Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Campaign is Winding Down

My Fellow Americans, and Citizens of the World,

Nearly seven months ago, on September 23rd, I addressed you from this same podium to kick off my 4th Cancer Kickin’ Campaign – to train for the Country Music half-Marathon through Team in Training and to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This money goes directly to their mission of LLS: “to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.”

On that date, there were several other newsworthy happenings, in addition to me kicking off my campaign, of course. “Bad News for the Bailout” – wow, that kind of sounds like the good old days, doesn’t it, when the term “AIG bonuses” wasn’t yet on the radar? “White House Dispatches Team to Push Economic Bill” – that seems like a continuing saga, doesn’t it? “$13 Billion in Iraq Aid Wasted or Stolen” – hey, don’t look at me, I’m too busy just trying to keep my campaign running. Do you think I'd still be fundraising if I had $13,000,000,000? I am not a crook! Then of course there were the normal critically important news stories of the day, you know, the stories of athletes, movie stars, and other celebrities behaving badly in such a way as to feed the public's seemingly insatiable appetite for such goings on.

But here is a story that did not make the news wires on September 23rd: on that day, approximately 144 Americans died from a blood cancer, and 290 were newly diagnosed with a blood cancer. And that is just in the United States – worldwide, the number would of course have been much larger. That is 144 human beings - each with their own hopes and dreams - who's lives were snuffed out that day from these awful diseases.

That is why I am out there every day, working on my campaign: to help fund a cure with the money that so many generous people have donated to this cause. In fact, let me take this opportunity to thank, once again, the 109 people who have already donated to my 2009 Cancer Kickin’ Campaign! Your generosity is making a difference in this cause. Cancer won’t be cured this week or this month or this year, but someday it will be, and you will have helped!

If you have been meaning to donate, but haven’t gotten to it yet, you can still do so by getting me a check payable to “Leukemia and Lymphoma Society” (or just LLS), or you can conveniently and securely donate at my web site:

If you look at my web site, you will see that my goal is $14,645 and that I have raised about 45% of this amount. So with less than three weeks to go in my campaign, does that mean that I am giving up? No! My fellow Americans, just because my last name rhymes with ”quitter” doesn’t mean that I am quitting on this goal! There is no ‘I’ in quitter! Oh, wait a second, there is - sorry! But there is no ‘art’ in quitter! Maybe I won’t hit that goal, but what if someone who is a cancer survivor and is a multimillionaire learns about my campaign, and out of gratitude for surviving cuts me a check for $10,000? It could happen, so no, I am not giving up on this goal. Or maybe 200 more people will each donate $40, or 400 people will donate $20 each. Or maybe some of my co-workers will win the lottery. Anything is possible, except for quitting.

Like the better known Obama and McCain campaigns going on during much of the same time period, my campaign activity generated many statistics (but not quite as much money or fame as theirs did). I think that you will find the facts that I present to conclude my message tonight to be fascinating, but if not, maybe reading them will help you sleep.

Number of honoree names that I will write on my race shirt - 61 (19 posthumously)

Age of the youngest person on my shirt at the time they developed cancer - 10 weeks

Days since I kicked off my campaign - 198

Americans who have died from a blood cancer since that time - 28,510

Days since the TNT Richmond Spring Team started training - 153

Miles of training on foot since that time - approximately 475

Pairs of running shoes worn out – 1, with my current pair quickly heading in that direction

Toenails lost – 0 (first time in 4 times of doing TNT that I haven’t lost at least one toenail)

Earliest time of day to start training – 4:20AM

Number of lower body ice water soaks (always so pleasurable) - 6

Miles in the dark – just a guess but I would say about 200

Run to walk ratio when I started training - 2 minutes run, 10 minutes walk.

Current run to walk ratio - 8 minutes run, 4 minutes walk

Run pace – about 10 minutes 20 seconds per mile

Walk pace – about 13 minutes 15 seconds per mile

Longest time of continuous running without walking - about 35 minutes

My age when I started training - 57.31 years

My age at the time of the race - 57.78 years

Average age for a male marathoner - 40.7 years

Hilliest run – Charlottesville on January 31st

Flattest run – Sandbridge Beach, multiple times

Once again, thanks for helping me to make a difference for America and the world! If you have been meaning to join my Cancer Kickin’ Campaign, you still have about 17 days. Together, we'll team up to fight cancer, and someday, we'll have a cure. Thanks for your support!


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

Art Ritter in 2009 – He Will Go the Distance for You!

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