Sunday, October 26, 2008

LiveStrong Challenge - Day 2 (Saturday the 25th) - Appreciation Dinner

The Appreciation Dinner was held at the downtown Hilton, which is just north of the Austin Convention Center (it was held in the ACC last year). I was a little worried about being late since UT was playing Oklahoma State and the game was due to end just as I would be traveling downtown. There was some extra traffic, but not too bad, plus I had given myself some extra time to get there.

Once you signed in, you filled out a name tag for yourself and for your table since only certain contributors had reserved seating.

There was a reception before the dinner, and a silent auction featuring signed items from Tony Hawk, Alonzo Mourning, Lance Armstrong.

My daughter accompanied me to the dinner this year. The serving started a little late, once seated, you went back outside where they had setup several buffet lines. There was plenty of good food, salad, rolls, garlic noodles, salmon, chicken parmesan, pasta primavera, and some delicious desserts -- including one with a spoon made of chocolate. It was all very tasty.

Once dinner was more or less complete, the emcee, Evan Smith started off the remainder of the event. He was substituting for Doug Ulman who was away at a wedding in New Orleans. Doug had made a short video which they showed. They also showed a video made around the world discussing how other societies deal with cancer and treatment (watch a short version). It was eye opening how much lack of knowledge there is in other parts of the world. Part of the reason for Lance's return to competitive cycling is to spread the LAF mission around the world, raising people's awareness, and hopefully getting more preventative screening down.

After some of the corporate sponsors talked, Lance & Evan conducted a Q & A session. At the reception, you could fill out a card with any question you wanted to ask Lance. They selected about 6 or so to answer. One turned out to be from a lady sitting right next to me. Another of the questions was from a 7 year old which they invited to the stage to ask his question in person, which was:

"Lance, what's the worstest crash you've ever had?"

Lance pondered a bit and started to answer "My worst crash was....." and immediately the crowd was heckling him with "worstest.. worstest". He then corrected himself and gave the details of his "worstest" crash. Lance then asked the boy if he had a followup question, and the boy proceeded to not ask a question, but to give the details of his "worstest" crash (which included flipping over the handle bars). Lance then said "That crash was way worser than mine" :-)

They also invited up the Challenge award winners for top contributor, most donors, most team members who each gave a short speech.

I enjoyed myself and hope I can attend next year, although that's more up to my donors than it is to me.

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