Category Archives: Pan-Mass Challenge

I’m marrying my cousin

And I need your help to prepare for the big day.

In June, we’ll gather up the whole family and fly out to California so I can marry my cousin…marry him to his fiancé, that is. I guess I should say that I’m going to perform my cousin’s wedding, but where’s the fun in that?

As I draft their ceremony, I remember our wedding, for which we wrote our vows the night before on Grammy’s kitchen table. I also recall Mom’s only question on my wedding day was why I couldn’t shave my beard for just that one day.

It won’t be for my wedding day, but I could make Mom’s wish come true on the wedding day of my cousin–Mom’s nephew. I’m sure she’ll smile down on the day, but her smile will be even brighter if she can see my clean shorn chin wagging as I lead them through their vows, and that’s where you come in.

If I have raised $3,500 to make cancer history by May 1, I will shave my beard. Donate today.

And for those of you who have had the misfortune of knowing me well, here are your bonus prizes:

If I have raised $4,000 by May 1, I will shave my head. Donate today.
If I have raised $4,500 by May 1, I will shave my legs. Donate today.

I know that I don’t have much hair to offer up in this deal, but trust me when I say it makes a difference. Every day that I’m bald–and I keep it off through the ride in August–someone at work greets me with, “You lose a bet?” or “Go to a frat party this weekend?” or “I remember the first time I got drunk too.”

And I’m all too glad to laugh with them, because I know that somewhere else someone else is also bald–and alive. And they’re alive because of you and the money you gave.

Every year I’ve done this ride, I’ve made the mistake of thinking that this couldn’t be more personal or closer to my heart. Cancer killed my father, after all. It was cancer that made me watch, stricken, as my young cousin broke down delivering the eulogy at the funeral of her father–my uncle–when she was half the age I was when cancer took Dad from me.

That uncle is also the uncle of the cousin I’m marrying…er, officiating at the wedding of…and while I won’t profess to speak for him, I can’t imagine he’d be disappointed to see my bald chin–and head and legs–in front of him that day, knowing the money went to hunt down his uncle’s killer.

Having gone with Mom to visit my uncle as cancer was draining him, as it drained Dad, having watched with Mom as her brother wheeled his IV stand through the house with him as he came out to meet us, having sat with Mom in the pew at her brother’s funeral, I say with great confidence that she would be happy not only to see me clean shaven, but also to know that’s a sign that we’re all working together to make cancer history.

You can’t bring my uncle back, but you might save someone else’s uncle. Or brother. Or child. And I know that you will make Mom happy when you donate today.

Chicken crap and leg shaving

I feel like someone beat me with a hose all weekend. That’s either a sign that spring, with all its allergens, has finally arrived, or that I’m way behind in my training to shave my legs, causing a weekend of manual labor to kick my ass.

Or that my daughter, despite weighing 40 pounds, still believes I’m her trampoline.

One vote for spring allergies arrived in the non-regular who just got on my bus redolent of cologne and sat next to me. Perfume aficionados are like cats: they can sense the allergic and get as close to them as possible. Or it could be that he’s karmic payback for my teenage years, when I applied cologne with a Wagner power painter. Time to bust out the trucker speed Claritin D to test my theory.

And if the cause were my dear daughter, I’d not only be sore, but also be an Easter brunch lighter, since it was yesterday afternoon after tart slice number too many that she used my chest as a pommel horse to vault over onto my belly, sticking the landing with her butt right in my gut. Maybe this was to correct for the night before when she had me army crawl on my belly under her bed with her, then scurried out and, as I was pinned down on her floor, bounced on my spine like a kangaroo trying to catch the moon.

Whoever invented the medicine ball never had a child.

But it’s probably all my fault for not being on my bike enough this year, then spending this weekend in the yard, building our raised beds, placing paver stones and hauling bags of chicken crap around. I’m finally able to get to the raised beds because we got our Amish bookshelves for the family room and Jewel’s room–3B is using the bedroom set that Dad and I used, so he has shelves already. That means that I could decommission the bachelor shelves–cinder blocks and pine planks–I’d been using since we moved in and put the wood to another good use.

But somehow these were the hardest damn pine planks I’ve ever tried to drive a screw through, requiring more effort from my arm than my drill, which just didn’t have enough torque. After which I got to dig holes for each corner post. During this labor I realized that one of our kittehs was alternating watching and napping in the sun on a windowsill above me. Made me feel like an Egyptian working under the watchful eye of a real Bastet. And then the garden isn’t quite level, so I had to rearrange what passes for top soil–clay and stones. Hey, there’s a reason we’re going with raised beds. But life’s not just a bed of baby carrots.

Which is why 3B and I hauled a 40-pound sack of chicken crap home from the hardware store to spread on the lawn. OK…I hauled while he read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but he was in the vicinity, boosting my morale. And while we were at the hardware store we picked up a few things, like a spreader for the crap, a reel lawnmower for Dad to laugh at me wherever he is, a sprinkler to ensure that it would rain yesterday, flower boxes for outside the kitchen window, hangers for all the plants the kittehs keep spilling across the living room floor, and that hose that someone beat me with in my sleep last night.

The pavers I’d gotten on a previous trip, but hauled to the backyard with all of this crap this time around. When we bought them, we learned that 3B can carry a 50-pound paver by himself. Hm. Really? Well, now that we know you can…nothing like parents to suck the fun out of an accomplishment by making it a requirement.

Sort of like taking a sugarfest like Easter and turning it into a boring brunch with the rents’ friends. Only these friends have kids who are also friends with our kids…and who will lead them off into the woods to get lost. Oh well, it got us all outside anyway.

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And when you go outside, sometimes you see something worth looking at.

Besides, the kids could load up on both screen time and playground time as well as sugar and egg decorating while the rents got loaded. Er. I mean, while the parents loaded up on good food, none of which was logged in My Fitness Frenemy. (full disclosure…the “frenemy” title comes from our friend who introduced us to it because apparently she never wanted us to go through another meal without having to do math or feel guilt again)

But today it’s back on the Frenemy bandwagon, because if I’m not going to train enough to ride strong for 200 miles, the hell if I’m hauling any extra pounds in the form of my gut across Massachusetts.

You can help with this too, you know, by making me shed all the extra pounds my beard, hair and leg hair account for–all while making cancer history.

Only you can make me shave my legs–do it today.

Only you can make me bald

Update: I have raised $3,500, so I will be shaving my beard on Father’s Day! Thanks to all who donated…now, if you were hoping to make me shave my head, tell a friend and have them donate.

We’re only a little bit short of the goal, so the next donation could be the one to make me shave my head…and legs!

Donate today.

You probably don’t know me well enough if you don’t jump at the chance to push my button and cackle, “Dance, mailman!”

Luckily, for all of you who do know me, your chance to make me do your bidding is here, and it’s simple:

Done! I raised over $3,500, so I will be shaving my beard on Father’s Day! If I have raised $3,500 to make cancer history by Father’s Day, I will shave my beard. Donate today.

If I have raised $4,000 by Father’s Day, I will shave my head. Donate today.

If I have raised $4,500 by Father’s Day, I will shave my legs. Donate today.

I know that I don’t have much hair to offer up in this deal, but trust me when I say it makes a difference. Every day that I’m bald–and I keep it off through the ride in August–someone at work greets me with, “You lose a bet?” or “Go to a frat party this weekend?” or “I remember the first time I got drunk too.”

And I’m all too glad to laugh with them, because I know that somewhere else someone else is also bald–and alive. And they’re alive because of you and the money you gave.

Every year I’ve done this ride, I’ve made the mistake of thinking that this couldn’t be more personal or closer to my heart. Cancer killed my father, after all. It was cancer that made me watch, stricken, as my young cousin broke down delivering the eulogy at the funeral of her father–my uncle–when she was half the age I was when cancer took Dad from me.

But every year, cancer finds a way to cut closer to my heart.

Last year, I got the news down the wire that a young, beautiful and brave warrior had lost his fight, reminding me how perilous this journey through life is, how desperately I love my children, and how I’d do anything–anything–to save them. My sister also had a scare that fortunately was just a scare…but still.

This year, two women close to me are newly engaged in deadly serious fights against breast cancer. When I heard about each, I gasped and stopped breathing for a minute.

I’m glad to tell you that so far they’re both cautiously optimistic, which is only possible because of donations like yours. Your generosity pays for the research and care that has discovered and developed the treatments that are saving their lives as you and I sit sipping our coffee, surfing Facebook and sleeping through dreams of a sunny tomorrow.

Bald is not a choice they got to make, but it’s much better than the alternative outcome, which just a few years ago–before donations like yours discovered cures and treatments–was inevitable.

Bald is a choice you can make, and you can do it the easy way: make me bald.

And when you do, you’ll be saving the lives of friends and family–mine and yours, now and in the future.

We’re all in this together. Please donate today.

Making a living

I confess–I have two jobs (other than being Dad).

By day, I support the professionals of the Architect of the Capitol, who serve Congress and the Supreme Court, preserve America’s Capitol and inspire all those who visit it.

By night, my work involves sitting on my ass and spinning my wheels, but it’s just as productive and important as my day job. At night is when I sit on my bike, training for the PMC, readying to ride 200 miles across Massachusetts to make cancer history. I’m not alone there either, carrying with me every one of you who supports me, all of us dedicated to the same cause.

Sometimes these worlds come together, as they did when the official magazine of the Architect of the Capitol featured me for what we have done together. While I’m the only rider in Team Bradstein, all of you who support my ride are my teammates, and everywhere I ride, you are with me.

You can see pictures of 3B and Jewel as well as my fellow PMC riders when you read the article.

And you can join Team Bradstein today when you support my ride to make cancer history.

I’m all in. Are you with me?

Today I’ve committed to raising money for cancer research by riding in the 2013 Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC). On the first weekend in August, I will join 5,500 cyclists in the PMC ride, an annual bike-a-thon that raises money for research and care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DCFI) in Boston.

The PMC raises more money for charity than any other single event in the country, $375 million since 1980 and $37 million last year alone. This success is the result of a lot of people riding for, and caring about, a cure.

Because every penny matters, 100 percent of your donation goes to DFCI to fight cancer and care for cancer patients.

Together, we can make cancer history. Will you join me?

Over the last three years, we’ve raised nearly $30,000 together to make cancer history. This year, I’ve again made a personal commitment to ride and raise $4,300. I hope you can help me achieve this goal.

I’ll do my part, training constantly to ensure I can complete the ride. While I’m doing that, please donate to my PMC ride at one of the following links:

Click here to make $25 donation

Click here to make a $50 donation (donate $50 or more before February 1 to place a picture on my 2013 jersey. After Feb. 1, you will have to donate $100 or more.)

Click here to make a $100 donation (donate $100 or more before February 1 to get a 2013 jersey of your own. After Feb. 1, you will have to donate $250 or more.)

Click here to make a $250 donation

Click here to make a $500 donation

Click here to make a $1,000 donation

Every donation brings us closer by the mile.

P.S. – Your donation is tax deductible and 100% will go to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. If you prefer to write a check, please make it out to the PMC, The Jimmy Fund or Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and mail it to me directly (email me for my address).

P.P.S. – If your employer has a matching gift program, ask your Human Resources department for a form, and follow the process for matches.