Thanks to Friends and Supporters
For some reason this Martin’s Ride Thank You Note is the hardest to write. It is not easy to be my friend :) or support Martin’s Ride in the middle of such a deep, dark recession. Friends such as Red Maxwell (www.onrampbranding.com),
Eric and Cynthia Garrison (www.wtesolutions.net
) and Gary Towning and the team at Ogilvy Durham (www.ogilvydurham.com
) gave selflessly and generously to help Martin’s Ride cure cancer. In kind contributions from these and other supporters would have come in well over $10,000 if we were keeping track.
Another group of friends gave hard earned cash to help Duke’s Comprehensive Cancer Center cure cancer as a show of support for Martin’s Ride. Friends such as Dan Miller (our first and multiple contributor), John Gaston, Leslie Gordon (and other Vassar
Alums) and many others gave thousands of dollars, attention, words of encouragement and pats on the back. Money is cool but it doesn’t help get a bicycle up a steep mountain. I kept turning my crank long after I thought it impossible because I knew there were friends and supporters who cared. How can you value encouragement from Dean Ed Maddox (Choate Rosemary Hall
), Coach Stenz (and many of my Central Junior High football teammates and ex girlfriends:), WRAL's Tar Heel Traveler Scott Mason, the News and Observers' Ruth Sheehan, The Herald-Sun's Neil Offen and the writer Seth Godin
So much of friendship is serendipity. School, work, conferences and proximity determine our friends. Martin’s Ride changed this equation. We met many, many people by pure happenstance; happenstance perhaps, but we were often quickly united by the Big C. Cancer speaks a universal language far too many understand. Once someone learned of Martin’s Ride’s mission to cure cancer and our personal stake in this battle we became instant and strong brothers and sisters. We learned of grandmothers, brothers, sisters, cousins and parents battling cancer. We heard evidence of every Kublar-Ross stage (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance). We felt empathy, kinship and support.
The older I get, the more I work, read and experience, the more I realize we never do anything alone. As our world becomes more complicated and connected we bond together in tribes of support. We counted on finding support and we did. Our Free Meals For Cancer helped feed our team meals in nine states and over fifty restaurants. We couldn’t stop and talk on the side of the road in Arkansas without several cars checking to see if we were alright. When the RV got stuck in Kansas a nice lady at the bank told us, “don’t call the automobile club, farmers do everything around here” just before a farmer came to our rescue. We went looking for the kindness of strangers and we found it.
We hope these many strangers know they are our friends now. We may be a forgotten memory, but there were many kind, generous acts Brian, Jeremy and I will never forget. It is easy to become cynical, detached and hardened in a world so obsessed with negative. Luckily this is not what we found. We discovered the opposite. We connected with hundreds of people from Durham to California. Our connections were immediately deep and meaningful. Cancer helps cut through and clarify. People want to be included. They want to help. We stood easily united against a common enemy - the Big C.
Repayment of so many acts of purposeful and random kindness is impossible. We will attempt to repay by paying these lessons forward, by dedicating our lives to those magical truths we learned, observed, felt and discovered. We will finish our web site, ship t-shirts and send thank you notes to those we can, but we are appreciative of every donation of coin and spiritual collateral even as we know we won’t be able to shake every hand again. We leave Martin’s Ride changed by the infinite kindness of strangers. Strangers always save our lives and we will be forever grateful.
Martin’s Ride To Cure Cancer
September 9, 2010