Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Good Causes, Blessings and Rocking Harley Motorcyles...

10.8.08--Last weekend was the 1st Annual Ride for the Cure--for the Susan B. Komen Foundation. I was approached by one of my clients to do the marketing materials design work for this fundraiser. It was a great opportunity for me and the studio to get a high profile of my work and possibly grow my business, it was an opportunity to help out a client in need, and last and most importantly it was a GREAT cause. I'm approached quite often to do work like this, and as a one person studio, I have approach these opportunities with caution--getting involved in causes that touch my heart, and frankly, this one was more about the coordinators passion, excitement and dedication than anything else. Her energy and enthusiasm for this event and cause was contagious and I wanted to be a part. In the end I feel so blessed by this project...over and over again. It's an amazing experience, beyond my wildest dreams. She had never coordinated an event like this before, so she was incredibly passionate, dedicated and motivated..that inspired me...and although everyone was cautioning her and trying to dampen her expectations to normal levels, I encouraged her to expect to fly with the eagles and not let them discourage her--I was sure she'd do VERY well. The na-sayers thought we'd be lucky to get 300 bikes in the 1st Annual ride--well she proved them wrong--4 fold--there were 1200 bikes and it was a very emotional day.

Dan and I were able to rent a Harley and be one of the 1200 bikes riding to fight breast cancer--all together, riding from Big Barn Harley Davidson to the Newton Speedway. I can't tell you how emotional that ride was. We rode with over 300 other bikes, the police had every intersection blocked off for us to go through without stopping (I was wondering how that would work at intersections) and all along the journey, through many small communities, people stopped on the side of the road, came out of their homes and waved to us. It was if, they knew something big was going on, and when they saw the pink bandana's and pink scarves (it was very cool that morning) and in a couple cases pink bikes (I want one of those) they knew what was happening. We were riding to support the fight against breast cancer. Many of the riders/bikers were survivors of breast cancer, and all riders were touched in one way or another personally by this horrible disease. When the motorcycles started their engines the rumble moved me to tears. As did the people along the way that came out to wave with their support. All I could do was pray, pray for all the people fighting cancer, and for my new friend's sister Tammy who is in the fight now (more on this later). I wish I could have captured that spiritual ride in a bottle and share it with you all, it was phenomenal. As we were riding, so were 800 riders from different locations all over the state of Iowa, to the Speedway. We then took a ride a couple laps around the speedway, went on to 2 other pit stop locations and ended at the Val-Air Ballroom for a buffet, live-and silent auction and dance.

The week I agreed to do the design work for the ride--I was at my bank, and shared the ride with him, as I know he has a Harley and thought he might be interested in riding with Dan and I that day. He was infact, his sister had just been diagnosed with breast cancer (in both breasts) and would be in her final stages of chemo at the time of the ride. I suggested we pull a group of her friends and family together and all ride in honor of her that day--and that she should ride with him! Surely, that would lift her spirits at a tough time. He agreed. About 12 family and friends joined us to ride that day, and another 10 non-biker family and friends met up with us at the Val-Air Ballroom to support her. We made t-shirts commemorating the day and honoring her too. She was moved to tears when she saw it. After the lap around the race track, she shared her story with me, her fight, her worries, her good days and her bad days, I was touched and inspired. Then it was time to move on to the next stop, her brother asked her if he should take her home to rest? She said, "you know, I'm feel surprisingly good, infact, I have to say, I feel better than I've felt in weeks!". OK, tears filled my eyes and my heart swelled with the blessing. Later that evening, I told my friend, the fact that this ride touched and helped her so much was so special to me. He said, "This ride helped us all Lisa." How profound. We often forget how this disease puts a huge stress and burden on the family and friends of the breast cancer patient too. He was so right--sooo many blessings. Wow. In the collage above is a beautiful picture of Tammy and her mom and a couple other pictures of her and her brother at the ride.

Then something special happened. One of the live auction items was an adorable rocking Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I couldn't stand it, it was so adorable. I told Dan I wanted it for Christmas. He rolled his eyes like—"are you kidding me?" I said, "no I'm not, if you want a Harley (which he does in the worse way--always been a dream of his), Izabella has to have one too." So, I'll be darned if he didn't bid on it for Izzy. And after a very exciting round of bidding won it for her! It was the most exciting round of bidding of the evening. When we won the bid, I literally jumped in the air and threw my arms around Dan, with tears in my eyes and said, "thank you honey, thank-you". Of course everyone there had no idea what was going on--or why I was so excited. So we looked like idiots...but I didn't care..not one bit. So we are now the proud owners of a "harley-davidson motorcyle rocker". I can't wait for Izzy to play on it! AND as an added benefit--the money went to a good cause to boot! It took me over an hour to calm down—what fun—it even "roars' like the rumble of a motorcycle engine!