Friday, December 26, 2008

Month of Philanthropy

During the Holidays, it's extremely easy to find ways to give. I recently joined the Kiwanis Club of Downtown Madison (believe it or not, it's NOT just for old men) and have been presented with many opportunities to give in the Madison area. As always, I've been very busy with the Huntington's Disease Society of America. Just like every other charity, we've fallen on harder times with this economic downfall. But that won't stop us from having fun events to raise money and help the families of Wisconsin. Why am I talking about all of these giving opportunities? Because I didn't have to put a PENNY into any of them. Even though many of us may be hurting for money, does not mean we can't donate our time and smiles. I don't need a pat on the back for all of this... just a consideration from you to help out as well!

Holiday Amaryllis Sales for HDSA:
I've been up to my ears in flowers the entire month of December! The Huntington's Disease Society sells Amaryllis Bulbs (complete with the pot and soil... grows really fast!) to raise money in the holiday season. With the help of some friends and Supreme Health and Fitness, we were able to sell about 150 of these flowers. Bad news is, I still have about 30 remaining. So if anybody wants to make a purchase, they are still beautiful, even AFTER the holidays!

Reindeer Run for Huntington's Disease:
This is probably one of my favorite events we host in the Wisconsin Area. This year we moved the event to Madison at the beautiful Vilas Park. Liz and Kevin were able to find some great sponsors (THANK YOU FLEET FEET and TRADER JOE'S!), we had a sweet timing system, and a WARM shelter. Unfortunately, because of the snow the night before, many of the runners and volunteers were not able to make the event. It was stressful, but we still pulled it off. Thank you to Liz, Kevin, Melissa, Melissa's wonderful Mother, and Ben (who went on to win the race!) for making the event possible. And those of you who missed out... you could have gotten a sweet blinky reindeer nose! :)

Bell Ringing for Salvation Army:
Immediately after the Reindeer Run was cleaned up, me and my blinky reindeer nose joined a fellow Kiwanian to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. Now if you EVER have to do bell ringing, wearing the blinking reindeer nose is KEY. Over 70% of the people walking by our Kettle dropped some money in. At one point, people were lined up into the store waiting to donate! Among all of the wonderful things Salvation Army does for single mothers in the Madison area, they hold a special place in my heart for giving my mom and other nursing home residents special Christmas Gifts every year. And no, there are NO pictures of me with the reindeer nose on.

Playing Santa for the Empty Stocking Club:
No, I didn't ACTUALLY dress up as Santa. But I felt like Santa at this event. The Allient Energy Center was FILLED with Toys donated by Target, and THOUSANDS of needy families from the Madison area came to pick out toys for their children. My job was to bag and deliver the final order to the families. Every person was so grateful, and the toys were REALLY COOL! If I could only be a kid in this century...

My next adventure... donating blood. I have never done this because of some fear that it will affect my training. Now that I am injured and not really training, I no longer have an excuse. I'm ready to face the long needle!

If any of you ever want to join me in some of these adventures, I'd love to have company!

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Recent Updates

With Jim Lovell of Apollo 13

Why no blog posts in so long? Other than my cool trip to Kennedy Space Center which I will chat about today… there really hasn’t been anything eventful going on. I’ve been spending a lot of quality time with friends and Ben, rehabbing my knee, planning HDSA events, and working at the gym.

My knee is recovering well, and I am now allowed to do some Stairmaster and elliptical. I finally feel like myself again! I’m still having a few issues with scar tissue and swelling, but overall things are going very well. I can’t wait to log roll again!

Thanksgiving was very special this year, as my dad and I were invited to join the Greene family for their feast. We had a BLAST playing Apples to Apples and charades. I cannot thank them enough for the fun evening. Friday morning I woke up around 3:30am (oh yes I did!) and braved the early morning crowds to get some sweet deals. Yes, waking up that early is very rough, but honestly… it’s great to get all of your shopping done in 3 hours then go back to sleep! I wake up thinking it was a crazy dream, but then see all of the cool stuff I got! And as usual, 90% of it was for me. This year’s neato gift to myself? An iRobot Roomba vaccum! Totally not needed, but it is in the running along with my GPS and Pantech Matrix phone as one of the coolest gadgets I’ve ever owned.

About a month ago my dad and I went on an adventure to Kennedy Space Center to hang with about 30 astronauts! My dad spent several months preparing me for the event by having me watch Tom Hanks’ series, “From Earth to the Moon” on a weekly basis. That really did come in handy when I finally got to meet the Apollo astronauts. I’ll keep this short… but here are some highlights from the trip: - Realizing there are people out there more dorky than my dad.
-Asking Dee O’Hara (nurse to all of the astronauts) who the best looking astronaut was.
- Seeing the Blue Angels fly about 200 feet above us, thus setting off hundreds of car alarms in the Kennedy Space Center parking lot.
- Watching Buzz Aldrin have a few too many at the dinner.
- Seeing my wonderful Grandma in Sarasota.
- Riding the world’s tallest skycoaster (300 feet high!)
- Realizing I can’t say no to, “Common Shana, do this for your daddy.” *see above.