man, a strong contender in yesterday’s Kentucky Derby. She was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in 2001 (I believe at age 32) and became very ill before receiving a heart transplant in 2008. Shortly after her transplant, Kathy was back to doing what she loved. She credits a desire to be there for her children with helping her hang on in those final weeks before a donor was identified. I’m sure every Mother’s Day is quite the occasion for that family.

And most of all, I celebrate my mom today. I celebrate her for staying home with her four children, all of whom provided some significant challenges along the way. I celebrate the woman who attended every soccer game, from Atlanta to Texas and California to Ohio, despite my inability to appreciate that attention and support at the time. I celebrate the woman who just became a grandmother and is going to be the best darn grandmother on this Earth. I celebrate the woman who is so generous and gives so much of her time to charity. And I celebrate the woman who single-handedly saved my life with that first trip to New Jersey in October 2009, who provided and continues to provide constant support and love through some difficult times and who put her life on complete hold to come live with me for many months so that I could maintain some semblance of my life in New Jersey.

I’m sure you all have wonderful reasons to celebrate your mothers this weekend. I’m sure they have all done wonderful things for you throughout your life. But I have to tell you that the best mom of all is NACHO MAMA, it’s MY MAMA. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you very much.

Mom and me on Christmas night, 2010.