Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Worthy Efforts

For the next several days I will be out of town and intentionally avoiding the computer. Until my next post appears, I want to leave some worthy things on this blog, so here they are:

Revlon Run/Walk for Women

It doesn’t matter whether you are female or male, or whether it is yourself or a loved one who has fought any of the myriad women’s cancers. All of us have been or will be affected by these diseases, and as somebody who has spent years examining disability claims, I am familiar with their capriciousness -- breast cancer, for instance, is even more deadly for young women than for elderly ones.

On May 1st, Revlon will be holding its annual 5-kilometer Run/Walk for Women. Proceeds from this fundraiser go to medical research, in the hope of finding cures. Since it began 13 years ago, it has raised almost $60 million.

I went to high school with Candi Obrentz, who is participating along with her sister and mother. Their personal goal is to raise more than $5,000 in donations, to which end they have set up this page on Revlon’s web site. If you believe in the cause, I encourage you to go there and donate. If you want to personally run or walk in the event, go here.

Trail Therapy

I only met Steve Fugate one time, and it was at the funeral of his son, who was also named Steve. I had met his son a few times because he went to high school with my wife. Then, 11 years ago, he committed suicide while his father was off hiking the Appalachian Trail. People had to track down Mr. Fugate to deliver the news.

The raw, desperate emotions that filled the funeral home were excruciating, even for people like me who knew the deceased only peripherally, and knew his family not at all. I vividly recall watching the father’s bereavement and wondering if he could ever escape the personal hell into which he had been plunged. And as if things weren’t already bad, six years later his daughter Michele died of an accidental drug overdose.

In the circumstances Mr. Fugate has faced, most men would become lost in psychological turmoil. Some would opt to take themselves out of this world, hoping to reunite with their children in the next. But instead, he chose to walk across America and familiarize himself with the virtues of its people and the beauty of its natural endowment. So far he has walked more than 21,000 miles through 48 states, carrying a sign over his head that reads “Love Life” and meeting countless people along the way. There is a documentary in the works, but at this time it is incomplete and underfunded.

To read more about him, go here. And go here if you want to read about (or donate towards) the documentary.

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