Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Big Announcement From My Cancer Kicking Campaign

This was my fourth campaign note to potential donors. After two pretty serious notes in a row, it was time for a whacky one, and I hope that this one fit the bill.

We super-athletes seem to have two major ways of drawing attention to ourselves – doing something incredibly stupid and illegal, or appearing on a sports talk show. The US Bureau of Prisons kindly allowed me to meet some of the folks that I could share living quarters with from 5 – 15 years if I took the former approach. I found them to be incompatible, and so I decided on the latter course of action. Following is a transcript of my recent interview by host Hal Larius of FSEN (Funky Sports Entertainment Network).

Hal: Welcome to my show, “Athletes in Good Grace and Disgrace,” Art. We’ve been trying to get you on for some time, and I’m glad we could finally connect.
Art: Thanks, Hal. Great to be here at last.
(Audience: loud applause and some cheers)
Hal: I know you have a big announcement tonight, but first, tell everyone about where your campaign stands right now.
Art: Well, I’m training for my fifth Team in Training event, the Seattle Half Marathon, and raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. People have been very generous, and I want to thank everyone who has contributed. People can go to my web page at any time to donate, catch up on my latest updates, or see my list of honorees.
(The web site URL of my TNT page is shown on the TV screen):

http://pages.teamintraining.org/va/rnrseatl10/art_ritter

Hal: So, it sounds like your campaign is off to a good start!
Art: Yes, very good. People have generously donated about $2,500 so far. This money will be used to provide services to cancer patients and to work towards the ultimate goal of curing blood cancers: lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma.
Hal: Well, what about that big announcement you are planning on tonight?
Art: Well, Hal, after a lot of thought, I am going to change my name!
(Audience: loud murmur of excitement)
Hal:
Wow, that will give you instant name recognition and notoriety. Think Kareem Abdul Jabbar! And of course, Mohammed Ali and Hulk Hogan! And then there is Chad Ochocinco, Old Number 85 of the Cincinnati Bengals! Who even remembers Chad Johnson, right? Ochocinco is now one of the most recognizable names in sports! What flair!
Art: That’s right, Hal. That’s the kind of publicity I’m looking for!
Hal: Okay, don’t keep us in suspense, Art – what’s it going to be?
(At this point, there is so much palpable excitement in the air that it creates an electric surge, and the power shorts out. A few minutes later, the show is back on the air.)
Hal:
Sorry about that folks, but it isn’t everyday we get this much excitement on our show. So, what’s your new name, Art?
Art: Well, keep in mind that this is my fifth event for Team in Training, coming eight years after surviving lymphoma. So, my new name will be…
(Audience: murmuring expressing almost unbearable tension)
Art:
Art Cinco-ocho!
(Audience: a loud gasp)
Hal:
Now, that is powerful, Art! Very powerful. Short of shooting yourself in the leg in a nightclub, starting your own dog fighting ring, or getting involved in a barroom brawl, I don’t think you could get any more publicity than that!
(Audience: intense cheering and whistling)
Art:
Yep, that’s the idea. Kind of take my campaign to the next level. Blood cancer is such a serious problem, with an American getting diagnosed every four minutes. Tens of thousands die every year because we just don’t have effective enough cures. People who donate to my Cancer Kickin’ Campaign will ultimately help to change that. Maybe not this year, or even next, but soon.
Hal: One question, Art. What about next year, when you are a nine year survivor? Your new name won’t quite fit then, will it? Have you thought about that?
Art: Uhh…
Hal: Or when you do your sixth TNT event?
Art: Uhh…
Hal: Won’t you have to change your name again then?
Art: Uhh…
Hal: Well folks, that’s all we have time for tonight. Art, I know you are considering another big campaign announcement soon. So once you get that finalized, let’s have you back on here in a couple weeks to talk about that, okay? Remember, folks, if an athlete is in the public's good grace or in disgrace, you will hear about him or her on my show! Goodnight, everyone.
(Stirring music plays while videos of athletes making incredible plays in slow motion and other athletes engaged in a big barroom brawl are shown)

That’s the latest from my 2010 Cancer Kickin’ Campaign, Survivor in Seattle. Stay tuned for future announcements!
Art

1 comment:

Cate said...

kareem abdul jabar was diagnosed with CML last year, coincidentally...