When someone you love is suffering from a serious illness, it’s a horrible helpless feeling. You can’t do anything concrete to fight the threat, and you can’t give them some of your health in order to improve theirs. You can support them, you can do what they need, you can be there for them, but there’s still a vast and pervasive feeling of impotence. At the very moment all your protective instincts are screaming to fight back, there’s nothing to attack. I’ve faced it, as have so many people, and now my best friend Dave has been facing it too.
Earlier this year, Dave told me his fianceé Kim had been diagnosed with Stage II Hodgkin’s lymphoma, just half a year before they were to be married. When they got the diagnosis and an idea of the treatment timeline, Dave and Kim cancelled their November wedding and ran off to Las Vegas to get married right away. Their intention was and is to fight this situation as husband and wife, and to have a wedding ceremony for friends and family after the treatments are done and Kim is back in good health. Also, I assume, when they’ve both had a chance to grow back some hair: Dave shaved off his hair when Kim had to shave off hers.
That is of course a wonderful gesture, but Dave’s decided to do something more: he’s training for the Strawberry Fields Triathlon to be held March 12, 2005, in Oxnard Shores, CA. His intent is to raise as much money as he can to help the search for better and faster treatments for Hodgkin’s disease, and thus do something concrete. Given that he’s traditionally been about as averse to physical exertion as I am, this is a massive undertaking. He’s been training for biking, running, and open-water swimming all at once.
For a variety of reasons (none of them involve court injunctions) I don’t talk a lot about my pre-Web years. I won’t suddenly go into a ton of detail here, so suffice to say that Dave helped me not only get through junior high and high school with some semblance of sanity, but helped me survive some very difficult times that came shortly after graduating from college. If you look in the acknowledgments on the first edition of CSS:TDG, Dave’s name is in there. When I got the news that Mom had died, he was the first person I called. When his and Kim’s wedding ceremony does finally take place, I will be proud and honored to stand beside them as best man.
If you could, please, support Dave in his run. His goal is to raise $10,000, and as of this writing he’s already up to $7,299. Personally, I think we could blow the doors off this thing with just a little effort. If just a small fraction of you donated an average of $20 each, he could still easily double his goal. If everyone who regularly stops by meyerweb.com pledged five dollars, Dave could raise a lot more than that.
If you doubt me, just look at what’s happened with Child’s Play ($250,000 raised last year, a good deal more this year), or the time that Randy Milholland ranted that if people wanted his webcomic to improve, they should donate enough money for him to be able to quit his job for a year and concentrate on the comic full time—and they did. It’s always nice to have a single large contributor, but you can go just as far (if not farther) with a lot of small contributors. Dave’s working hard to make sure he can swim most of a kilometer of ocean, run 5 kilometers, and bike 15 kilometers. It takes hardly any work at all to donate just a little bit to support his effort, and the cause of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. So, if you can, please do. Kat, Carolyn, and I certainly will.
My deepest gratitude for anything you can contribute, or anything else you can do (such as spreading the word by linking to his training page) to support Dave. It will mean a lot to him and his wife, and to me as well.