Friday, October 19, 2007

LiveStrong Challenge - Day 2 (Saturday the 13th) - Dinner

The Appreciation dinner was held Saturday night at the ACC. Challenge participants with more than $5,000 worth of donations were invited. Of course, it's a testament to the generosity of my donors that I was able to attend. I thank each of you again for supporting the LAF.

After signing in and getting name tags, several different types of hors d'oeuvres were served prior to dinner.

Once the dining room opened, at each table, each seat had a small gift, a Nissan keychain (Nissan is a corporate sponsor for the LAF). There were numerous buffet lines to the back of the room (with the same food), thus, getting dinner was very quick. The dinner consisted of a salad, a make-it-yourself Caeser salad, with lettuce & cheese, sliced tomatoes, a tray of cold chicken breasts with grilled red peppers, a tray of mushrooms (which I skipped). The main "course" was bread, honey wheat penne pasta, with marinara or alfredo sauce, and Parmesan chicken breasts. There was also a rice dish of some sort (which I skipped).

There were several different types of desserts, including tiramasu, and white cake. Coffee and tea were available, I got a little decaf knowing I had an early morning.

Once dinner was finished, Doug Ulman gave a short speech thanking the donors. He invited up Chris Carmichael, who was Lance's coach (and is an author now of several books). After a short talk from Chris, Lance got up to talk. He presented a short slide show which detailed the history of the LAF, from it's inception at Z Tejas, through the first Challenge event, up through and past Lance's 7 Tour wins. He mentioned how Nike started the yellow bracelet craze in 2004, and how they thought what a failure it would be. They initially created 500,000 bands, and the LAF was wondering what they would do with the other 498,000 bands that they wouldn't be able to sell. As we know, the reality was markedly different. So far, 70,000,000 bracelets have been sold. Lance also discussed the fairly recent Sports Illustrated cover story, with him and several other cancer survivors (all children). One had had a recurrence of cancer and had died (and the cost it imposed on his family had made them homeless. While not going into details, Lance mentioned that he and the LAF were providing for the family). One of the other kids was at the dinner. It was a very compelling story.

Lance mentioned his Mom would be in the ride tomorrow, and that no one should run into her ;-)

After Lance finished, Doug took over again. He went through a series of slides, reading every donor name in the $5,000-$10,000, $10,000-$20,000, and +$20,000 ranges. They asked us to stand as your name was read. For some donors, where he had a personal connection with them, he would relay some extra information or a story. Many people, whose websites/blogs I had visited and read, were there.

They then invited 3 special donors to the stage, the top individual donor (Zang Toi), the person with the most donors (Matt Pomeroy, with 571 donors, and the Team Captain (Steve Ruess) of the team with the most members (Team Dell with 200 members). Each gave a short speech, and had a picture taken with Lance holding a special LIVESTRONG jersey encased in a frame.

Lance gave some further remarks concerning Proposition 15, and how he would be traveling around the state before the election advocating passage. Doug also presented the video concerning the LAF Presidential Forum they held back in August.

The event was quite inspiring, making you realize you could do more, and that you should do more.

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