Relay For Bots

This coming weekend, the American Cancer Society is hosting it’s annual Relay for Life in our home town of Willow Glen.  If you aren’t familiar with the relay, teams of 8 raise money for cancer research and walk with other cancer survivors, their friends and families for 24 hours.

I’m really excited about it because Holly and I are doing a Survivor Lap prior to the main event kicking off.  Unfortunately, a lot of people can’t say that.

This year the heads of the event are expecting close to 1,000 people, mostly people from the community, to walk and show their support.

Leading up to the event, Dave Keller, who manages the awesome Willow Glen Extra site, suggested that we build a Twitter bot to help people at the event communicate with one another.  With 1,000 people floating around a high school track, sleeping in tents, it will be hard to find people you know in other groups.  Twitter for good, so to speak.

The Bot is now live.  If you are living in Willow Glen and happen to be at the Relay for Life this weekend, do this:

  1. Sign up for Twitter
  2. Follow WGxRelay – To get the most out of this on Saturday, follow by your phone
  3. Send your updates of where you are to the community by texting @WGxRelay to 40404

Couldn’t be simpler.

We are looking forward to seeing you on Saturday night if you are in the area.

If you’d like to make a donation to the Relay for Life, you can do so here. – Thanks!

Head Shaving Party

Holly shaved her head over the weekend. I watched and made a cool movie about it.

Head Shaving Party – Www.HopeForHolly.com

A couple of things that I noticed about doing this.First, I have a whole new respect for good video bloggers. Editing this was a pain in the ass. I don’t care about how easy Steve Jobs makes it sound. If you want to do something even half cool, it takes a lot of editing. The movie is about 8 minutes and I think that I spent about 8 hours editing.Second, I can see how editing movies could get really addictive. Not only are you making something really cool, but the feedback that I’ve received thus far has been amazing.You may be asking yourself why I, being an employee of Yahoo, chose to use MetaCafe versus Yahoo Video, YouTube or Vimeo. Great question. My goal is to get the word out about this horrible disease. Eventually, I’ll probably post it on all sites. In the meantime, it is on MetaCafe due to their Producer Rewards program. All money that this movie raises will go to help pay for Holly’s treatments & medical bills.Watch it and pass it on. It is a great message that we hope will save a life or more.

Hair Brained Schemes

As many of you know, my wife was diagnosed with colon cancer earlier this year. One of the questions that comes up immediately after discussing her chemotherapy regimen is about her losing her hair. While we were told that it would thin, we were told that it would be too bad.Here is my post from her site:

When Holly was first prescribed the adjunct treatment of Xeloda & Oxciliplatin, we were told that her hair would probably thin a bit, but it wouldn’t fall out. I think that our definition of ‘a bit’ and the doctors definition are two different things.While I still think that she looks great, Holly has reached a level of frustration with the thinning. I don’t see it, but she is complaining that large chunks are coming out when she brushes. More than anything, though, she doesn’t want to let it go too long. In her words, she’d rather rip the band-aid off quickly. She has made the decision to shave her head. It is a way for her to be in control of her cancer and it is a chance to help other people. Her amazing hair will be going to Locks of Love, an organization that uses human hair to make wigs for kids with cancer and other diseases.We recognize that for a lot of women going through cancer, the decision (or lack of decision depending on how forced it is) to shave their head can not be an easy one. Since day one, we’ve wanted to share our cancer experience in hopes that it will change lives either by education or empathy. This experience will be no different.While the decision to shave is not 100% final yet, it is looking like that will be the plan shortly after her next treatment (1 weeks from tomorrow). I am planning on documenting the process and posting it on this and other sites (youtube, vimeo, Yahoo video, etc.). We’d love to do some unique things around this in raising both awareness and money for colo-rectal cancers.We’ve thought about selling sponsorships or selling her hair by the inch in a banner ad, but we are really looking for some unique ideas that would help to encourage people to think about this horrible disease.What are your thoughts?

Any thoughts or ideas that you can share would be appreciated.

My Wife Has Cancer

January 30, 2007Everything after the doctor said “I’m sorry, but your wife has colorectal cancer” is a blur. We were doing a nice 70 mph down the highway of life and someone just grabbed the steering wheel and chunked the tranny into reverse at the same time.Lots of doctor speak and me trying to take notes. Hands shaking. Head spinning.A surgeon was in the room as Holly was waking up and, while groggy from anaesthesia, she could immediately sense that something was wrong. I had to tell her. That sucked. After some explainable crying we made a vow that we would kick this in the ass, beat this disease and try to educate as many people as possible about this.We drive home and nap.January 31The next morning, we go back to the doctor to get a better idea of what we have and what the next steps are. At that point we discover that the doctor is 99.9% sure that it is cancer, so that is good, we have a small chance that maybe it isn’t. We also get a better idea of treatment options, which include chemo, radiation & surgery. Because we’ve clearly won the shit lottery, she’s got to go back for me chemo after it is all over.We get a long list of next steps including doing some blood work, meeting with more docotrs and, lucky her, getting a rectal ultrasound.Holly goes and gives blood, I go back to work. It is a good form of escapism.February 2Rectal ultrasound day. I get a call after the appointment from Holly “I’m tired of people sticking things in my butt.” We find out how big the tumor is and how much it has spread on Monday. We also get our results of the biopsy. Holding our breath over the weekend. There is still 0.01% chance that this whole thing could be a false alarm.February 5We exhale, but no luck. Holly has stage 3 rectal cancer. We outline our plan of attack on how to fight this, first with our surgeon and then with our oncologist. 6 weeks of chemo & radiation, 6 weeks of rest, surgery, rest, surgery, 4 more months of chemotherapy. Sucks. The second half of the year has to be better than the first.As bleak as this may sound, we are holding our heads high and vowing to fight and win against this terrible disease.About HollyI consider myself the luckiest human being alive because of my wife, mainly because she puts up with me but also because she is smart, strong, wise, caring, funny, compassionate, an incredible woman, a wonderful mother and simply one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. She is my best friend. She is someone that I’ve been in love with since the second I laid eyes on her.She is also 37 and a vegetarian. She runs 15 – 20 miles per week, she does yoga, kickboxing and Pilate’s regularly. She doesn’t drink or smoke. She isn’t anemic. In fact, she has only one trait that would lead to this and that is, unfortunately, bad genes. Even with this, though, our doctor said that he wouldn’t have recommended checking for this for another 15 years.So it is just bad luck. While most everyone else (myself included) would be curled up in the fetal position crying about this, she is being incredibly strong. She has vowed to fight this disease and win. She is strong and I know that she will.About Colorectal Cancer (CRC)You can read the Wikipedia entry, but it is pretty depressing. In short, behind lung cancer, it is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths. No cancer is good cancer. From the Wikipedia entry:

Colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer or bowel cancer, includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix. It is the third most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of death among cancers in the Western world. Many colorectal cancers are thought to arise from adenomatous polyps in the colon. These mushroom-like growths are usually benign, but some may develop into cancer over time. The majority of the time, the diagnosis of localized colon cancer is through colonoscopy. Therapy is usually through surgery, which in many cases is followed by chemotherapy.

Delightful, huh?What can I do?We have been so blessed with a strong support group of friends & family. Everyone, without exception, has asked what they can do to help. We really are thankful for everyone that has reached out to us and I know that we will be racking up the baby sitting credits over the next several months.As I’ve mentioned and explain to everyone, we really look at this as an opportunity to try to educate as many people as possible about colorectal cancer. We are already kicking around ideas on how to do a major online grass roots campaign, including YouTube video diaries, reaching out to celebrties, leveraging my mom’s connections in the Senate and anything else that we can do.So what can you do if you’re so inclined:

  • Learn about this colorectal cancer (here, here, or here) and if there is a chance you could be impacted, get checked. No one wants a colonoscopy, but it beats the alternative.
  • Tell people you know to get checked out. Don’t be a Debbie Downer, but bring this up to your friends and family. Holly shouldn’t have cancer, but she does and didn’t know it until this point. You or someone you love might too.
  • Link your blog to this site. I will, of course, post Holly’s site once we get that up and running. Digg this page, MyWeb it, add it to del.icio.us, etc.
  • Do you know someone that can help us educate people on a national scale? We would love an introduction.
  • Have ideas on how we can get the message out in a big way on a little to no budget? We are all ears
  • Email this page to a friend of loved one by clicking here.
  • IM this page to a friend (I can’t find the code, so hopefully some Yahoo will help me)
  • Donate to the Colorectal Cancer Network. They are trying to do a really good thing, but clearly need web design help.
  • Buy a bracelet. Holly wondered why they weren’t brown for colorectal cancer. Our ribbons will be brown. If you don’t have a sense of humor, what do you have?
  • Send us inspirational stories. We all know someone that lost their lives to cancer. We don’t need it. Send us the stories about people that, like us, looked at this as a challenge and rose to it, fought back and won.
  • Most of all, just keep us in your thoughts.
  • So that is what is going on. Who are you going to tell?