Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kicking off Art's Fourth Team in Training Campaign!

My Fellow Americans,

I address you tonight on a matter of critical national, and international, importance. No, I’m not talking about Brittany Spears’s most recent goings on, or even the latest Paris Hilton scandal. Of course, I in no way mean to diminish the great importance of what Brittany and Paris are up to, so please forgive me if I have offended any constituents.

But that’s not why I am coming to you tonight. The important matter that I wish to address is cancer, specifically blood cancers – leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. Did you realize that in about the same amount of time that it takes a typical politician to fill a large building with hot air – only ten minutes - two more Americans are diagnosed with and one American dies of a blood cancer? That’s over 114,000 people in the USA alone who will be diagnosed this year.

This is unacceptable, and I intend on doing something about it. Therefore, for the fourth time, I am throwing my hat – that’s my white Team in Training (TNT) race cap with the three “26.2” pins on it, of course – into the ring and getting out on the marathon campaign trail again. Yes, I’m signing up with Team in Training once more, this time for the Country Music Marathon, run next April in Nashville, Tennessee. You probably know that two of our most famous presidents are associated with that great state: Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson and Andy “Saved by a Single Vote” Johnson. It will therefore be my great honor to set foot on Tennessee soil for this event.

What better place than in the Volunteer State to be a volunteer once more for TNT and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS)? You can get all of the details and make a donation if you so choose at my campaign headquarters webpage:


For the first time, I’m blogging about my TNT experience. My blog, which also has all of the information from my last campaign in Arizona, can be viewed at:


It takes a lot of money to cure cancer, and so again, I am setting my campaign goal high: $14,645. Why this number?

1 – one lucky guy, me, to be a lymphoma survivor and to be healthy enough to do this
4 – four of my family members in 2007 and 2008 diagnosed with various cancers
6 – six years in remission later this year from my bout with lymphoma in 2002
4 – my fourth marathon for the LLS
5 – the fifth time I have been involved in TNT, counting one time as a mentor

Unlike those fancy politicians crisscrossing the country in their big jets, I pledge to you that I will be doing my difficult campaign work on foot. I’ll take over a million steps and go through a couple of pairs of running shoes before I am done, but I’ll be out there with the common people, the “little people” as we big political types fondly call them. You won’t see me hobnobbing with the rich and famous at $10,000 a plate dinners – no siree! I pledge to you that I will account for every dollar and every donation, every penny of which will go to the LLS. Charity Navigator gives LLS a very high rating, by the way.

Now, I know that some are claiming that I am too old, and others are saying that I am too inexperienced, but I know that the American people are too intelligent to pay any attention to such negative and ridiculous statements! My campaign will be successful, but I can only be successful with YOUR support!

In a few weeks, I’ll have my first campaign press conference and will send out a transcript to you all.

So join my Cancer Kickin' Campaign by making a donation, and join me in making a difference for America and the world! Together, we'll team up to fight cancer, and someday, we'll have a cure. Thanks in advance for your support!


(I’m Art Ritter, and I approved this message)

Art Ritter in ’09 – He’ll go the distance for you!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Take Your Mark, Get Set ...

Well, after about a two week delay, I am ready to kick off my fourth Team in Training Campaign. I had really hoped to be ready to start fund-raising a couple of weeks ago, but everything going on recently, including the death of my step-father Stuart from cancer, delayed me a bit.

But now I am ready. I’ve updated my fund-raising email list. I’ve organized email groups so that I can send out emails one group at a time instead of one person at a time. I’ve set up my TNT fund-raising page, and even have my first donation (thanks, Kristi!):


I have edited my initial solicitation message, and it is ready to go. I have definitely decided to go with the approach I came up with during an early morning walk exactly a month ago (see “Like a Fur Ball in the Night”). I have pretty good first and second messages out of that idea, but will have to start planning my third and subsequent messages. And I have come up with my fund-raising goal, $14,645. Why that goal? Well, check my initial message in a couple of days and I will tell you! It is a tough, scary, and ambitious goal, especially in today’s economy. But all I can do is give it my best shot. If I reach it, it will be a personal record (PR)!

Plus, I got in a nice five mile walk yesterday morning. It was the furthest I have walked since my hike three weeks ago, and I only feel a little sore. It felt great to walk that far, and pretty close to my normal walking pace, after a long layoff.

So this week, probably Tuesday night, I will send out my first mass solicitation for funds. I am poised at the starting line, waiting for the gun to go off. And then I will GO! My fourth TNT Campaign will be underway!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Need to End this Slacking Off

I've had a lot of stuff going on lately, too much it seems to get in any real workouts. A painful blister from my hike on the last Saturday of August made it tough to walk more than short distances for a while. Then there were several trips to Pennsylvania to see my step dad Stuart, and for his funeral this week. Finally, just a number of other challenges and commitments made it difficult to find even a few spare minutes.

So it felt great to finally do a few miles one morning this week, plus spend a whole 30 minutes with weights in the gym! It is not enough, of course, to train for a marathon, but it is a start.

I have some family committments coming up that will make it hard to work out properly for the next two weeks, but after that I should get some time in the month before the team officially forms to start getting in semi-decent shape prior to training starting up. There is nothing like the spector of humiliating yourself at a marathon to give you all the motivation necessary to get in good enough shape to at least finish the race!

Next week, I will resolve to get in at least a few workouts, and I will also start my formal fund-raising activities. I am looking forward to this, and to telling you all about it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Requiem in Pacem, Stuart!

My step-father, Stuart, passed away last night, less than three weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer. I had written briefly about Stuart in my post of about three weeks ago, “Y’all Can Stop Now!”.

Stuart was a great guy. I have known him since 1971, and he was like a second father to me. He and my mother married in 1974.

Since her death in 1992, Stuart has remained close to me and to my brothers and sisters. We are all tremendously saddened by his death. It is one more reminder of how awful cancer is, and how it must ultimately be defeated! I hope that my upcoming Team in Training Season and marathon will be one more nail in cancer’s coffin!

Stuart grew up in Syracuse, and I always liked hearing his tales of growing up there. He always remained fond of his native town, where he played ice hockey as a boy. He also got to see George Gershwin perform a concert there just a year before this great composer’s tragic and early death. Eventually, Stuart went to college at the University of Pennsylvania, class of 1943. Go Quakers! Hurrah for the Red and the Blue! One remarkable thing about Stuart is that he left college after completing his degree requirements but well before graduation to join the Army. He went off to the Pacific War, serving in New Guinea. With no cream, milk, or sugar there, he always had his coffee black the rest of his life. And after weeks with little to eat but canned apricots due to a logistical snafu, he couldn’t even stand to look at an apricot the rest of his life.

After the war, Stuart worked in international business. He told me many tales of travels around the world on business. Eventually, he was in the jewelry business about the time he and my Mom met, and stayed in that line of work until his retirement.

He and I got to numerous football games over the years on my travels to Philadelphia to watch Penn at Franklin Field, and also a few games at Villanova out on the “Main Line”. All his life, Stuart had a true love for his Alma Mater. I have great memories of these times with him, and of listening and discussing classical music which we both love. We also always had many discussions about sports and politics, both of which Stuart had a deep interest in. And when were relaxing at his home, we enjoyed watching sports together and just chatting.

In 1993, Penn had a special ceremony at their graduation where they presented diplomas to the men who, 50 years previously, had missed their graduation ceremony to serve our country. That meant so much to Stuart.

In 2005, we met Stuart and several other family members in Washington DC so that we could take him to the World War II Memorial. That was such a moving experience – to see him remembering his comrades and the suffering, and how he and other aging veterans greeted one another. I am so glad that we had the opportunity to take him there.

I am saddened that Stuart is no longer with us, but I am a better man for having been lucky enough to know him and to be his step-son.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sign Me Up!

Well, I've re-upped for Team in Training, my fourth time since 2005 with the Purple People! I'm excited about this. I got registered today with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society so I can start building my web page. As I reported the other week in my post "Like a Furball in the Night", I have my first fund-raising message all planned out. I hope to send it out next week.

The team won't form until the first of November, so for the next couple of months, I'll be training on my own a bit and trying to do as much fund raising as possible in advance. Over the next few nights, I'll finish my web page and get my electronic mailing list in order.

It'll be great to be back with the team! Country Music Marathon, here I come! The date of the marathon, April 25, 2009, is one day before the seventh anniversary of being told that I had a large mass in my chest, which turned out to be lymphoma. That is a pretty cool coincidence!

That fourth TNT 26.2 pin is going to look great on my hat! Wish me luck!