Help me raise hope for a friend

Update, January 10: Thanks to everyone who has donated so far, I’m the top fund raiser on my team, Phat Tuesday, but I need the help of the rest of you to stay there–that means you. Donate today.

Half-off reminder: If you’re one of the first 10 to donate, you get a bonus: for every $50 you donate, you can place a picture* on my jersey, half the cost of last year.

However, there’s a catch: if I don’t get 10 $50 donations by January 21, the deal is off…so tell your friends–remind them that 100 percent of their donation goes directly to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute–and donate today.

Cancer: My name is Papa Bradstein. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

So long as cancer keeps trying to kill my friends, I’m going to keep returning the favor–especially when it goes after friends who saved my life. But I need your help.

In the last few months, cancer has already taken a friend’s mother and is now after my friend. This friend and I go way back…back before cancer had killed Dad. Back then I fortunately wasn’t as experienced at coping with death as I am now, and so I tried to ignore the cancer, ignore Dad’s diminishing abilities, ignore what became the inevitable.

I didn’t tell any of my friends until Mom finally said that I really should. The next week, Dad died after fighting cancer for over a year.

During those silent days, even if I wasn’t talking about Dad, my friends knew something was up. They knew that I was constantly at a breaking point. And they knew well enough to save me whenever I needed it.

Sometimes they were big saves, like reassembling me into a human being after we ran out of wine at a party, so I switched to vodka spritzers. Did you know that vodka is slightly more potent than wine? I do…well, someone told me I learned that lesson, anyway. Most of them, however, were day-to-day saves, like tolerating my so-called poetry, taking midnight walks through the cemetery with me and talking about losing Dad.

Most of all, they gave me hope. They did that by getting on with life, showing me that the way back from the underworld was simply to rise up every morning and live. They gave me hope that life could once again be somewhat normal. They gave me hope enough to have faith in the future–the faith that I relied on to get married and have children.

And so, even now I benefit from the hope they gave me then.

Now it’s my turn to return the many favors they bestowed upon me, specifically to my friend who just lost her mother…and I’d like your help. I’d like your help giving my friend hope–hope that her cancer will be cured. Hope that if it ever returns, it will be cured again. Hope that future generations of her family won’t have to fear this cancer ever again. Hope that soon she can soon simply rise up in the morning and live. And from that hope, faith in all those around her–those she knows and those she doesn’t–to do whatever it takes whenever she needs it.

I promise to do the hardest work, if you can do one simple thing. I’ll ride my bike thousands of miles in rain, cold, wind and, yes, snow, sleet and hail as I train to ride 200 miles in two days, if you will simply support my ride.

If you’re one of the first 10 to donate, you get a bonus: for every $50 you donate, you can place a picture* on my jersey, half the cost of last year. However, there’s a catch: if I don’t get 10 $50 donations by January 21, the deal is off…so tell your friends–remind them that 100 percent of their donation goes directly to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute–and donate today.

2011 jersey (click to see full size image)
* Pictures can be of anyone affected by cancer: a survivor, someone lost to cancer, their family and friends. And yes, pictures of pets are welcome.


Papa Bradstein will ride 200 miles across Massachusetts in two days to help fight cancer. Please support his ride.

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