It's a funny thing, being a LIVESTRONG leader. You begin to have an incredible sense of how far-reaching and powerful the LIVESTRONG message is. I've done a lot of fundraising and charity work before. I knew, as I began to work with LIVESTRONG, that the uphill battle of some of the non-profits and other organizations I've worked for has already been fought. People know what LIVESTRONG is, for the most part. I don't have to explain it's legitimacy, etc.
I have been finding, more than I'd expected, that many people and businesses are truly excited to be affiliated with LIVESTRONG. And that's fantastic. From an administrative, perspective, at least.
But, I can I say that, as an individual, I find myself turning into a star-struck, giddy school girl after some of the conversations and exchanges I've had in the past week or two? Of course, I don't present that way on the phone. That would be incredibly unprofessional. Therefore, I'd never admit it (until, of course, the repoire is casual enough that I can confess later).
I have to tell you, though, I've had a few bite-the-pillow-and-squeal-like-a-fifteen-year-old-who-just-got-asked-to-prom-by-the-football-captain moments. I have actually jumped up and down in my hallway repeating, "Oh my gawd, ohmygawd-ohmygawd-ohmygawd, OMG! OH MY GAWD!!!!!!!!!!" (Which, as you'd imagine, has left my children wondering if I'm sane enough to care for them, let alone grounded enough to remember to make dinner... )
I'm not going to get into GORY details here, as some of the specifics are still being ironed out.
BUT... this I will share...
As announced previously, in conjunction to the REALLY cool "I'm With the Band" t-shirts (now, still on sale for $25!!!), I've launched the "I'm With the Band" project. I've been asking various cycling noterati and other celebrities to sign LIVESTRONG wristbands. These wristbands will debut for auction at the upcoming LOVESTRONG for LIVESTRONG Dinner (immediately proceeding the LOVESTRONG for LIVESTRONG indoor cycling event). Some of the notables that have already sent/are in the process of sending wristbands are: John "College" Korioth, Liz Kreutz (photographer and eye behind Comeback 2.0), the legendary Gary Fisher and Ted King (yes, He IS Ted King). Just the emails and messages that I received back saying that they'd participate had the heart racing.
But, it's been some of the subsequent correspondence that has been the most exciting for me (and for the project, frankly). One of the VERY generous particpants, in addition to the wristbands, sent two "extra" items. (I don't want to disclose their identity without their permission here, as I'm sure they don't want to be inundated with requests. Please understand - ONLY the wristbands were solicited! The 2 items were completely volunteered!) A signed copy of Comeback 2.0. Oh. Did I mention they didn't sign it? But it was signed by Lance Armstrong? (When they said they'd send a signed copy, I assumed it was going to have their signature in it! Imagine my shock and surprise when I opened the front cover to see who DID sign it?!)
The same amazing individual, along with the wristbands, included a little token of additional incentive. They sent a jersey. A jersey from a little-known-team called Astana. With a big signature on it. Any guesses as to whose? (My son, it should be noted, stayed in the car for almost an hour, in 20 degree weather, crying and weeping because he was SO mad that he couldn't keep the jersey that Lance signed. When I explained it was for the LIVESTRONG auction, and that, if we're lucky, when we go to Austin, he might have the chance to actually meet Lance, while the winner of the jersey is only stuck with a shirt, he felt better. Of course, I was weeping inside that I couldn't keep the jersey and tell no one about it and not have to give it away... but, I guess that's impossible now, as I just told you it's going to be for auction. Darn, I hate being so honest.)
Needless to say, great way to start the weekend.
This morning, I Tweeted out to some of the cyclists I enjoy following on Twitter to invite them to participate. Of the three, two responded positively. And, I can honestly say, these two are characters, in the most fun-loving way. I love reading what they have to say!
One of the two emailed me privately and asked me more about it. And I responded. And he responded. And I responded.
After my last response, I got up from my desk to get a bottle of water, and sat down and realized I had to write this blog.
Under no normal circumstances, should I be having this conversation with a world-reknowned cyclist. I'm sorry. There is no justification for it. I'm an overweight, working mom, whose house is a mess, with no entourage, no cycling skills that would put me in a situation where I might ride with one of these guys. He's in Europe, I'm in Stamford, CT.
What in the hell is going on here!?!?
On the one hand, hidden away, I have two items in my closet that were signed by Lance Armstrong. On the other, I'm exchanging really lovely emails with a pro-cyclist. On the other, I have one of my dear friend's heroes Tweeting me that he'll be happy to participate in this project.
It boggles the mind.
And then I remember. I'm not just me. I represent LIVESTRONG. I'm a vehicle. I'm the bike, not the rider. And, as Lance says, "It's Not About the Bike". It's not about me. Sure, the fringe benefit is that I get to exchange correspondence with these amazing people. On face value, the only thing we have in common is that we ride bikes - at all different levels.
Or is it?
As I type, I look down at my right arm. And I see the real reason we're brought together.
It's this yellow, silicone adornment with embossed letters. Then I'm reminded of what it stands for.
I'm with the band. So are they.